Dates are delicious. A sweet and chewy delight. They are so good, it is like eating candy, but are dates healthy? Actually, dates are loaded with nutrition and should be added to your diet on a regular basis.
Nomads trudging the deserts of North Africa have been able to sustain themselves for days on dates alone (with water of course). Dates are ideal for desert caravans being easily portable and having a long “shelf” life. They provide instant energy and nutrition for enduring the hardships of a hostile environment.
What are the benefits of eating dates?
Dates are rich in vitamins and minerals If you have a few dates every day, you won’t need to blow any money buying dietary supplements. Dates are choked full of vitamins and minerals like vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, A1, and C. Dates are also a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, selenium, manganese, copper and zinc.
Dates are a whole food source, so your body is able to process these essential vitamins and minerals into your body. Don’t expect that to happen when you pop a multi-vitamin into your mouth. Those vitamins and minerals are more likely than not to pass right on through your digestive system without providing you with any nutritional benefit.
Vitamins and minerals perform a multitude of essential roles in your body. They boost your immune system (everyone knows to seek out vitamin C when you have a cold). They convert food into energy and help repair damaged cells. They also build up strong bones and heal wounds… and so much more.
Rich in protein Dates are an excellent source of protein. They help us stay in tip-top shape and help keep our muscles strong. Gym fanatics chomp on some dates every day as part of their work out routine.
High in fiber Consuming fiber helps slow down the digestive process which will help prevent your blood sugar from spiking. This is good news for diabetics. Fiber helps solidify your stool and making it easier for you to pass waste and avoid constipation. Thus… you will experience better bowel health.
Fiber is basically the roughage from plant-based foods that the body can’t break down. It passes through your intestines undigested. This enables your digestive system to stay clean. Fiber also helps kick bad cholesterol and harmful carcinogens out the back door.
Loaded with free-radical fighting antioxidants Antioxidants are so vital in keeping your cellular health top-notch. Free radicals are basically unstable molecules that compromise the health of your cells.
Dates contain 3 of the most potent antioxidants. Flavonoids help reduce inflammation and may help reduce the risk of diabetes and Alzheimer’s (two diseases on the rise). Cartonenoids promote a healthy cardiovascular system and reduce the risks of eye-related afflictions. Phenolic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps you steer clear of cancer and heart trouble.
Strengthens your nervous system Dates are crammed with potassium (which is the 3rd most abundant mineral in your body). DO NOT underestimate the importance of Potassium. This wonderful mineral is classified as an electrolyte. Why? It is highly reactive in water. When potassium is dissolved in water, positive ions are created.
I know… this is kind of sciency... but, your body runs on electricity. This mineral helps activate nerve impulses throughout your central nervous system. Nerve signals help regulate muscle contractions, your heartbeat, and various other reflexes throughout your body.
Love your heart. A diet high in potassium is also good for your heart. It helps lower your blood pressure by flushing out excess sodium. It is common knowledge that table salt raises your blood pressure. You should do your best to avoid excess sodium if you truly desire excellent health.
Avoid processed foods as much as possible. If you do choose to go that route, please take the time to read the label, and try to find a product with low sodium. I bought some tomato paste today with only 20mg of sodium. I rarely buy anything processed, but tomato paste comes in handy in making healthy soups.
When you take care of your heart and begin eating healthy, at the same time you lessen the risk of having a stroke. A lack of blood flow to the brain is what leads to a stroke. Potassium-rich foods are not a quick fix in preventing heart disease, but it is a piece of the puzzle. Our modern diet is loaded with food that does more harm than good. Do your diligence and find out what foods do your body good.
Dates are a brain booster In recent times, dates have created a burst of interest in its ability to boost brain power and alleviating some brain damage. In a laboratory setting, supplementing with dates has been shown to improve a decline in memory and cognitive dysfunction due to age, as seen in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Dates contain 2 mg of choline. Your body creates a little of this nutrient, but not enough, so you need to get more of it from outside food sources like dates, nuts, or seeds.
