Health Benefits of Dates - khajurs
Dates health benefits includes relieving constipation, providing rapid energy, helping prevent night blindness, controlling cholesterol levels, and helping control blood pressure. Other benefits includes preserving healthy intestinal microbiome, reducing the risk of colon cancer, supporting a healthy pregnancy, slowing down aging process and boosting s*xual desire.
Dates also help for a healthy weight gain. They are rich in several vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These delicious fruits contain oil, calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium, which are all beneficial for health. Some health specialists have said that eating one date per day is necessary for a balanced and healthy diet.
The massive health benefits of dates have made them one of the best ingredients for muscle development. People consume them in several ways, such as mixing the paste of the dates with milk and yogurt or as a bread spread for a delicious and healthy breakfast. The paste is beneficial for both adults and children, especially during a time of recovery from injury or illness.
What is Dates?
When many people think of dates, they usually think of them as snack or sweet treats, without any real significance in a diet. However, this is not true, as dates are nutritional powerhouses and should be consumed more often and taken advantage of. Dates actually come from a type of palm tree, and seems to have originated in the Middle Eastern area of Iraq. Regardless of their origin, dates have multiple uses beyond that of health, but the benefits we are interested in stem from the support it can offer the human body.
History Of Dates
According to history, date palm is known to have come from what is now Iraq, however Egyptians were known to have made wine with dates a lot earlier as well.
Thanks to trade, dates traveled to southwest Asia, Spain, northern Africa, and were later also taken to Mexico and California. Today it continues to be one of the most important ingredients in Middle Eastern cuisine. While there are at least 30 kinds of dates that are found around the world, they pretty much fall under three broad types - soft, semi-dry, and dry, and the differentiation is made according to the glucose, sucrose, and fructose content. One of the most coveted dates incidentally are found at The Gaza Strip, as their produce is known to be exceptionally red, and sweet. Some of the other popular varietals are the Zaghloul, found exclusively in Egypt. It has a dark red skin, is longish in structure, and crunchy in texture. It's also quite high on the sweetness scale. The Sukkary from Saudi Arabia is one of the most expensive kinds of dates. It has a dark brown skin, a soft flesh, and uniquely sweet. And then there's the Khadrawy, a soft and dark date that's also quite popular among the Arabs. And this is just the beginning; it's said that Iraq has more than 100 kinds of dates available!
Cuisines across the world use dates in small and large quantities, but it's also important to note that the fruit of the date palm tree also comes with a lot of health benefits. Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, energy, sugar, and fiber. It also contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
Types Of Dates Fruit
Check out here what are the best types of dates to eat.
Following are the types of dates:
- Medjool – Has its origins in Morocco. They are large and delicious. Have a toffee-like flavor.
- Barhi – Also called yellow dates, this variety is native to Iraq. They are gentle and have thicker flesh.
- Dayri – These dates are lengthy, slim, and black.
- Halawy – These are incredibly sweet and small in size.
- Deglet Noor – One of the best varieties from Tunisia and Algeria. Semi dry and not too sweet, these dates are usually used in cooking.
- Hayani – Grown in Egypt, these dates are gentle and red to black.
- Migraf – Popular in southern Yemen, these dates are large and golden amber.
- Iteema – These are native to Algeria, and are extremely sweet. Big and oblong.
Of all these, Medjool is supposed to be the most delicious and nutritious variety. It is the most common variety of black dates. They are rich in antioxidants and fiber and abundant in potassium as well.
Nutritional Value of Dates
Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals. It’s also a good source of energy, sugar, and fiber. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc can be found in them. They also contain vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
following Nutritional profile per 100g serving size:
Protein 1.81g- approx. 3% RDI
Total Fat 0.15 g- <1% of RDI
Carbohydrates 74.97 g- 58% RDI
Dietary Fiber 6.7 g- 18% RDI
Folic Acid- 15 µg
Niacin 1.610 mg
Vitamin A- 149 IU
Vitamin K- 2.7 µg
Potassium- 696 mg
Calcium- 64 mg
Magnesium- 54 mg
Phosphorus- 62 mg
why you should eat dates regularly:
- Lowers cholesterol
Did you know that dates are free from cholesterol, and contain very little fat? Including them in smaller quantities in your daily diet can help you keep a check on cholesterol level, and even assist in weight loss. So start loading up on dates today.
