When you google “why are dates good for us?” or any variation with the word dates in it, some articles will be about dating. That is not the kind of date I am talking about here. This article is about the date we can eat.
My husband Tom and I moved to Spain a couple of years ago. Ever since we eat a lot of dates. The dates that are available in the Netherlands, are the dried kind that has a lot of added sugar. The dates over here are fresh and delicious.
Most of the properties of dates are good for us, but as with all foods, some people don’t react well to them and there are circumstances where we should be careful about eating dates.
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Table of contents
- 1 Dates are of Middle Eastern origin
- 2 Dates are healthy
- 3 When are dates not healthy?
- 4 A quick and delicious recipe
- 5 Why are dates good for us?
Dates are of Middle Eastern origin
The date is a drupe, just like peach, cherry, and apricot. These fruits have a hard kernel in their core.
Dates have been eaten and grown in the Middle East since ancient times. Our organic greengrocer says that the best (organic) regular dates come from Tunisia and the best Medjool dates from Israel.
Dates have a special place in Islam. During the fasting month of Ramadan, dates are eaten at sunset. Traditionally, milk is drunk with it, which surprises me, because dates and fluids are not a good combination.
Dates are healthy
Dates are rich in fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. As a result, eating dates provides various health benefits.
Because of those nutrients dates are considered a superfood.
Fibers keep our digestive system in optimal condition. 100 grams of dates contains about 8 grams of fibers. Fibers regulate our blood sugar level to help us:
- Maintain a healthy weight;
- Prevent appetite and binge eating;
- Lower risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes;
- Prevent energy dips.
A good immune system starts in our gut. Fibers nourish the good bacteria in the gut and scrubs the intestinal wall. Fibers also help improve bowel movements so that we can go to the toilet more easily.
The dietary fibers in dates ensure a long, full feeling so that we are less likely to snack between meals. The low amount of calories and fats in dates are beneficial during dieting.
Can lower LDL cholesterol
Fibers bind to the bad cholesterol in the body, in order to get it out of the body. Eating dates can therefore have a cholesterol-lowering effect.
Dates contain potassium, calcium, and phosphorus, 3 valuable nutrients that ensure healthy bones and teeth. If you don’t use dairy, dates are a good source of calcium. Just like nuts, by the way.
Improves the brain
Dates are rich in vitamin B6, just like bananas. This substance can improve brain function, allowing us to better store and retrieve information when needed.
Might lower blood pressure
Dates contain a lot of potassium and magnesium. Both minerals have been shown to lower blood pressure. Another benefit is that the high amount of potassium can stop diarrhea, provided it is not caused by food poisoning or a virus.
Magnesium is also important for optimal metabolism and helps us to relax. If we drink a lot of coffee or alcohol or experience a lot of stress, we consume extra magnesium. Dates can help maintain the amount of magnesium in your body.
Since dates are rich in magnesium, eating this fruit can help reduce the risk of arthritis (joint pain), cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other health issues involving inflammation.
Lowers triglyceride levels
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the bloodstream. Triglycerides are essential in our blood, but an excess can be harmful.
Studies show that dates reduce the amount of this type of fat. When the triglyceride level in the blood is lower, there is less chance of a heart attack, stroke, or arteriosclerosis.
Works against anemia
Dates contain 1.02mg of iron per 100g, which counts for 8% of the daily recommended amount. The red blood cells are better able to absorb oxygen due to this high concentration of iron.
Promotes a healthy pregnancy
Scientific research shows that eating dates has a positive effect on pregnancy and childbirth.
When are dates not healthy?
Too much is never good
Fruit contains fructose which is sugar. Usually, the beneficial properties of fruit outweigh the disadvantages of sugar. It goes without saying that it is better not to eat too many dates to limit sugar intake, especially if you want to lose weight.
Dried dates are dipped in sugar syrup to improve shelf-life which makes the sugar content definitely too high.
Possible allergic reactions
Non-organic dried dates contain high amounts of sulfites. Some people are hypersensitive to sulfites and can have mild to severe reactions to sulfites, for example, skin rashes, heart palpitations, or fluid retention.
Dates and moisture don’t mix well
It is, in any case, better not to drink water or other liquids while eating so as not to counteract our digestion, but that is absolutely true for dates.
Dates Promote Farting
Some people suffer from gas and bloating from the fruit because their bodies do not break down all the sugars in fruit properly. Those carbohydrates end up in the large intestine as a residual product and are food for bacteria, which produce gas.
A quick and delicious recipe
This is a very easy way to make power balls that are great against the afternoon dip.
- 50 gr dates
- 50 gr almonds or cashew nuts
- 2 teaspoons of “Chocolate Lover”
Soak the dates in warm water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the nuts into small pieces. Blend the dates, nuts, and powder until it is an even mix. Grab some mix and roll it into a ball between your palms.
Many variations are possible with this recipe. Instead of dates, you can use any other type of dried fruit, such as dried apricots or raisins. You can replace the almond nuts with hazelnuts.
I use different powders from Your Super to have variety in taste. Sometimes I add coconut grit or cover the balls with it.
Why are dates good for us?
Dates are great as a snack and way better than sweets. Fresh dates are healthier than dried ones. They contain more antioxidants than figs and plums and have a lot of other benefits as I have described above.
As with any food we have to be sensible with dates. Also, healthy food can be unhealthy when we eat too much of it and swallow it away instead of chewing it for a while.
The recommended amount varies a lot, depending on which information you read. Some say you should eat 100 grams each day. In my view that would be too much. Too much sugar and too unilateral.
Tom and I eat 1 Medjool date in the morning (dates are great to eat on an empty stomach due to their potassium) and 2 to 3 in the late afternoon. For us that is perfect.
Do you like dates? Tell us in the comment box below.