Dates And Heart Health: 9 Impressive Benefits Of Dates That Make It A Great Choice For Your Diet
Dates are small sweet fruits that contain natural sugar and are full of healthy vitamins and minerals. This nutrient-dense food contains powerful antioxidant properties that people of all ages can benefit from.
Dates are sweet edible fruits that are said to have originated from ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia. While it is common knowledge these days that excessive sugar should be avoided in your daily diet, the consumption of dates is considered to be rather healthy. While dates are high on natural sugar, the kind of sugar one is advised against is white, refined and processed sugar, which only provides empty calories without any other nutrients. Dates, on the other hand, come with a number of health benefits. They are not only an appetizing treat for your taste buds, but are also filled with antioxidants and fibers, both of which have their own set of properties that you can take benefit from. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of its positive effects that its consumption can be associated with.
Health Benefits Of Dates
1. Dates Are Rich In Antioxidants
Like we have mentioned before, dates are especially loaded with antioxidants, which allows them to be potent free-radical scavengers. Free-radicals, or free oxygen atoms, are responsible for attacking healthy cells in your body, thus damaging their cell walls which could sometimes result in their inflammation. Free-radical damages are age-related concerns, and that is why the consumption of antioxidant-rich food items such as dates can delay the onset of the signs of aging.
2. Good For Your Blood Pressure
On average, about six dates can provide with over 80 milligrams of magnesium. And if you know anything about this essential mineral, then you would know that it is quite beneficial for keeping your blood pressure in check. An unregulated dosage of salt (which can find its way into your system through the consumption of any meal that you eat) can result in the constriction of the blood vessels. On the other hand, a healthy dosage of magnesium can be advantageous in counteracting this adverse effect of salt and exert a dilating force in the inner lining of the vessels, thus promoting a proper flow of blood throughout the system.
3. Can Help In The Regulation Of Blood Sugar
Yes, we know that dates are sweet, but what you should understand is the fact that its sweetness is derived from naturally occurring sugar and it lacks the presence of the one that is refined. Refined sugar is something that most people speak of when they talk of something sweet and unhealthy, and it is known to increase the number of idle calories in your bloodstream. These idle calories are responsible for using your body’s vitamins and minerals; hence their consumption can lead to a nutritional deficit, which is bad. The naturally occurring sugar in dates is much easier to break down and does not contribute towards rising blood sugar levels.
4. Dates Can Effectively Strengthen Bones
Potassium is an essential mineral when it comes to maintaining one’s bone density. Some potassium salts can neutralize bone-depleting metabolic acids. These acids are themselves responsible for removing calcium from the surface of your bone, and as it happens, a single dried date can provide you with a healthy dosage of 140 milligrams of potassium, making it a great addition to your diet if you are looking for something that can strengthen your bones and maintain its density.
5. Improves Brain Activity
Vitamin B, which can be easily found in these little sweet fruits, is an important component of acetylcholine, which is a memory neurotransmitter. This means that a regulated and significant consumption of dates can effectively keep your neurotransmitters nourished and your brain activity healthy. Furthermore, these vitamins also add to the antioxidant properties of dates. They keep your brain cells from getting attacked by free-radicals and delay the signs of degenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
6. Good For Your Cardiovascular Health
The presence of magnesium in dates helps in dilating the blood vessels, which further aids in keeping your blood pressure at a normal level. Normal blood pressure is one of the key factors in the prevention of clogged arteries. Magnesium, due to its dilating effect, prevents atherosclerosis, which is caused due to the clogging of the blood vessels by cholesterol or other substances. So, we can also say that eating dates also help in tackling cholesterol issues as well.
7. Promotes Healthy Weight Gain
As dates lack refined sugar, their consumption can help you in gaining weight but in a healthy way. The naturally occurring sugar that is present in these fruits is easily broken down into energy by insulin. Hence, they can provide you with every that you require for your workout, which can help in reducing fat and increasing muscle mass. So if you are looking for a great pre-workout snack, you don’t have to look further than 1-2 dates.
8. Great For Your Skin
What else could be the benefits of eating a vitamin-rich food item such as a date? Well, we haven’t talked about your skin yet. Nutrients such as vitamin C, which is found in the nutrient-dense composition of dates, help in the nourishment of your skin cells. In addition to that, vitamins increase the water retention capabilities of your skin, thus keeping it moisturized.
9. Could Prevent Night Blindness
Night blindness can be categorized as the inability to see clearly at night or even in poor lighting. Though not a disease by itself, it can be said that it is a symptom of an underlying problem that has something to do with the retina. One of the chief causes of this defect is the deficiency of vitamin A, which would make a date a perfect food item for combating this disorder, as dates are a rich source of vitamin A.
Loaded with fibers, vitamins, and minerals, dates have been popular for a long time, and their health and beauty benefits are also known to all. So, if you wish to increase the nutrition value of your regular diet, then it is safe to say that you can’t go wrong by adding a few of these sweet little fruits in the mix.
- What is a 'chuara'?
'Chuara' or Dry Dates are completely dehydrated and sun dried dates that look harder and shrivelled in texture due to lesser moisture content. They stay fresher for longer period and their shelf life can last up to two years. Dry dates are significantly higher in calories, however, they are an excellent source of fibre and protein that help keep your body healthy. They are also a good source of calcium and vitamin C. Chuara can be consumed directly, or crushed to make powder and used in baking or other recipes, or soaked in milk overnight and taken with morning breakfast
- What are the common side effects of Dates?
Anything consumed, should be taken in moderation. Overindulgence is never accepted by the body in a positive way. Overeating of Dates leads to-
Weight Gain– The high amounts of natural sugar and carbohydrates which are present in dates can lead to weight gain. People who are trying to lose weight should abstain from consuming high calorie foods like dates dried dates as far as possible.
Diarrhoea- Dates are known to have a high fibre content because of their skin and also the fibrous interior. Overdose of this can cause diarrhoea.
Spike in Blood Sugar Level– Dates are a high glycemic index food which means that when dates are consumed then they can cause a sharp increase in the blood sugar level of our body and this can worsen the situation if the person is suffering from diabetes.
Might cause allergic reaction in some individuals– although dates are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc., but are not suitable for certain individuals who are allergic to dates. Some of the common allergic reactions of dates are itchy skin, redness, hives on the skin and redness on corners of mouth and tongue, difficulty in breathing, nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness.
- Is it ok to consume Dates anytime of the year?
It is recommended to consume dates in moderation. More than two or three pieces, may generate a lot of heat in the body, which is also why it is advised to eat dates during winter months, as it helps in keeping the body warm.
- How is Date syrup made? What are the best ways to consume it?
Date syrup is made by boiling chopped dates, puréeing them, and squeezing out their liquid, leaving a caramel colored syrup. The syrup is quite flavorful and can be used as a healthy natural sweetener for both kids and adults. Date syrup goes best with warm pancakes, waffles, oatmeal or smoothies for sweetening. It is also incredible in coffee where the caramel flavor really shines.
- What is Date Palm jaggery and how is it made? What are it's benefits?
Date palm jaggery is also known as Khajoor Gud or Patali Gud. It is made from the early morning sap of the date palm trees and is a popular food item used in various sweets and dishes in many states of India. Date palm jaggery is also a great sugar substitute and can be used as a natural sweetener. Unlike white sugar which is refined and contains only empty calories, date palm jaggery contains nutrients which are beneficial for the body. Date Palm Jaggery is rich in essential nutrients and is an energy booster, it is rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and phosphorous. It acts as a cleansing agent for our body and helps in speeding up the process of digestion.