- Protein rich
Looking to load up on proteins. Adding some dates in your diet may help. Dates are a strong source for proteins that help us in staying fit, and even keep our muscles strong. A lot of regular gym goers are asked to eat a couple of dates every day as part of their daily routine.
- Rich in vitamins
Dates contain vitamins such as B1, B2, B3 and B5, as well as A1 and C. If you have a few dates every day, you won't have to take vitamin supplements. Not only will it keep you healthy, there will be a noticeable change in your energy levels as well because dates contain natural sugars such as glucose, sucrose, and fructose, too. So it works really well as a quick snack.
- Improves bone health
Dates could do wonders for your bone health too. Yes, you heard us. Dates are rich in selenium, manganese, copper, and magnesium, and all of these are required when it comes to keeping our bones healthy, and preventing conditions such as osteoporosis.
- Strengthens the nervous system
Date are loaded with potassium, and yet contain little sodium, and that goes a long way in keeping your nervous system in order. The potassium helps to reduce cholesterol, and keeps the risk of a stroke in check.
- Relieve Constipation
Dates are often categorized as a laxative food. This is why they are so frequently eaten by people suffering from constipation. In order to achieve the desired laxative effect of dates, soak some of them in water overnight, then consume in the morning when they turn into a syrup to get the most optimal results. They have high levels of soluble fiber, which is essential in promoting healthy bowel movements and comfortable passage of food through the intestinal tract, which can relieve the symptoms of constipation.
Provide A Rapid Energy Source
Dates are comprised of a large proportion of simple sugars, being mainly in the form of glucose and fructose, which are used heavily for energy by the body. Consuming a few dates prior to exercise or strenuous activity ensures that your brain and muscles have enough energy to perform at a high intensity.
Dates are also convenient to keep if you are a diabetic, as their sugars are rapidly absorbed into the blood for use in the case of an event where your blood sugar drops too low, too fast. They should not be consumed frequently if you struggle to keep your blood sugar under control, as their generous carbohydrate content can add to your diabetes woes.
Treat Intestinal Disorders
The nicotine content in dates is thought to be beneficial for curing many kinds of intestinal disorders. Continuous intake helps inhibit the growth of the pathological organisms and thus, they help stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines. In terms of digestive issues, they contain insoluble and soluble fibers, as well as many beneficial amino acids which can stimulate the digestion of food and make them more efficient, meaning that more nutrients will be absorbed by the digestive tract and enter your body for proper usage.
Help Prevent Night Blindness
Many people struggle with vision under poor lighting conditions even though their eyes may physically be in great shape. This has many causes, but among them are those caused by a deficiency of Vitamin A or its related carotenoids anti-oxidants.
Dates can also play an important role in delaying macular degeneration of the eye as a result of aging, helping preserve vision for a longer time.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Dates are rich in potassium, and the mineral helps lower blood pressure levels. One medjool date contains about 167 mg of potassium, which is relatively high compared to other fruits. Not taking adequate potassium can also lead to kidney stones.
One report by the Harvard Medical School discourages the use of drugs for blood pressure. Though certain drugs work well, they might not solve the exact problem. And they also have side effects.
Fiber also stabilizes blood sugar levels. It also counterbalances the effects of sodium in your diet – and this lowers blood pressure. The magnesium in the fruit relaxes the muscles in your heart and blood vessels, consequently reducing blood pressure.
Treat Sexual Weakness
Studies have shown that dates are even beneficial for increasing sexual stamina. Soak a handful of dates in fresh goat’s milk overnight, then grind them in the same milk with a mixture of cardamom powder and honey. This mixture becomes a very useful tonic for increasing sexual endurance and reducing sterility caused by various sexual disorders. The science behind this phenomenon is largely due to traditional usage which stimulated formal research. In 2006, Bahmanpour studied the effects of date palms and their oil on sexual functioning and found that the high levels of estradiol and flavonoid components of dates are what increase sperm count and motility, as well as promoting increased testes size and weight. So, if you are looking for a masculine boost, eat some dates, because they are a great natural aphrodisiac!
Preserve Healthy Intestinal Microbiome
The intestines are populated by a diverse population of micro-organisms, many of which are essential to our survival and health, and for breakdown and assimilation of nutrients. These micro-organisms can become suppressed for many reasons, ranging from disease to use of medication. We need to ensure these bacteria get sufficient nutrition, which dates capably supply. Dates contain soluble fiber which is converted into pre-biotic nutrition for these bacteria, in order for them to properly replicate and colonize the intestines. Supplying adequate nutrition also supports your immune system, which in turn will boost your natural resistance.