Choline is essential for brain development. A study done with over 2000 70-year-olds showed that those with higher choline levels performed better cognitively than those with low levels. Choline has been linked to inducing stronger memories and better learning capabilities.
Skincare Dates are used in cosmetics… primarily in extracts and oils. The desert is a very harsh environment that is not too kind to your face. Desert dwellers have benefited immensely by pampering their faces with date oils. Dates have strong antioxidant powers and they help prevent the face from the effects of premature aging.
Date oil helps nourish your skin, improve your skin’s elasticity, and delay the effects of wrinkles. Nobody wants to look old, so if you want to steer clear of aging skin, dates may help you in the long run.
Historical data on dates
Dates were discovered thousands of years ago. Dates were known to have healing powers by the ancients. Science now backs that up. But regardless of any healing powers, we love to eat them because they are so deliciously good. NATURE’S CANDY!
Dates grow on palm trees in clusters. The date palm is originally from an area now known as Iraq. In ancient times this area was called Mesopotamia. Dates are thought by some to be the oldest cultivated fruit in the world. Dates have been a staple food throughout the Middle East and the Indus Valley for several millennia.
Date palms have since migrated to Spain, Northern Africa, Southwest Asia, Mexico, and California. There are 30 different kinds of dates from around the world. There are 3 broad types: soft, semi-dry, and dry.
Why pregnant women should eat them
Eating dates during the last couple of weeks of pregnancy may stimulate cervical dilation and possibly lower the need for induced labor. Dates may also help shorten labor duration. One study also showed that dates have a positive effect on post pardom blood loss.
Dates are completely healthy and safe to eat during pregnancy. They can fight back fatigue, which is often felt during pregnancy, by adding a much-needed burst of energy. Dates are also full of vitamins and minerals which a mother needs for her child. The fiber in the dates will help keep her digestive system running smoothly.
Dates also provide a healthier alternative for that familiar ice cream craving that is often stirred up during pregnancy. It will satisfy the sweet tooth… I don’t have a clue what to substitute for that pickle itch.
Can Diabetics Eat Dates?
Diabetes just sucks. Poor food choices in our world are creating a worldwide pandemic… I bet you are tired of that word… but it fits in with the definition. No… this is really a huge problem. What is different in today’s world? The majority of food in the modern world is processed. I wouldn’t even call these processed “foods” food!
Dates are real food. Full of nutrients. Even though they are full of sugar, they are also a complete nutritional package. The worst thing a diabetic can use is straight processed sugar. This will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. Diabetes is complicated and numerous foods have created type II diabetes, so diabetics have to proceed with caution when using sweeteners.
Now the majority of dietitians and doctors will advise you to stay clear of sweets and limit your fruit and carbohydrate intake. This is sound advice unless you dig deeper into the mystery.
I am a type 2 diabetic. I followed the suggested food chart laid out for diabetics and ended up frustrated and full of dismay. To tell you the truth… I had to bend the rules… and it did not work… it got worse. My blood sugar was over 300 and I ended up at the VA getting scolded by a war veteran doctor for wasting his time in the ER.
I wasn’t to happy with the doc, because a google search told me to go to the ER with that type of reading. You see, I could not eat 4 ounces of lean meat and leafy low carb vegetables and feel full. I was starving and always hungry. I was ravenous! So…I ate large portions of meat to fill in the void…
The meds were not working on me and my numbers were getting worse, quickly. The food was killing me! Yea, I know I am going off tangent here, but the only ones reading this part are diabetics… right?
Here I was feeling hopeless… for about a week. I don’t like feeling defeated. I am a fighter. I found a website about reversing type II diabetes and controlling type I. They promote strategies that are in complete conflict with modern medicine.
Modern medicine doesn’t have a solution. Diabetics always get worse over time and people lose limbs and go blind. Not a pretty picture. So, I was all in trying something revolutionary (actually their techniques were used a long time ago with success, but ignored… of course).
