Top Health Benefits Of Dates

Dates, the natural candies from the tropical lands, are popular among nutritionists and connoisseurs alike. A popular ingredient for desserts, dates are also rich in many a nutrient. Find some of the health benefits of this wonder fruit below and set a date with dates soon!
Vaibhavi Mishra
By: Vaibhavi Mishra Updated: Feb 01, 2021 16:18 IST
Top Health Benefits Of Dates
Dates are not just a treat for the taste buds but also present a wide spectrum of health benefits

Dates, the small-sized dark fruits from the Middle East, have been at the receiving end of human fascination for thousands of years. Popping in adorable clusters from the gorgeous and sleek date palms that wear a crown of thorn-like leaves and a symmetric pattern on the barks, the chewy ovals overflow with nutritive values. Being a natural sweetener and a sugar substitute with a wide spectrum of health benefits, their fandom across geographies is totally called for. These are popular among nutritionists for their richness of anti-oxidants, fibres and other vitamins and minerals. While more than 30 varieties of dates are available, these are broadly classified into soft, semi-dry, and dry categories depending upon the content of glucose, fructose, and sucrose stored in them. Find below the top health benefits of these edible wonders, and set a date with the dates soon!

Health Benefits Of Dates

Strengthen bones

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Dates help in preventing bone-related health issues such as osteoporosis

Dates are power-packed with a wide spectrum of minerals including calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese and selenium, all of which contribute towards improving bone health and preventing bone-related conditions such as osteoporosis. Nutritionists recommend regular consumption of dates not just to prevent these health issues but also to fight already existing bone-related issues. Rich in Vitamin K, these small edibles prevent coagulation of blood and contributes towards metabolising bones. 

Prevent And Treat Constipation

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Being rich in natural soluble fibres, dates help in improving bowel moments

While the older generation is at the mercy of digestive systems with reduced efficiencies, younger ones are emerging as the pioneers of unhealthy lifestyles with minimal physical movement and maximum junk intake, all of which fuel constipation. One of the easiest ways of fighting off this digestive discomfort is popping in a few dates, which are naturally rich in fibres. By contributing to the formation of stool, these fruits promote regular bowel moment and a healthy digestive system. This claim is backed by an extensive study conducted by National Centre Of Biotechnology based in the US, under which 21 people who consumed seven dates per day for three weeks experienced improvements in stool frequency and had a significant increase in bowel movements compared to when they did not eat dates. 

Lower Cholesterol

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Dates help in faster absorption of carbs and reduce cholesterol levels

However tempting your favourite Margherita pizza or a slider of crinkles fries topped with cheese and mayonnaise may seem, they bring with them bundles of carbs and cholesterol besides, of course, your favourite seasonings. While completely cutting off these culinary feasts might be too harsh on your taste buds, you could start small by adding dates to your eating habits. Rich in soluble fibres, dates reduces cholesterol levels and fastens the absorption of carbs. Besides a healthy metabolic balance, this also helps in managing weight.   

Fight Diseases

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Dates are rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acid

One of the most common sources of illnesses is the imbalance between the number of cell-damaging free radicals produced in our body and our natural ability to counter them, a situation commonly described as oxidative stress in medical terminology. Being a rich source of anti-oxidants, as pointed out in the Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences, dates help in fighting off these harmful radicals and thus preventing the oxidative stress-related illnesses. The most common anti-oxidants present in this chewy fruit include flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acid. While carotenoids promote a healthy heart and prevent eye-related disorders, the other two are popular for their anti-inflammatory and cancer prevention properties. 

Promote Brain Health 

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Dates are also known to aid learning and memory

Dates cater not just to the cravings of taste buds, but also extend protection to and promote the health of brain cells. Rich in choline and Vitamin B, these chewy wonders aid the process of learning and memory. Scientifically speaking, they reduce the activity of plaque-inducing amyloid beta proteins and lower inflammatory markers in the brain, associated with neurodegenerative diseases. One of the studies published in the reputed journal Neural Regeneration Research reads that dates have promising therapeutic potential against Alzheimer's disease, due to their ability to combat inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain. Another animal study conducted on mice pointed towards their role in combating anxiety-related behaviour. 

Ease Natural Labour

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Dates are believed to reduce the risk of induced labour

Though dates have traditionally been known to ease labour during pregnancy, several nascent scientific surveys and studies are also hinting towards the same now. In a series of experiments conducted by several universities and research institutes worldwide, it was observed that consumption of dates during the last days of pregnancy promoted natural labour and cervical dilation, and reduced the duration of labour as well as the need for inducing one. Though the studies are yet to be confirmed, it is being postulated that compounds present in the dates bind to oxytocin receptors and mimic the function of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for stimulating powerful contractions. Furthermore, being rich in fibres, they reduce the risk of piles, a common health issue during pregnancy. "It is absolutely safe for pregnant mothers to include dates in their diet. However, any date-allergy needs to be spoken of with your doctor beforehand. Even though it is not very common and doesn't cause any severe side effect, it is better to be safe than sorry," shares Dr Preeti Kaur, a dietician based in Punjab.

