Dates aren’t the most attractive fruit, but they certainly are sweet and nutritious. Studies show that this amazing fruit has approximately over a dozen beneficial ways of helping your body heal, and they are shown to prevent and/or help treat about 40 different health conditions (1). And as it turns out, dates are also one of the best foods for heart health.
Dates For Heart Health
The health benefits of dates start with your body’s most vital organ.
1. Prevent Atherosclerosis
Israeli researchers discovered that eating dates once a day can protect you from developing atherosclerosis, a major cause of heart attacks and strokes (2). Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries caused by high cholesterol (3).
Researchers of the study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that eating 3.75 ounces of dates daily for just four weeks can decrease your triglyceride (fats) levels 15 percent while also reducing the amount of oxidation of fats in your blood by as much as 33 percent, all without raising your blood sugar levels.
2. Lower Blood Pressure
A Harvard Medical School study also says that dates are one of the foods that can help to lower blood pressure.
“Rigorous trials show that eating strategies such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, DASH variants like the OmniHeart diet, and Mediterranean-type diets reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension (high blood pressure) and those headed in that direction.”
They recommend eating 8 servings (about a half pound) of dates a week (4).
3. Prevent Stroke
Dates are also a good source of potassium, which researchers know is linked to heart health. In particular, Medjool dates provide 20 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of potassium per 100 gram serving (5).
8 More Amazing Health Benefits Of Dates
Eat a handful a day for best results!
1. Prevent Anemia
Iron is a key component of hemoglobin in red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen to all the other cells of your body. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, a difficult condition to manage (7).
Dates contain significant amounts of iron, which is obviously key for preventing and treating this condition, especially in children and pregnant women.
This delicious fruit contains about 0.90 mg of iron for every 100 grams. That translates into about 11 percent of your RDI.
2. Treat Constipation
3. Prevent and Treat Gastric Ulcers
Dates are soothing on your digestive tract and have been used for centuries as a home remedy for ulcers. One 2005 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacy confirms that dates do in fact have the ability to soothe inflamed ulcers in your digestive tract.
Researchers said, “The results indicated that the aqueous and ethanolic extracts of the date fruit and, to a lesser extent, date pits, were effective in ameliorating the severity of gastric ulceration and mitigating the ethanol-induced increase in histamine and gastrin concentrations, and the decrease in mucin gastric levels.” (9)
In fact, the study even showed that eating dates was more effective for treating ulcers than a common drug, lansoprazole.
4. Facilitates Labor
This benefit may be a bit surprising to some people, but it goes back centuries. In Islam, the Koran states that Allah told the Virgin Mary to eat dates when she gave birth to Jesus (10). As such, dates are commonly used by pregnant women in Muslim culture. There is science to back this claim, however.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology titled, “The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labor and delivery,” showed that women who ate 6 dates daily for 4 weeks prior to their scheduled due date, had significantly improved cervical dilation when in labor. They also experienced less damage to their cervical membranes after giving birth.
Plus, the study concluded they went into more spontaneous labor (98 percent compared to 79 percent) and only 28 percent of women needed drugs like prostin/oxytocin to induce labor. In fact, researchers say it was significantly lower as 47 percent of non-date fruit consumers needed this medication. Finally, women who ate dates experienced an overall shorter labor (11).
5. Prevent Cancer
Dates contain high amounts of magnesium, a mineral that is crucial to your immune system. Magnesium calms inflammation in your body, a condition that is linked to a multitude of diseases, including such cancer, which is accelerated by inflammation. Dates are also full of beneficial antioxidants that fight free radicals and dangerous oxidation of your cells, again something that leads to disease.
Some research shows eating dates is a legitimate way to reduce the risk and impact of abdominal cancer. A recent 2015 study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, shows that eating dates may also reduce colon cancer risk (12). Other studies are underway to determine if dates can help with other forms of cancer.
6. Improve Male Fertility
A 2015 study published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences (PJBS) looked at 40 infertile men who consumed 120 mg DPP every other day, for two months.
They concluded that consumption of DPP improved their sperm count and in fact, “The treatment significantly increased sperm motility, morphology and forward progressive motility.”
Dates have high levels of estradiol and flavonoids believed to help increase sperm count and motility, and even increase testes size and weight. A common home remedy calls for soaking a handful of dates in fresh goat’s milk overnight, then grinding them in the milk with a mixture of cardamom powder and honey.
7. Boost Energy
Dates are full of natural simple sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose, which makes them a perfect snack for a fast and effective energy burst as these simple sugars are easily and quickly converted into glucose, which your cells use as energy.
Eat a few dates both before and after exercise, especially if you are doing high cardiovascular exercises, as they will help fortify and replenish your energy levels.
8. Boost Brain Energy
Not only can dates help boost your overall physical energy, but these delicious fruits can also boost your brain power. Every date contains over 2 milligrams of choline, a B vitamin in acetylcholine, the memory neurotransmitter.