Dates are high in natural sugar, which is why many people think they are unhealthy. However, these sweet fruits are packed with nutrients, making them a great snack to eat in moderation. Dates grow on date palms in small clusters. The term date comes from the Greek word daktulos, which means fingers.
Farmers harvest them in the fall and early winter. They therefore generally taste fresher at this time of the year. However, many people also eat them dried. They can be stored for a long time in a closed container. In this article, you will learn about their health benefits and how to incorporate them into a balanced diet.
Five Benefits of Eating Dates
In addition to being tasty, dates contain proteins, vitamins and minerals.
1 Dates are rich in polyphenols
Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds that can protect the body against inflammation. Dates contain more polyphenols than most other fruits and vegetables.
2 Dates: an alternative to empty calorie sweets
They can satisfy a person’s craving for sweets while providing essential nutrients, such as vitamin B-6 and iron.
3 They are high in fiber
Just one cup provides 12% of a person’s daily fiber needs. Fiber helps a person feel fuller for longer.
4 They are rich in potassium
They are high in potassium, an electrolyte the body needs for good heart health. Potassium also helps build muscle and protein in the body.
5 They are excellent for replacing sugar
One can replace sugar, chocolate chips, or candy in baking recipes with dates to ensure they are eating natural sugars instead of refined sugars.
Dates nutritional information
Deglet Noor dates are one of the most common types of dates that can be found in the supermarket.
Here is the nutritional information for a medium-sized Deglet Noor date:
– calories: 20
– total fat: 0.03 grams (g)
– total carbohydrates: 5.33 g
– dietary fiber: 0.6 g
– sugar: 4.5 g
– protein: 0.17g
– vitamin B-6: 0.012 milligrams (mg)
– iron: 0.07 mg
– magnesium: 3 mg
– potassium: 47 mg
A low glycemic index
Dates have a very high sugar content compared to the rest of their nutritional value. People trying to manage their blood sugar levels, such as diabetics, should pay attention to their total sugar intake when consuming dates. Moderate consumption is unlikely to excessively raise a person’s blood sugar levels, even if they have diabetes. According to a study, dates are a low glycemic index food that does not cause a significant increase in blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or not. Although the researchers only have a small sample, their findings indicate that eating it in moderation should not have a big impact on a person’s blood sugar levels.
How to eat dates
They can be eaten fresh or dried, just like raisins. They can also be added to various sweet or savory dishes.
Here are some sample dishes:
– Stuffed dates: dates can be stuffed with almonds, pecans, cream cheese or pistachios for a snack or appetizer.
– Salads: Whole dates, chopped, sliced or pitted are an excellent complement to salads.
– Smoothies: Mixing dates in a banana smoothie adds natural sweetness and extra nutritional value.
– Stews: Dates are delicious in stews or tagines.
– Energy balls: Dates can be mixed with nuts, cranberries, oats, coconut flakes or other ingredients to make no-bake “energy balls”.
Storage of dates
When buying them, look for ones that are shiny and undamaged. Fresh dates can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for many months and even longer in the freezer. If refrigerated, dried dates will keep for about a year in an airtight container and for many years if frozen. One should not eat those that have a sour smell, are very hard or have granulated sugar on their surface. These signs may indicate that they have gone bad.
Eating this little fruit can be an easy way for a person to incorporate a new fruit into their diet. When eaten in moderation, they can also provide essential nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese.
Alkaabi, JM, Al-Dabbagh, B., Ahmad, S., Saadi, HF, Gariballa, S., & Ghazali, MA (2011, May 28). Glycemic indices of five varieties of dates in healthy and diabetic subjects. Nutrition Journal, 10, 59
Basic Report: 09087, Dates, deglet noor. (2018, April)
Basic Report: 09421, Dates, medjool. (2018, April)
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