Dates can provide some awesome nutrients and are a great sugar substitute. They contain high amounts of potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamin B6. They are the fruit of the date palm and are a sweet and delectable treat often referred to as nature’s candy. They are great for your health as well as delicious, so there’s no need to feel guilty if you use them to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Dates and Stroke
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the US, and roughly 800,000 people have a stroke, and about 130,000 die from a stroke each year. So you’ll be glad to hear that the sweet little date is made to help combat this condition coming with 696 milligrams of potassium (20 percent of recommended daily intake) per 100 grams.
But why is potassium so important when it comes to strokes? In one study of over ninety thousand women ages 50 to 79 that lasted 11 years, they examined how much potassium the women ate and if the women had a stroke or died during that period. They found that the women who ate the most potassium were 12 percent less likely to have a stroke and 16 percent less likely to have an ischemic stroke ( a very common form of stroke, caused by blocked artery to the brain).
Additionally, among the women who didn’t have high blood pressure, the researchers found that the women who ate the most potassium had a 27 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke and 21 percent reduced the risk of all types of strokes.
Dates and cholesterol
Dates may also help reduce cholesterol levels by increasing your fiber intake. Dates contain about 6.7 grams of fiber per 100-gram serving and roughly 27 percent of recommended daily intake. Dates are high in a fiber called beta-glucan, which can affect cholesterol in a number of ways.
Beta-glucan dissolves in fluid to form a sticky substance that adheres to the cholesterol in food and prevents it from being absorbed. Second, beta-glucans bind to stomach bile acids that also contain cholesterol and causes you to excrete them as waste. As a result, your body must take cholesterol from your bloodstream to create more bile, this, in turn, lowers your cholesterol levels. If you’re interested in lowering your cholesterol you should try this recipe.
Dates and blood pressure
Although there isn’t a single “magic” food that lowers blood pressure, according to Dr. Frank M. Sacks and Dr. Hanna Campos in a Harvard Health Publication, adding dried fruits to your diet such as dates, prunes, and raisins can help lead to a more balanced diet that promotes heart health and lower blood pressure.
Diarrhea and constipation
Another great benefit of dates is that they treat both diarrhea and constipation. It was already mentioned that dates are high in fiber. It’s this fiber that allows your bowels to move along and at the same time gives bulk to bowel movements. So if you’re having a problem with either of these conditions, dates are an effective way to either get things moving or to add mass.
The nutrients that dates are rich in, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6, all important for a well rounded, heart healthy diet. Potassium helps regulate the electrical impulses that maintain a steady heartbeat as well as counteracts the effect sodium has on your blood pressure. Magnesium causes the muscles in the heart and blood vessels to relax easing the flow of blood throughout the body and lowers blood pressure. Vitamin B6 helps remove the amino acid homocysteine from your blood, which is linked to higher levels of cardiovascular disease.
High in iron
Dates already offer so much, but they are also high in iron. Offering 0.9 milligrams of iron per 100 grams, which is 11 percent of the recommended daily intake. So if you suffer from anemia or are low in iron, eating a few dates is a great way to help you get back up to normal levels.
Dates on a diet
Dates are low on the glycemic index and offer no cholesterol, so eating them is perfectly fine on a diet. If you are trying to lose weight, dates are a great snack, but you wouldn’t want to eat too many since they are still high in sugar.
So go ahead and eat dates! They are filled with the vital nutrients and vitamins you need to lower cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, take care of your heart, and run the body. Try snacking on them or baking with them and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits. Why don’t you try this recipe and start building a love for dates.
NOTE: Possible Side Effects of Medjool Dates
Always remove the pit of a Medjool date before consumption to avoid a choking hazard!
Medjool dates have a high natural sugar content, so moderation is key. Pay attention to serving sizes, and monitor your blood sugar if you are a diabetic. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a half cup of dried fruit like Medjool dates equals one serving of fruit. It’s possible to have a food allergy to Medjool dates, so check with your health provider first if you are concerned about an allergy.