21 Health Benefits Of Dates And Date Recipes
Dates are tropical fruits. These are widely cultivated and are a staple in the Middle East and North African regions. Fresh dates are usually rare in the U.S. markets. Widely available dates in the U.S. markets are the dried ones. One can easily differentiate between the fresh and dried dates as dried dates are wrinkled.
High in sugar content, dates are used in various dishes. The dried dates are part of dry fruits that can be eaten plain or mixed with various dishes to enhance their taste. Surprisingly, the small fruit is rich in macronutrients and various other healthy elements.
1. Rich in Nutrients
Mostly discarded as very sweet fruit, dates are actually very nutritious. Packed with various vitamins and nutrients, dates have various health benefits. High in fiber and carbohydrates, dates are one of the healthiest dry fruits.
With 100 grams of dates containing about 314 kilocalories of energy, they are the energy boosters. The energy is extracted in the form of sugar. It is highly fibrous and has a low glycemic index. Eating dates helps in weight management, regulates blood sugar levels, and even is a source of low-fat energy for diabetics (2-3 dates at a time).
2. Packed With Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds essential to our body to eliminate the free radicals that can cause harm to our cells. Dates are rich in antioxidants and top the chart with the highest concentration of antioxidants in dry fruits.
Antioxidants such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acid are present in dates that protect our bodies from various health hazards. These antioxidants help in the reduction of macular degeneration, protect heart health, and prevent the risk of brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
3. Enhances Brain Functionality
You will be surprised to know that the consumption of dates can improve brain functionality. Adequate consumption of dates regularly benefits in reducing the Interleukin 6 levels ultimately saving you from brain degenerative diseases.
Consumption of dates also helps in reducing the issues related to anxiety disorders. Hence, boosting the memory and learning power. According to the studies, having dates leads to the reduction of amyloid beta-protein activity which reduces plaque production. Plaques are very dangerous as they lead to brain cell deaths.
4. Aids In Healthy Bowel Movements
Fiber content is essential for the human body. It benefits the digestive system and promotes a healthy bowel movement. Having dates is one easy way to increase the fiber intake as a 3.5-ounce serving of dates has 7 grams of fiber.
For people suffering from irregular bowel movements, try adding dates to your diet and witness the change. Consumption of dates also reduces the concentration of ammonia in feces. A healthy digestive health promotes a healthy life. Furthermore, fiber intake is essential for keeping the blood sugar level in control too.
5. Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
Dates are well-known for being one of the sweetest dry fruits and hence, are high in sugar. However, the consumption of dates is advised for diabetics too. It is because they are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index.
A diabetic person must keep in mind carbohydrate consumption to keep the sugar level intact. Dates are extremely sweet but do not increase blood sugar levels as any other carbohydrate. Hence, according to research, the right amount of dates is a healthy swap for the sweeteners in the diet for diabetics.
6. Good For Bones
Rich in micronutrients and minerals, dates are a good source to maintain a healthy bone. Calcium is the most important source to keep bone health intact. However, in addition to calcium, minerals such as potassium, iron, copper, phosphorous, and more are essential too.
Dates are rich in minerals as such that aid in having healthy teeth, bones, muscles, hair, skin, and even nails. According to the research, there are at least 15 minerals in the dates that can help prevent various bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis. Magnesium content in dates helps prevent fractures in older adults.
7. Prevents Night Blindness
Do you know what vitamins are dates rich in? Vitamin A. Deficiency of vitamin A can lead to major issues, one of them being night blindness. Dates are rich in vitamin A and its consumption can be miraculous.
A rich source of vitamin A, regular intake of dates helps prevent night blindness in the long run. Dates have also been used traditionally to cure the problems arising from deficiency of vitamin A. As per the findings, dates have been used to cure night blindness in West Asian countries.
8. Helps Cure Hangovers
If you had a little too much drink last night, this sweet thing can help you cure a hangover. It is a sweet fruit but helps cure hangovers. Reduce the effects of inebriation with soaked dates.