Boost Energy 

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Dates can also be savoured like sweet snacks for quick boosts of energy

With energy-boosting products flooding the market shelves, the chemical intake has escalated more than ever resulting in several health complications. Even the excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee may lead to unwanted anxiety, digestive issues, insomnia, rapid heart rate, fatigue and high blood pressure. In such a scenario, dates put forth an organic substitute rich in natural sugars such as fructose. These can be popped in like a snack for a quick burst of energy during any time of the day. You can even whip them with oatmeal, smoothies, puddings etc. and fight off the mid-day lethargy. 

Control Diabetes

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Dates are also recommended to diabetic patients for maintaining preferred levels of insulin

Don't let diabetes come in the way of your sugar cravings! Get yourself a handful of these stone fruits and get assured of increased production of insulin. These natural substitutes reduce the absorption of glucose from the intestines and thus, help in reducing blood sugar levels and the risk of diabetes. They are often recommended to diabetic people for a healthy and chemical-free balance of insulin in the body without having to take supplements. 

Improve Skin

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Dates help in unlocking smooth blemish-free skin

Shout out to those on a lookout for organic skincare products! This wondrous fruit being rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin D helps in maintaining the elasticity of the skin and makes it super smooth by enhancing the strength of subcutaneous tissues. Regular consumption of dates also prevents the accumulation of melanin pigment, preventing rapid ageing. It wouldn't be wrong to say that including dates in your diet helps in unlocking healthy skin. Additionally, the pantothenic acid present in them improves the skin from within and gives it a radiating glow.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Dates 

Q. What are dates?

Dates, commonly known by the name khajoor, are chewy fruits that grow in clusters under the Palm tree’s fronds. Scientifically, these are described as Phoenix dactylifera.

Q. What are the different types of dates?

Dates can be consumed in fresh, semi-dry or dry forms, and are available in more than 200 varieties. Some of their most popular varieties include Barhi, Dayri, Deglet Noor, Halawy, Khadrawy, Medjool, Thoory, and Zahidi. All these varieties differ in their sugar content, flavour, as well as, dryness or plumpness

Q. How are dates eaten?

There are several ways of eating dates. You can consume them out of the hand without any add-ons or fill them with different fillings such as cheese, fresh basil, etc. Alternately, you can include them as a sugar substitute in different recipes. However, you need to remove their pits before using them in various dishes.

Q. In what recipes can I use dates?

Pitted dates can be stuffed with different fillings such as cheeses such as parmesan, fresh basil, etc. or alternately, can be chopped and added to desserts and salads. They can also be blended and added to smoothies or used in the syrup form for dressing food.

Q. Are dates fattening or good for weight loss?

Dates aren’t fattening, if eaten in moderation. In fact, these can be beneficial for shedding weight. Dates help flush out toxins from the body and reduce blood glucose levels, as well as, inflammation. It is usually recommended to eat fresh dates for weight loss. One of the quickest ways of losing weight via dates is by going on a regular milk and dates diet. However, eating them in excess amount can lead to unwanted weight gain.

Q. Are dates good for constipation?

Being rich in fibre, dates are one of the most popular remedies for constipation. As these move through the gut, dates absorb water, which softens the stool and relieves constipation.

Q. What happens if I eat too many dates?

Eating too many dates may lead to undesirable side effects such as weight gain, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, Aflatoxin allergy, etc. It also increases the risk of kidney stones.

Q. Can diabetic people eat dates?

Yes. Dates are rich in fibre and are thus beneficial for diabetic people. 2-3 dates per day are usually recommended for people with diabetes, given they also exercise and maintain a healthy diet. However, consuming up to three dates while also eating other sugary delights might shoot up the blood sugar levels.

Q. How should I store dates?

If you are an occasional date eater and have just a handful of them, you can store them in any airtight container at room temperature. However, if you are planning on storing them for a little longer, store them in an airtight container in a freezer. This will keep their flavour and texture intact. You can take them out a day or two before consumption.

Q. How many dates should be eaten per day?

If you are a healthy individual and wish to maintain your current body weight, it is safe to eat 5-7 dates per day. If you planning on losing weight, it is advised to eat fresh dates, while dried ones are recommended for gaining weight, because they are rich in calories.

Top Health Benefits Of Dates

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Manna Black Dates 800g - Khajoor (400gm x 2 Boxes) ₹ 345
Happilo Premium International Omani Dates 250g, Khajoor/Khajur, Healthy & Nutritious Snack, Rich in Vitamins & Minerals, Natural Sweetener ₹ 188
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A multi-media journalist and writer, Vaibhavi views the world as one big piece of poetry. Time and again she tries to capture this poetry through words, as well as, the lens. She loves to explore the depth of human psyche, philosophy, cultures, and oceans! Carrying forward this quest for exploration she reports on various beats ranging from tourism, culture, art, social issues, business, market trends, science and environment to technology. For her, the life mantra can be summarised with the catchphrases, “Hakuna Matata” and “Carpe Diem”.