Dates are one of the most delicious, sweet, and nutritious fruits on the planet. Dates have a myriad of powerful health benefits like providing you with more energy, supporting digestion, and aiding in overall health and wellness. Rich with powerful anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, dates can be a great addition to your diet.
What Are Dates
Dates are delicious. They are sweet and chewy, with a remarkable consistency, which come from the date palm tree. Dates have been a staple food in the Middle East for thousands of years and considered sacred by Muslims throughout the religious fasting period of Ramadan.
Dates have an impressive nutrient profile. Since their eaten dried, their calorie content is higher than most fresh fruits like raisins, and figs.
Most of the caloric density of dates comes from carbohydrates in the form of sugar, mainly fructose and glucose. Dates also contain important vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, selenium, copper, sodium, potassium, magnesium sulfur, and zinc. In fact, a 2008 meta-analysis and review, concluded that The consumption of 100 g of dates can provide over 15% of the recommended daily allowance from these important minerals [R]. Additionally, dates contain powerful plant compounds called polyphenols. Studies show that polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could have preventative and or therapeutic effects for cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and obesity [R].Compared to other similar types of fruit, such as figs and dried plums, dates appear to have the highest antioxidant content [R].
According to the USDA Food Central Database, A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving provides the following nutrients [R]
- Calories: 277
- Carbs: 75 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Potassium: 20% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 14% of the RDI
- Copper: 18% of the RDI
- Manganese: 15% of the RDI
- Iron: 5% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the RDI
Health Benefits Of Dates
1. Dates Benefit Energy Levels
Dates are primarily composed of carbohydrates in the form of sugar, specifically glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Carbohydrates provide your body with its first and immediate form of energy which is stored as glycogen. Dates also contain a vital and essential mineral, selenium, which plays a critical role in metabolism and thyroid function which can help fight fatigue.
2. Dates Benefit Digestive Health
Dates are loaded with nearly 7g of dietary fiber per 100g serving. The insoluble fiber found in dates can aid in better digestive health, acting like a broom that sweeps through the gastrointestinal tract, supporting regularity and reliving symptoms of constipation. Soluble fiber can aid in creating a healthy gut microbiota.
Soluble fiber (fermentable fiber or prebiotic fiber) – which dissolves in water – is generally fermented in the colon by into products, such as short-chain fatty acids produced in the colon by gut bacteria, including acetate, propionate, and butyrate. Dietary fiber and prebiotics can aid in better digestive health by altering the gut microbiota and promoting good bacteria formation in the gut [R].
3. Dates Benefit Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Dates have critical micronutrients, minerals, and antioxidants, which can contribute to better heart health by reducing inflammation and free-radical damage. Studies have shown that antioxidants can eradicate free radicals and mitigate oxidative stress, which is linked to chronic disease states. In addition to antioxidants, dates contain the essential mineral potassium. Potassium helps lower blood pressure by helping push sodium from your body and easing tension in your blood vessels. The American Heart Association recommends you eat more potassium-rich foods like dates for heart health. The health benefits of eating just four dates per day are that they will provide you with 700mg of potassium, which is 25% of your daily value. Dates are also a great source of fiber. Fiber can help keep LDL cholesterol low, reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
A study published in the Journal Of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that consumption of dates for four weeks, decreased serum triglyceride levels by 8-15% and also decreased oxidative stress by 33%, which are both factors for heart disease and arthrosclerosis.
4. Dates May Boost Brain Health
Several studies have shown that dates have beneficial effects on neurodegenerative disease. Dates are rich in phenolic compounds and flavonoids with free radical scavenging and antioxidant activities. Phenolic compounds are generally good antioxidants that are known to protect cells from damage. They are known to have a preventive role against free radicals and therefore may contribute to the prevention of several age-related diseases. Research suggests that long term ingestion or supplementation with dates, attenuate levels of inflammatory cytokines and purport that dates may provide possible protection against the inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, due to the antioxidant activities of their phenolic compounds [R].
Benefits Of Dates: Takeaway
Dates can greatly contribute to better overall health and wellness. The benefit of eating just four dates per day is that they can help improve heart health, boost brain health, and support increased energy levels and optimal digestive health. Loaded with powerful plant compounds, micronutrients, vitamins, and fiber, dates can reduce your risk of chronic disease and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
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