Dates are not only a delicious treat, but also a healthy addition to any diet. Although dates contain a large amount of sugar, a study published in Nutrition Journal show that dates have a low-glycemic index and they did not significantly raise blood sugar levels after they were eaten.
Whether you are consuming dates to protect the liver and heart from damage, or merely enjoying them as part of a healthy diet, dates are sure to add a sweet indulgence to your daily diet, but make sure not to exaggerate and limit their consumption.
Dates are highly valued for their nutritional value. Dates contain protein, carbohydrates, and proteins, therefore making them complete in a nutritional sense. Dates are also packed with essential vitamins including vitamins B, A, K, and C, and they are a good source of magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and other vital essential minerals.
Although dates were originally consumed as a primary food source in many areas, they were also prized for their medicinal uses and are currently used today for the variety of health benefits they offer.
The Health Benefits of Dates
Promote Digestive Health
Dates are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Fiber is vital for supporting the digestive system. The digestive system needs an adequate supply of both types of fiber to ensure food moves through the GI tract (gastrointestinal tract) at a healthy rate. Increasing your fiber intake is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
Your food needs to move at a specific rate to ensure your GI tract has time to absorb the nutrients, but also to ensure that food does not have time to ferment or cause GI disturbances. You can use dates to help relieve occasional constipation. The fiber in dates supports bowel health and function.
Regulate LDL Cholesterol
The dietary fiber found in dates promotes digestion, and at the same time, helps to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol that can be absorbed through the digestive tract. The consumption of fiber is also one of my top 10 ways to naturally lower cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol is often called the “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol attaches to the blood vessels potentially causing the blockages that are responsible for conditions like heart disease. LDL cholesterol may also be responsible for low grade inflammation in the blood vessel system.
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include pain and numbness or weakness in the hands, feet, and the extremities. Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication frequently experienced by diabetic patients, and it occurs as a result of nerve damage. The condition is extremely hard to treat and most treatments are symptomatic and therefore aimed at relieving the symptoms rather than treating the condition.
Date fruit extract shows promise as a way of protecting the body from peripheral neuropathy and for treating some of the symptoms.
Prevent Clogged Arteries
Often dubbed the silent killer, atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) is the biggest underlying cause of heart attacks and strokes. This deadly condition occurs as a result of the narrowing and hardening of the arteries.
In atherosclerosis, plaque builds up on the artery walls causing blockages. If the plaque breaks loose from the arteries, deadly blockages can occur that can cut off blood flow to various vital organs.
Dates are high in antioxidants and phenolic acids and these ingredients offer anti-atherogenic effects and prevent clogged arteries. The benefits from dates are increased when taken in combination with pomegranate extract and I’ve already mentioned in my article how you can protect your and unblock your arteries with pomegranate.
Toxins, pollutants, and the chemicals in your food can severely affect and even impair the health and function of your liver. Your liver is responsible for producing most of the compounds your body needs for health. Your liver also filters your blood to remove waste products and toxins. These toxins and waste products can damage liver tissue.
Liver fibrosis is a consequence of wound healing that occurs in the liver as a result of liver damage. When the liver is damaged, connective tissue is formed as part of the healing process and excess collagen and other compounds build up in the liver affecting liver function.
Dates as well as date seed extract help to regulate and reduce the amounts of liver fibrosis that may occur, and it may therefore be helpful in disease like cirrhosis of the liver. You can even increase the positive effect of dates by consuming coffee as I’ve mentioned in my post on what 3 cups of coffee a day can do to your liver. Moringa seed extract also has a healing effect on liver fibrosis and one study showed that liver fibrosis reduced after regular consumption of the seed extract.
Inflammation is vital for healing but the inflammatory process relies on chemicals that can damage cells, tissues, and organs in your body.
Chronic or low grade inflammation is the root cause of many of the lifestyle diseases we face like allergies, asthma, and arthritis, and it may even play a role in the development and progression of certain types of cancer.
It is essential to include nutrients in your diet to help regulate and control the inflammatory processes of the body. Dates and date seed extract contain compounds that reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines that are responsible for inflammation. For information about other foods that you should eat and foods that you should avoid, read my article on how to use food to beat inflammation.
If you deal with inflammation and chronic disease, you may want to learn about the importance of detoxifying your body. Some people believe detox is the key to fight diseases by removing unwanted toxicity from the body so you can digest better and therefore decrease inflammation. If you are interested in detoxifying your body, you can find more useful information in my e-book The Detox Guide. This guide will teach you how to use detox to cleanse and energize your body.
Antioxidant protection has become a vital part of any health routine. Every time you exercise or go to the gym, your body produces free radicals that can damage tissue. Pollutants are also a source of the free radicals that can damage the body.
Antioxidants have been shown to play an important role in supporting health. Dates contain a number of different compounds that provide added antioxidant protection for the body. Several studies have reported the antioxidant content of dates and demonstrated the presence of compounds with free radical scavenging activity.
Support healthy pregnancy and delivery
In a study on pregnant women, date consumption increased cervical dilatation and it promoted spontaneous labor, which meant that fewer women needed to be induced.
Boost Cardiovascular Health
Fiber doesn’t only support a healthy digestive system, but also plays a role in supporting cardiovascular health. Healthy amounts of fiber are vital for lowering cholesterol levels, for helping to control blood pressure levels, and for regulating blood glucose levels.
For other beneficial foods, read my post about the best foods and herbs for healthy heart.
Recommended Daily Consumption of Dates
Dates are high in sugar content – coming in at a whopping 66.5 grams per 100 gram serving of the fruit. It is recommended to lessen sugar consumption as much as possible, even when the sugar is being consumed from fruit and as such the general recommendation is to consume 3-4 dates daily.