The Health Value of Dates
Dates are an incredibly versatile and nutritious food. They help brain function, constipation relief and prevention, enhance memory, vision, improve digestion, improve bowel function, reduce inflammation, and regulate blood sugar. Further, they are said to help with Alzheimer’s prevention, bone strengthening, combating free radicals, detoxification, diabetes, heart health, prevent and fight cancer, prevent heart disease, and regulate blood sugar.
Alkaline 8.5 pH level (fresh)
Acidic 6.0 pH level (dried)
Not a common food allergen
When you eat food, it is broken down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash. Check out this acidic and alkaline foods list.
Dates have an excellent nutrition profile:
Since they’re dried, their calorie content is higher than most fresh fruit. The calorie content of dates is similar to that of other dried fruits, such as raisins and figs.
Most of the calories in dates come from carbs. The rest are from a very small amount of protein. Despite their calories, dates contain some important vitamins and minerals in addition to a significant amount of fiber.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving provides the following nutrients (Nutrition Data):
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
Dates are also high in antioxidants, which may contribute to many of their health benefits, including a reduced risk of several diseases. They protect your cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that may cause harmful reactions in your body and lead to disease (Int J Biomed Sci).
Here’s an overview of the three most potent antioxidants in dates:
Flavonoids: Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and have been studied for their potential to reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer.
Carotenoids: Carotenoids are proven to promote heart health and may also reduce the risk of eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration.
Phenolic acid: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, phenolic acid may help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Dates have a very high sugar content relative to the rest of their nutritional value. People who are trying to manage their blood sugar, such as those with diabetes, should be mindful of their total sugar intake when consuming dates.
Eating dates in moderation is unlikely to raise a person’s blood sugar excessively, even if they have diabetes. According to one study, dates are a low glycemic index food that does not result in significant increases in blood sugar in people with or without diabetes.
Although the researchers had only a small sample size, their findings do indicate that eating dates in moderation should not dramatically impact a person’s blood sugar. (Source: Medical News Today)
Verdict: Dates are a high nutrient food that is an excellent addition to your whole food diet in moderate amounts.