Just like other dried healthy snacks, if you eat dates on a daily basis, you will get tremendous health benefits. But what are they?
Dates are an ancient food. Some archeological evidence even suggest they were around as far back as 7000 BC. We also know that this wrinkled, brown fruit has been a staple food in the Middle East for thousands of years—and for good reason. To start, dates are chock-full of minerals, vitamins, and health-benefiting phytonutrients. They contain copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, a slew of B vitamins including vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin.
They also contain good amounts of vitamins A and K and the carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin. They are also high in fiber, which is very beneficial for helping your body remove toxins in an easy and effective manner.
Eat Dates: Just 3 Dates a Day
Many studies have been done on the health benefits of people who eat dates. One 2003 study in particular that was published in the International Journal of Food, Sciences and Nutrition even suggests that “…dates may be considered as an almost ideal food, providing a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits.”
This study concluded that dates contain at least 15 minerals, including selenium, an element that many researchers now believe is a powerful anti-cancer agent and a potent immune booster.
It also showed that dates contains 23 types of amino acids and some pretty good unsaturated fatty acids such as palmitoleic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids.
And you don’t have to eat a ton of dates to benefit from them. In fact, just eating 3 dates a day can produce some pretty amazing results.
1. A quick Pick-Me-Up
Eating dates can provide you with a safe and effective energy boost. They are just what you need when you hit that 3 pm low. So instead of drinking an energy drink, try to eat dates. Plus, munching on them burns calories and makes you more alert.
The dietary fiber in dates will keep you energized for longer and help you avoid the dreaded “sugar-crash” that comes with other sweet snacks.
2. Improve Your Digestion
Dates are especially high soluble fibers. Soluble fiber draws water from you’re your digestive tract, which is why your grandmother probably told you to eat a few dates when things got a little “backed-up.”
Ironically, dates are also helpful with diarrhea as they help balance your digestive tract. Eating a few dates is a fast and effective way to relieve any gut discomfort because they help improve good bacteria in your digestive tract.
3. Boost Immunity and Strengthen Your Bones
As mentioned, dates are rich in magnesium, copper, manganese, and selenium and as studies show, selenium is widely known to help prevent cancer.
Dates are also a superfood for strengthening bones and fighting off diseases like osteoporosis. They are particularly good as you begin to age and your bones gradually weaken.
4. Balance Iron levels in Anemia
Anemia is more widespread than you might think and is usually a direct result of the typical western diet. Dates are full of iron and as such, an excellent food source to help balance out these levels in anemic patients, ultimately increasing their overall energy and strength.
5. Keep Your Heart Healthy
There is a lot of evidence now that dates are good for your heart, especially if you soak then overnight and then crush them before you eat them first thing in the morning.
The high levels of potassium are excellent for your heart and have been shown in studies to help reduce the risk of stroke and other heart-related diseases.
We also know that this sweet brown fruit is a wonderful help in reducing LDL (the bad cholesterol), which doctors say is a big factor in heart issues such as heart attacks and strokes.
6. Relieve Allergies
Dates also contain high levels of organic sulfur, which is known to be helpful for reducing allergic reactions. According to a 2002 study, organic sulfur compounds can help relieve the number and intensity of symptoms from SAR (Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis).
When choosing your dates, always look for fresh, plump ones that have smoothly wrinkled, unbroken skins. Don’t pick any that smell funny or ones that are hard.
You can actually keep dried dates for up to a year if you keep them cool in the refrigerator. You should also refrigerate your fresh dates in a tight, sealed container, which will allow them to last for up to eight months.