Who needs candy, when you can satisfy your sugar cravings with nutrient-rich dates? The health benefits of dates range from constipation relief, cancer prevention, alleviating iron-deficiency anemia and so much more! These succulently sweet fruits, whether consumed fresh or dry, are great as a snack, all-natural smoothie sweetener, salad enhancer or can be made into a pre- or post-workout “dateorade” (simply dates blended with water) that knocks Gatorade right out of the water.
Dates are one of the most nutrient-dense fruits out there! They contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin B6, niacin (B3), folate (B9), riboflavin (B2), and Vitamin K as well as potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron.
Here are 10 amazing health benefits of dates, and why you should start including them in your diet today!
1. Heal the digestive tract
Dates are miracle workers for the digestive tract. They are high in soluble finer, which is necessary to promote healthy bowel movements, and helps alleviate constipation and diarrhea. Soaking your dates in water overnight will allow them to have more of a laxative effect. These tiny fruits also stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut, and can improve digestion of food thanks to their beneficial amino acids, enzymes and soluble and insoluble fibres.
2. Provide bone-strengthening vitamins and minerals
If you want to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis and bone-related fractures later in life, then dates should be on the menu. They are a great source of manganese and magnesium, both of which are required for healthy bone development. Low intakes of manganese is associated with poor bone formation, and magnesium is needed to convert vitamin D into its active form so that calcium can be absorbed by the body.
3. Great blood-builders
Why take pills, when you can improve your iron stores with dates? Low iron levels can cause iron-deficiency anemia, which eventually leads to peeling nails, dizziness, fatigue, and pale skin. Thankfully, dates have impressive iron levels, making them a great snack for anemic patients, helping to improve strength, energy, and banish feelings of fatigue.
4. Natural energy booster
If dates aren’t a great energy booster, then I don’t know what is! Dates contain natural sugars like fructose and glucose, making them a great pre- or post-workout snack (I like blending them with water to make a “dateorade”) or simply as a mid-day pick-me-up (like that late-afternoon 4pm crash most people experience).
5. Allergy relief
Dates are one of the few fruits that contain organic sulfur, a mineral that over 99% of Americans don’t get enough of. Organic sulfur consists of 99.9% pure MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) and this compound helps reduce the symptoms of those suffering from seasonal allergies and reduces allergic reactions.
6. Help prevent cancer
Due to their high fibre content, and digestive-enhancing properties, dates are a great way to help prevent colon cancer and abdominal cancers. Colon cancer often results from consumption of a high-meat, fibre-lacking diet. Increasing your consumption of plant-based fibre-rich foods can significantly reduce your risk for developing tumours. Dates are also high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which helps strengthen the immune system and eradicate free radicals.
7. Maintain a healthy weight
Dates help stabilize blood sugar levels, helping to sustain energy throughout the day. They are also loaded with dietary fibre, and make you feel fuller longer. These two factors are important for helping maintain a healthy weight and can significantly help you lose weight in the long run (remember, its not the natural fruit sugar that makes you “fat,” it’s the saturated fat in animal products, and highly refined processed junk foods).
8. Nervous system support
Did you know that dates contain 3 times the amount of potassium found in bananas? Potassium is needed for a regularly contracting heart, and a healthy nervous system. Dates are also high in B vitamins, which are necessary for proper nerve function, and mood balancing effects.
9. Reduce the risk of stroke
Consuming just 8 dates per day (~ 400 mg potassium) reduces your chance of developing stroke by over 40%! Potassium, since it is not stored in your body, must be continually replenished, as it is lost through sweat. It is an essential mineral needed by your body to maintain muscle contractions, including your heart muscle. Consuming potassium helps your body excrete excess sodium, keeping blood pressure down, and your heart healthy!
10. Remedy for sexual weakness
If you want a boost in your sexual stamina, eat dates! The high levels of estradiol and flavonoid compounds in dates help increase sperm count and motility, as well as promote increased weight and size of the testes. Their natural aphrodisiac properties make them a wonderful aid for those looking for natural ways to help get them in the mood.