It is ideal to have 100 g of dates or a handful of dates daily to get all the essential nutrients. However, the quantity to be consumed may differ from person to person based on calorie needs and underlying health conditions. You can ask a nutritionist how many dates you need to eat daily.
On average, a 100 g serving of dates contains the following:
- Calories: 314 kcal
- Protein: 2.14 gram
- Fat: 0.38 grams
- Carbohydrates: 80.6 grams
- Fiber: 6.7 grams
- Sugar: 66 grams
Apart from minerals and vitamins, dates are the best source of antioxidants. Dates are also rich in a trace mineral called selenium which may decrease the risk of bladder cancer and prostate cancer.
What are the health benefits of having dates every day?
One study concluded that dates are almost an ideal food because they contain a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits. Substituting your evening snacks with dates has numerous advantages because it is loaded with dietary fibers and packed with vitamins and minerals. The various health benefits of dates include the following:
- Low glycemic index: As dates are high in fructose, the dates are naturally sweet. Dates have a low glycemic index; hence, it relatively has a mild impact on blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycemic index cause less increase in blood sugar levels. Thus they are suitable for patients with diabetes.
- Lowers the risk of heart disease: Dates are high in dietary fibers, which helps to reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol or bad cholesterol. Dietary fibers tend to bind with cholesterol and prevent their absorption into the bloodstream. Thus, the fatty deposition in the arteries is prevented, reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Rich in antioxidants: Dates are rich in antioxidants, which can lower your risk of several diseases. Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals and unstable molecules that may cause harmful reactions in your body and lead to disease.
- Healthy digestion: Due to high soluble and insoluble fiber content, dates are ideal for healthy digestion. Dates may prevent constipation, diarrhea, and inflammation of the digestive tract.
- Promotes good gut bacteria: Dates are rich in essential compounds, such as amino acids, nicotine, and dietary fiber. This help in clearing bad bacteria lodged in the intestines promoting the growth of good bacteria.
- Nervous system support: As dates have high potassium content, they have played a vital role in controlling:
- Improved metabolism: Dates are rich in B vitamins, such as:
- Pantothenic acid
- Boosts energy: These vitamins improve metabolic processes, thus reducing tiredness and fatigue.
- Aids in weight management: As dates help in lowering blood sugar levels, it is useful in weight management.
- Regulates blood pressure: Potassium present in dates is essential to excrete sodium out of the body. Thus, potassium regulates blood pressure by eliminating sodium from the body. Potassium is also needed for the heart to beat properly.
- Prevents anemia: Dates are rich in iron which is vital for producing red blood cells. Higher red blood cell productions reduce the risk of anemia and can prevent symptoms associated with anemia, such as fatigue and weakness.
- Strengthens bones: Due to the presence of significant amounts of minerals, it helps in strengthening bones and fighting against painful and debilitating diseases, such as osteoporosis. It contains minerals like selenium, manganese, copper, and many more. These minerals contribute to the development of healthy bones.
- Lowers cholesterol: Dates are a healthy and delicious way to reduce the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or bad cholesterol in the body.
- Sexual health: Several studies have shown that dates are useful for increasing sexual stamina by reducing sterility caused by different sexual disorders.
- Reduces cancer risk: Several researchers have shown that dates help in reducing the risk and impact of abdominal cancer.
- Promotes oral health: Eating dates regularly is also beneficial for protecting and improving the strength of the tooth enamel, and it also helps in reducing the risk of tooth decay because it contains fluoride.
- Fights infections: The high amount of sulfur present in dates helps the human body fight against conditions and allergies.
- Boosts hair health: Dates contain Vitamin B5 which is vital for the maintenance of your hair. It reduces hair fall, improves brittle hair, and split ends. Daily consumption of 3-4 dates can help reduce hair problems.
What are the side effects of eating dates?
5 Potential side effects of consuming dates include:
- Weight gain: Dates, when consumed in excess, can lead to weight gain due to high caloric content. So, it is essential to consume dates in moderation.
- Blood sugar: Since dates contain natural sugars, eating them in excess can increase blood sugar levels.
- Kidney disease: Individuals with kidney disease should follow caution while having dates. Consult a doctor regarding the amount of potassium to be taken every day.
- Allergies: Dried dates often contain sulfites that may trigger allergies in some. Monitor for these symptoms after having dried dates:
- Stomach pain
- Skin rash
- Asthma: Sulfites can exaggerate the symptoms of wheezing in people with asthma.
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Al-Farsi M, Lee CY. Nutritional and Functional Properties of Dates: A Review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. December 2008;48(10):877-87. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/23413061_Nutritional_and_Functional_Properties_of_Dates_A_Review
NutritionValue.org. Dates, Medjool. https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Dates%2C_medjool_nutritional_value.html
Al-Farsi MA, Lee CY. Nutritional and Functional Properties of Dates: A Review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. November 2008;48(10):877-87. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18949591/
Nagdeve M. 12 Proven Health Benefits of Dates. Organic Facts. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html
Nutrition and You. Dates nutrition facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dates.html
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