Do you know why Muslims break their fast with Dates or Khajur during Ramadan? We’ll tell you! Dates can instantly pump up the glucose levels to restore normalcy in the body! That’s not all! These desert fruits are enjoyed globally for their syrupy sweet taste and incredible nutritional profile. In this article, we shall learn about the amazing benefits of Dates for health and hair, which can make you fall in love with this fruit, all over again!
What Are Dates?
Dates (scientific name: Phoenix Dactylifera) are the edible fruits of the date palm tree that grows abundantly in countries like North Africa, Middle East and South Asia. They are grown in the desert, tropical and subtropical climates and available in many varieties. Although the origins of Dates are not exactly known, history tells that humans have cultivated these fruits for thousands of years!
The other names for Dates are Khajoor, Kharjuram (Telugu), Kehjoor (Bengali), Khajura (Oriya) etc.
What Are The Different Types Of Dates?
Although there are about 20 varieties of dates cultivated in different parts of the world, about 15 types of these fruits are quite popular, which are:
- Medjool Dates
- Barhi Dates
- Rabbi Dates
- Safawi Dates
- Sukkari Dates
- Dayri Dates
- Mazafati Dates
- Piarom Dates
- Deglet Dates
- Khudri Dates
- Thoory Dates
- Sayer Dates
- Halawy Dates
- Zahidi Dates
- Khalas Dates
Nutritional Value Of Dates:
Let us now look into the nutritional profile of Dates – (Medjool Variety, 100 gms serving):
- Total Calories – 277
- Total Carbohydrates – 75 gm
- Total Fat – 0.2 gms
- Proteins – 1.8gm
- Calcium – 64 mg
- Iron – 0.9 mg
- Magnesium – 54 mg
- Phosphorous – 62 mg
- Potassium – 696 mg
- Vitamin A – 3% of DV
- Vitamin B6 – 12% of DV
- Niacin – 8% of DV
- Sugar – 16gm
- Dietary Fiber – 1.6gm
How Many Dates Can You Eat Per Day?
The recommended quantity of dates per day depends on the age, health condition and the purpose (to weight gain or supplement essential nutrients etc.). An average individual can consume around 6-8 dates daily without any side effects.
What Is The Best Time To Eat Dates?
The good thing with dates is that they are easily digestible and hence, can be had at any time of the day. However, dates are laden with sugars, which can give you a quick boost of energy. This is why experts recommend having them in the morning or on an empty stomach after a long fast.
Health Benefits of Dates for Health and Hair:
Here are our 10 amazing dates benefits for health and hair. Let’s have a look into them.
1. Exhibits High Anti-Oxidant Activity:
Dates are abundant in many types of antioxidants, which are chemicals that can deactivate the harmful free radical effect on the body. A study shows that dates exhibit redox properties which help in absorbing and neutralizing the effect of free radicals. This can play a key role in protecting the body against many dangerous diseases, including Cancers (1). It is also known that Khalas variety of dates have the highest quantity of antioxidants like carotenoids and phenolic acids compared to other types of dates.
2. May Prevent Heart Diseases:
As per a study, dates contain a significant amount of catechins and soluble phenolics, which have shown reduced oxidative stress and lowered triacylglycerol levels in the body (2). Without this mechanism, the heart would be subjected to wall thickening or hardening of arteries, thus increasing the risk of strokes. This is why Dates are also regarded as antiatherogenic foods (foods that prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries).
3. May Lower Diabetes:
Although dates are high in natural sugars, they may lower the glycemic levels in the blood. A study shows that diabetic rats showed significant improvement in the blood glucose readings after orally administering a particular dose of Date fruit extract (3). They attribute this result to various compounds present in dates, such as flavonoids, steroids, saponins and phenols, which have an anti-diabetic effect! This is the reason why dates are a safe and natural sweetener for people with diabetes.
4. May Ease Labor Pain In Pregnant Women:
Eating Dates is known to ease the process of childbirth in pregnant women! A study shows that women who consumed dates in the later stages of pregnancy have higher chances of natural contractions and lesser chances of induced labour than those who did not (4). Also, these women recorded lower labour time and lesser complications. This could be due to certain chemical compounds that may mimic the effects of oxytocin, a hormone responsible for labour contractions.
See More: Dates Juice Benefits
5. May Reduce Inflammation:
Inflammation is a natural response of the body to protect itself from foreign invaders, injury or infections. However, prolonged inflammation or having it in healthy areas can lead to several diseases like autoimmune disorders, heart strokes etc. Studies show that the anti-inflammatory properties of dates can control this problem with certain constituents like phenolics and flavonoids. Also, the edible part of date fruits is also known to reduce foot swelling, caused due to acute inflammation.
6. May Regulate Bowel Movements:
Many problems like irregular bowels, constipation and other digestive disorders are caused due to lack of fibre. Date fruits contain high amounts of dietary fibre which can promote a healthy GI tract. Studies show that people who consumed dates regularly in their diet showed significant improvement in bowel movement and frequency than those who did not (5). Also, date fruit consumption is associated with reduced risk of haemorrhoids and colour cancer risk in individuals.
7. May Strengthen Bones and Teeth:
Dates are superfoods that contain many essential nutrients like Vitamin A, K, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium etc. which improve bone health (6). This is why date fruits can benefit people with bone-related problems like Osteoporosis by strengthening bones and promoting healthy and balanced bone metabolism.
8. May Prevent Neuro-Related Problems:
Many age-related neurodegenerative problems like Alzheimer’s’, Dementia, etc. are caused due to free radical damage to healthy cells (7). Dates contain many antioxidant compounds like phenolics and flavonoids, which can reduce these risks and improve cognitive performance in older people.
See More: Dates For Weight Loss
9. May Promote Healthy Hair:
Date fruits are packed with important hair-nourishing nutrients like iron, folate, zinc etc. These agents strengthen your hair follicles from the roots to prevent hair fall, thinning or baldness. Also, iron present in dates can particularly benefit your hair by improving blood circulation and oxygen supply to the scalp.
10. Gives Instant Energy:
Dates are high in natural sugars which get converted into glucose to give you instant energy. Also, dates contain a good amount of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals that rejuvenate the body and help it cope with low energy levels due to fasting or sickness. You can either consume then directly as a quick snack or add them to your smoothies, energy bars etc.
Side Effects of Dates:
Dates may be good for our health, but overeating them may cause adverse effects like:
- Abdominal problems like stomach pain, gas, bloating.
- Worsening of diarrhoea due to excess dietary fibre.
- Skin Rashes due to high amounts of sulfates.
- Weight gain due to the increased amount of calories.
- Hyperkalemia caused due to increased potassium and lower sodium levels.
See More: How To Use Dates For Diabetes
Surprised to know about these amazing health benefits of dates? Next time you are stocking up on some fresh fruits, do include dates along with them to enjoy their nutritional goodness. You can also enjoy this versatile fruit as a guilt-free alternative to sugar or honey in most of your sweet dishes. So, when are you having your “date” with a date fruit?