A slightly peeled and soaked date can do wonders to cure last night's hangover. According to the findings, in many tribal communities, date palm extracts are one of the ingredients in beer. It is believed that the extracts help reduce the intoxicating effect of the beer.
9. Enhances Skin Health
If you are looking for a natural alternative to enhance your skin, having dates will be beneficial. The high concentration of vitamins ensures your skin gets enough nourishment for healthy, glowing skin.
As you age, it's essential to follow a skincare routine if you want to look young for your age. Along with a skincare routine, have dates. Vitamins C and D present in dates help improve skin's elasticity. Along with that, the nutrients in the dates prevent faster aging. Dates are also useful in maintaining a healthy balance of melanin in the skin.
10. Strengthens Nervous System
Keeping the nervous system healthy is essential as it's a communication network that maintains body functions. A diet rich in potassium is essential for a healthy nervous system, and guess what, the dates have it.
Nutrients such as potassium aid neurological health. Communication between nerve cells becomes easier when the body gets enough potassium. To your benefit, dates are rich in potassium. Hence, having dates can prevent you from various neurological problems. On top of that dates are also low in sodium, and that reduces the chances of hypertension.
11. Facilitates Labor and Delivery During Childbirth
Labor pain is often compared to the pain of breaking bones. While there are various foods that are said to ease the labor and child delivery process, dates are one of them. According to the research, dates have oxytocin-like compounds known to facilitate healthy contractions. Hence, the consumption of dates during pregnancy can lower the pressure during childbirth.
Also, dates are high in tannin making the labor process comfortable and smoother. As per studies, dates reduce the need for interventions such as induction.
12. Prevents Risk of Cancer
It's not the food that saves us from getting cancer but the diet pattern can. The dietary pattern that we undertake induces the risk of cancer. Hence, add dates to your diet and prevent the risk of cancer.
With the presence of antioxidants and a compound known as beta D-glucan, dates are advantageous. The compound promotes an anti-tumor activity within the body. On top, rich in antioxidants, dates help reduce the activities of free radicals, reducing the chances of cancer. Consuming dates daily can significantly aid in preventing cancer along with the occurrence of tumors.
13. Helps With Anaemia
A body condition that lacks enough red blood cells is known as anemia. Moreover, iron deficiency leads to anemia. To recover from anemia, various treatments include the intake of iron supplements to increase the iron content in hemoglobin.
Rather than the iron supplement intake that may lead to constipation, try adding dates to your diet and witness the changes. Along with the iron content, dates contain vitamin C and fiber, which increases iron absorption eventually helping anemia.
14. Source of Vitamins
This sweet dry fruit is loaded with nutritional value. The source of energy, rich in fiber and antioxidants, dates are a good source of vitamins too. They have essential vitamins that a body requires to remain healthy.
Dates have vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, and B5. Hence, dates act as a great alternative to vitamin supplements. The presence of abundant vitamins and dates will provide the daily dose of vitamins required for the body. Adding a sufficient amount of dates to the diet provides you with health benefits only.
15. Aids in Weight Loss
Dates are high in fiber and very sweet too. It helps you satisfy your sweet tooth. With fiber content and it being sweet, it keeps you full and discourages overeating.
Overeating and unhealthy sweets consumption lead to obesity. Having dates keeps you satiated, not longing for unhealthy sweets, and eventually aids in weight management. Dates are a versatile fruit that can be consumed in various ways. It can be added to a bowl of breakfast or eaten plain, baked, or made a cake.
16. May Prevent Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
Hemorrhoids are caused by the increased pressure in the lower rectum. It could be because of straining during bowel movements or sitting for a longer time, especially in the toilet. Hemorrhoids are common in pregnant women. It may be due to insufficient fiber intake. Add dates to your pregnancy dietary plan and help reduce/prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
Along with easing the labor pain and childbirth process, dates can be beneficial in preventing hemorrhoids too. The fiber content in dates helps with easier bowel movement, leading to the prevention of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Nevertheless, more studies are required to justify this benefit of dates.
17. Improves Heart Health
Dates can do more than you think of. A handful of dates can enhance your heart health. The nutritional composition and compounds in dates help fight free radicals preventing us from various chronic diseases.