Drum roll, please… What do these rebels recommend? A low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet. You can eat as much fruit, rice, and potatoes as you desire… but you have to eliminate all animal products (yes, this means cheese too) from your diet. This works. My last reading was 92. I have lost over 20 pounds without trying and my blood pressure is back to normal. Go to masteringdiabetes.org for testimonials and more information. (I am not an affiliate for them)
So, getting back to dates. I eat about 4 every day. Dates have been shown the ability to increase the production of insulin and help reduce the rate of glucose in the blood. The fiber in the dates also helps slow down spikes in your blood glucose.
Fat is the real enemy in diabetes… not carbs. You have to treat insulin resistance. When pancreas beta cells get smothered in fat, they are no longer able to function normally. This is why carbs raise your blood sugar. Even healthy plant fats will spike my blood. As long as I don’t overload on fatty foods, I can indulge in all the whole food carbs I desire and eat food like dates and raw honey in moderation.
Really… Can You Grow a Date Palm from a 2000-Year-Old SEED?
An Israeli architect named Ehud Netzer discovered the tomb of Herod the Great. This was the ruler of ancient Judea said to have put a hit out for all the infant boys in the kingdom in an attempt to get rid of baby Jesus. Who really knows if this really happened, but Herod the Great did exist.
Herod’s palace was on top of Mount Masada, and when Ehud excavated the site, he found a bunch of date palm seeds. The seeds were sent to Yale University in the 1960s and planted after undergoing an examination. They were successfully able to grow a tree that they called a Methuselah Palm.
The remaining seeds were shipped off to Zurich, Switzerland, and were put through a carbon dating test. They were confirmed to be several thousands of years old!
How do You Eat Dates?
There are many ways to enjoy dates. Dates are scrumptious on their own. Or you could soak them in a little water, wait 10 minutes, and put them in a food processor. Then take the pulp and roll them in coconut flakes or chopped up almonds or pecans. They even sell them like that in the store.
Add them to salads or soups. They are excellent in fruit smoothies. I use them in homemade energy drinks. I eat fruit at breakfast and always throw some dates in the mix. Eat three to five every day for nutritional support. Don’t overdo it, they are high in natural sugar and are best used in moderation.
You can also substitute dates for sugar in recipes. You can make a paste with 2 cups of dates and a half cup of water and put them in a food processor. Use a one-to-one ratio. If you need a cup of sugar, substitute a cup of date paste. You can also find date sugar in the store if you want to save time.
Some dates have pits, so make sure you remove them before adding them to your blender. You can buy them without pits, but the tastier ones contain pits. Happy eating!
What is the Difference Between Fresh and Dried Dates?
Most dates sold in the marketplace are dried dates. You can tell by their wrinkly skin. There isn’t much difference as far as nutritional content. Dried dates contain double the carbohydrates and have more fiber than fresh dates. They also have higher amounts of calcium and iron. Fresh dates contain more vitamin C. Fresh dates won’t have all the wrinkles and have a softer texture.
Farmers harvest dates in the fall and early winter. This is the time of the year that dates taste the freshest. Dried dates can last a long time in sealed containers. In my area, the best dates you can find are Medjool dates. Some date brands are best used for sugar substitution, but Medjool dates are stand on their own. An excellent choice for satisfying a sweet tooth. I would like to get my hands on some fresh dates and try them out.
if you are trying to avoid sweets, try eating some dates to satisfy the urge. It only takes a few to do the job. Dates are a superfood that you should consider adding to your diet. Starting your day with fruit is really beneficial for your health.
Dates are really delicious and deserve a shot at winning your heart… and being good for it too!
Thanks for reading… to your health… Brian
I am making no claims that dates will cure any condition. It is food. Food is able to help the body in many ways by offering your body nutrition. Proper nutrition has the ability to turn back cellular damage in many people. Everyone’s body reacts differently to natural foods, as it also does when given medication by doctors. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes, that we as people, can not possibly know.