According to a report by the Columbia University Medical Center, diarrhea can get better or aggravated by the choice of foods you consume. Which is why choosing the right food is important. Dates, being high in potassium, can help improve the condition
Promote Weight Gain
Dates should be included as a part of a healthy diet. They consist of sugar, proteins, and many essential vitamins. If dates are consumed with cucumber paste, you can keep your weight at a normal, balanced level, rather than over-slimming. One kilogram of dates contains almost 3,000 calories, and the calories in them are sufficient to meet the daily requirements for a human body. Of course, you should not eat just dates throughout the day. If you are thin and slim and want to increase your weight, or if you are trying to build your muscles to impress some girl, or you have become weak due to a serious medical problem – you need to eat dates!
Preserve Bain Function In The Elderly
Degeneration of brain tissue is an accepted reality of aging, although it does not need to be the case. Many of these adverse changes are related to excessive inflammation, which can be slowed down if the effects of cortisol and other oxidants are controlled. Dates are known to be excellent buffers of cortisol, reducing the inflammatory influence of it. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have an inflammatory component which can be reduced if you control excessive inflammation in the body.
Reduce The Risk Of Developing Colon Cancer
Colon cancer’s development depends on several factors, such as inflammation, frequency of bowel movements and overall health of your intestinal flora. Dates have proven themselves to be beneficial on all these factors, promoting regularity, helping nourish your intestinal bacteria and decreasing the body’s inflammatory response. Colon polyp formation is reduced, which while benign, do have the potential of turning cancerous under the right conditions.
Dates Benefits For Skin
Dates contain vitamins C and D that work on the skin elasticity. The fruits can also help combat skin issues – you can incorporate dates into your diet and see the results in the long run.
Dates also come with anti-aging benefits; they prevent the accumulation of melanin in your body, which otherwise has undesirable effects.
We know that hormones play a major role in skin aging and appearance. Date palm kernel extract is known to have phytohormones that exhibit significant anti-aging effects. The extract can combat wrinkles too
Prevent Hair Loss
Coming to the dates benefits for hair, it is equally effective. Being rich in iron, dates promote blood circulation to the scalp and promote hair growth. This happens as oxygen is properly dispersed to your entire body, your scalp included. This ultimately prevents hair loss and stimulates new hair growth.
While we haven't exactly tried it out, but it's said that dates are an excellent way to control inebriation. And similarly, it also helps to cure hangovers. But for best results, you have to rub the skin a bit, and soak it in water overnight and then eat it.
Support Healthy Pregnancy
Heard of benefits of dates during pregnancy? One way dates help pregnant women is through their calories. Pregnant women need about 300 calories more than their non-pregnant peers. But most pregnant women tend to choose high-calorie foods that are low in nutrients, which is a mistake.
This is where dates can help. Though a little high in calories, they are immensely nutrient-dense.
And we have already seen how the fiber in dates prevents pregnancy hemorrhoids.
According to a Jordan study, consuming dates in the last four weeks before labor can produce more favorable outcomes
Dates are also known to strengthen the muscles of the uterus in the last months of pregnancy.
What Are The Best Ways To Eat Dates?
So what about the cooking uses of dates? Well, we don’t have any one single best way to take dates. But we have numerous great ones!
- You can take them as a stuffed snack. Remove the pits and include dates with walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pecans for a delightful snack.
- You can also mix diced dates with your breakfast cereal.
- Wrap dates with tuna or chicken salad and other vegetables.
- You can dice dates and serve them along with frozen vanilla yogurt.
- The simplest – enjoy dates as they are.
You can also soak dates (the dry ones) to rehydrate them, and then eat them. And date syrup works well too. It has antibacterial properties that, as per certain studies, are more effective than those of honey.
Fresh Dates Vs Dried Dates
What is the difference?
Fresh dates are soft, and dry dates, well, are harder. They contain less moisture than fresh dates.
Then, we have dried dates, which could be fresh as well. These are fresh soft dates that are deliberately dried over a period.
From a nutritional standpoint, though there is no big difference between fresh dates and dry dates, there is some difference between fresh dates and dried dates.
Dried dates have double the amount of carbohydrates than fresh dates. They are also a better source of fiber. Dried dates also contain higher levels of calcium and iron, but fresh dates win in vitamin C.