According to research, antioxidants in dates even help in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Dates contain isoflavones that help reduce the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, rich in fiber, consumption of dates lowers the risk of coronary heart diseases. Adequate fiber intake assists in weight management too.
18. Keeps You Calm
If you are stressed or having anxiety attacks, having dates may help. Nutritious, fibrous, and natural sweetener properties make dates a calming and healing food. Studies have found that dates can help lower inflammation in the brain.
Along with that, the presence of potassium in dates helps strengthen the nervous system too. Furthermore, as per research, 500 mg of vitamin C helps reduce stress levels. Dates have vitamin C and its consumption will keep you calm and organized.
19. Boosts Energy
If you want to stay hyperactive all day long, having dates will be a great idea. A natural source of carbohydrates in the form of natural sugar, dates can give a quick and sustained energy boost.
Be it in the morning or to cure the midday blues, grab dates and energize yourselves. Potassium and the natural fruit sugar in dates help in refueling the brain and muscles after an exercise. Instead of a second cup of coffee in midday, grab a handful of dates and regain energy for the rest of the day.
20. Natural Sweetener
Consumption of excess artificial sugar may lead to health hazards. Hence, have dates, a natural candy. Source of fructose, a natural type of sugar, dates are a healthy substitute for white sugars.
Dates are a healthy substitute for white sugars because of their nutrient, fiber, and antioxidant contents. You can make a date paste and use it in the recipe where white sugar is deemed essential. It makes the food sweet and healthy at the same time. However, one must bear in mind the calorie composition of dates.
21. Minimizes Hair Loss
If you are suffering from hair fall problems, you might want to add dates to your diet. Dates have been proven to be a very good substitute for various medications that claim to stop hair fall.
A rich source of iron, the consumption of dates is beneficial to hair. Iron content in the dates makes sure the blood flow is strong and the scalp gets enough nourishment. An increased flow of oxygen to the scalp facilitates hair growth and reduces the rate of hair fall by a huge margin.
Some Date Recipes
Because dates are natural sweeteners, you can make various dishes out of them. You can bake and make a cake, add it to savory dishes, have it with cereal, and many more. Here are a few recipes that you can try with dates.
1. Date Bars
In less than an hour, get a sweet, healthy snack ready. You will need dates, walnuts, all-purpose flour, baking soda, oats, brown sugar, and butter. After you have the ingredients, start the cooking.
Combine dates, sugar, and water in a saucepan, and cook until thick. Add in walnuts and let it cool. Now in a large bowl, get a crumble of flour, salt, oats, and brown sugar. Sprinkle water and stir lightly. Pat half of the oat mixture in the baking pan and spread the date mixture. Cover with remaining oat mixture and pat gently. Now bake at 350 degrees until lightly brown. Let it cool, cut it into bars, and enjoy the snack.
2. Date Sweetened Barbecue Sauce
You can make the sweet barbecue sauce on your own using the dates. Other ingredients you will need are tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers, tomato paste, and seasonings.
Firstly, roast the vegetables in the oven: tomato, onion, jalapeno peppers, and garlic at 425 degrees until tender. Now, get the roasted vegetables in a saucepan, add dates and seasonings, and cook them. Now, get the mixture and blend until smooth. You have the sweet barbecue sauce ready.
3. Lemon Date Couscous
Just give your 10 minutes and you have a lemon date couscous ready. Make sure to have uncooked couscous, dates, spinach, carrots, green onions, almonds, lemon juice, and seasonings.
Now, cook couscous according to the package directions. On the other hand, in a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Stir in couscous and garnish with green onions. Try your hands on this easy-peasy recipe and enjoy a healthy meal.
4. Stuffed Dates
Get a reduced-fat cream cheese, orange zest, and pitted dates. In just 15 minutes of preparation time, you will have a sweet dish ready to tickle your tastebuds.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, and orange zest. Beat them until blended. After the blending is done, carefully make a slit in the middle of each date and fill it with the blended mixture. Now, cover them and refrigerate them for at least an hour. Serve the mouth-watering dish chill.
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