Dates are a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. They are the sweet fruit from the date palm tree and one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits. Evidence shows that they have been cultivated since 6000 B.C.
Dates are oval and cylindrical in shape and have a bright red to bright yellow color when ripe. Each date contains a single seed. There are some 400 varieties of dates available in the market.
You can include dates in different ways in your diet. You can eat them as snacks or sprinkle chopped dates in sweet dishes, cakes and puddings. Dates also go well in savory dishes.
Along with being tasty and delicious, they are rich in several nutrients that provide immense health benefits. Dates are high in iron content. They are also a good source of potassium, protein, dietary fiber, calcium, B vitamins as well as vitamins A and C.
Other trace minerals include copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc. They also possess anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties.
The sugar content of ripe dates is about 80 percent and the quality of dates depends on the glucose, fructose and sucrose content.
Due to this sugar content, it is recommended to eat dates in moderation. You only need a handful daily to enjoy the health benefits.
Here are the top 10 reasons why you should eat dates every day.
1. Boosts Energy
For a quick supply of energy, dates are a good option. Being high in natural sugars, such as glucose, fructose and sucrose, they provide instant energy and revitalize the body whenever you need it.
In addition, they contain potassium, a mineral your body needs to convert sugar into energy.
- Add chopped dates to morning cereal or smoothies to stay energetic throughout the day.
- Eat a few dates as an afternoon snack when you are feeling lethargic or sluggish.
2. Treats Constipation
With their laxative effect, dates can help people suffering from constipation. They are high in soluble fiber, which promotes healthy bowel movements and smooth passage of food through the intestinal tract.
- Soak 8 to 10 dates, after removing the seeds, in a glass of water overnight.
- The next morning, grind the dates along with the water until you get a syrup-like consistency.
- Drink it on an empty stomach daily.
3. Fights Anemia
Iron deficiency is the most common cause of low hemoglobin levels, which causes anemia. The iron in dates aids hemoglobin production to help treat anemia. In addition, the vitamin C in dates plays an important role in the body’s absorption of iron.
A proper iron level in the body helps reduce feelings of fatigue and sluggishness, common symptoms in anemic people.
- Eat some dry dates, followed by a cup of warm milk, twice daily.
- Alternatively, add 1 tablespoon of chopped dates to a cup of milk and boil it. Drink it a few times daily.
4. Promotes Healthy Pregnancy
Dates contain several nutrients that are helpful during pregnancy for both the mother and unborn baby. As mentioned earlier, it also relieves constipation, a common problem during pregnancy.
In addition, they help strengthen uterine muscles and make the birth of the child easier. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, eating dates during late pregnancy reduces the need for induction and augmentation of labor.
- Eat 6 to 8 dates daily as a healthy snack.
- You can even cook chopped dates in milk and have it once or twice daily.
5. Cures Hangover
You can use dates to fight off the negative effects (both short- and long-term) of drinking alcoholic beverages. They help with detoxifying and clearing out toxins from the liver due to excessive alcohol consumption, thus reducing hangover.
- Soak 4 or 5 dates in 1 cup of water for a few hours.
- Mash the soaked dates in the water and remove the seeds.
- Drink the water with the pulp of the dates twice a day.
6. Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Dates are also good for your cardiovascular health, thanks to its antihyperlipidemic effects. The low sodium and high potassium content helps regulate heart rate and keep blood pressure under control. Potassium even reduces the risk of strokes and other heart-related diseases.
In addition, the magnesium content aids in proper heart functioning and reduces the risk of stroke.
Consume soaked dates daily to reduce the risk of heart problems.
7. Aids Nervous System Functioning
The several B vitamins in dates help boost the health and functionality of the nervous system. A healthy nervous system helps all the parts of the body to communicate with each other properly and efficiently.
The rich potassium content in dates also regulates a healthy nervous system and improves sleep and your brain’s alertness.
In addition, the antioxidants in dates fight free radicals, which in turn enhances your cognitive functioning.
To keep your brain and nervous system working properly, start eating a few dates daily.
8. Relieves Arthritis Inflammation
Dates possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage pain and alleviate inflammation in the joints, two common symptoms of arthritis.
In addition, their magnesium and potassium content helps maintain bone strength and reduces the risk of arthritis.
- To reduce inflammation related to arthritis, massage the affected area with warm date seed oil 2 or 3 times daily.
- Also, eat a handful of dates daily.
- It is advisable to purchase dates in good packaging conditions.
- Thoroughly wash dates before eating them.
- The best way to eat dates is when they are fresh, in season and rich in water content.
- To reap the health benefits, always opt for good quality dates. Buy fleshy and evenly colored dates. Make sure there is no artificial sugar coating on them.
- Eat dates in moderation, as the high fructose content can harm your health.