We're kind of addicted to medjool dates and want you to be too. Here are 9 reasons why you should incorporate dates into your daily diet.
Everyone has their own answer to the question, “If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?” While there are lots of delicious contenders (heyyyy pizza), for obvious reasons, we’d have to go with Medjool dates. At the very least, we’d choose to eat them every single day as a snack or dessert. (And since this hypothetical question usually involves being on a desert island, it might even be possible. After all, date palms thrive in warm—and sometimes tropical—climates!)
Medjool dates not only boast a sweet, caramel-like flavor and hearty texture, they’re portable, packable, and rich in fiber and nutrients—making them the perfect food to eat seven days a week. Just ask anyone who grew up in India or the Middle East why dates are an absolute staple in their daily diet! Here are 9 reasons to keep a daily date with dates.
1. They're packed with important vitamins and minerals
Like a way more tasty multivitamin, Medjool dates come loaded with tons of micronutrients. That’s a very good thing, since many health and wellness experts recommend getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals from real food, not supplements.
In a 3.5-ounce serving of Medjool dates, you’ll find the following nutrients:
- 20% of the RDI for potassium
- 18% of the RDI for copper
- 15% of the RDI for manganese
- 12% of the RDI for vitamin B6
These vitamins and minerals aren’t daily just boxes to check; they serve all sorts of key functions in the body. Potassium regulates muscle and nerve function and has been linked to better heart health. Getting too little of it each day may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Meanwhile, copper, manganese, and vitamin B6 are involved in keeping a healthy immune system, among other bonuses. Reaching for nutrient-rich dates each day might help keep your body in tip-top shape more ways than you might expect.
2. They're high in antioxidants
In addition to their critical nutrients, Medjool dates with are rich with another mega-healthy component: antioxidants! Though invisible to the naked eye, phenolic compounds like flavonoids, polyphenols, procyanidins, and sinapic acid all lie within each wrinkly fruit. In fact, one study found that, among dried fruits, dates had the highest concentration of polyphenols.
So what’s the big deal about antioxidants? Including them in your diet each day could reap big anti-inflammatory benefits. Because antioxidants dial down inflammation in the cells, they may be useful for combating conditions like cancer and autoimmune diseases.
3. They can help keep you regular
Yep, we’re gonna go there (wink). You need fiber to get things moving in your gut, and dates are fiber torpedoes! Each individual Medjool date provides just over 1.5 grams of fiber, and a two-date pitted Joolies snack pack serves up 3 grams. That’s 12% of the daily fiber target for women and 8% for men.
Every little bit of fiber you take in helps keep your digestive system regular. And since most of the fiber in Medjool dates is insoluble, it’s technically indigestible—meaning that it as it passes through the GI tract, it moves food and waste through the body more quickly.
Meanwhile, the more fiber you consume each day, the healthier your gut microbiome. Research shows that a thriving microbiome might be instrumental for reducing constipation. According to a 2021 study, two weeks of increased fiber was all it took to significantly alter the good bacteria in the gut. We’ll take two weeks of dates, please!
4. They could help you lose weight
Speaking of fiber and the microbiome, this dynamic duo may have another important role to play for health. Research has shown a connection between maintaining a high-fiber diet and losing weight. One study even found that eating more fiber promoted a healthy weight regardless of the number of calories people ate, or their macronutrient breakdown! This may have to do with the fact that fiber creates a happy, healthy microbiome (a potential boon for weight loss)—or that fiber breaks down more slowly than most other nutrients, keeping you fuller longer and reducing cravings. Either way, we say yes to dates for a healthy weight.
Oh, and besides being high in fiber, Medjool dates come with a surprisingly low calorie price tag—another bonus for weight management. Two of the chewy gems contain just 110 calories. Snack pack, anyone?
5. They're a minimally processed snack
Move over, potato chips, energy bars, and packaged pastries. Consumers are getting wise to your ultra-processed ways. Foods high in saturated fats, added sugars, artificial colors and flavorings—known as ultra-processed foods—might make convenient snacks, but they’ve been linked with all sorts of downsides for health. We’re talking an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Plus, some of them are just kinda gross. (*cough* Flaming Cheetos *cough*)
Rather than reaching for a rainbow of colors and flavors not found in nature, consider Medjool dates for a minimally processed snack. Joolies’ fresh fruits are whole foods, watered with the purest H2O, grown in nutrient-rich California soil, and nursed with plenty of SoCal sunshine.
6. They're a friend to your bones
Remember the copper and manganese we mentioned above? These minerals have an impressive portfolio of health achievements, including supporting your skeletal structure. According to research from 2018, moderate copper levels in the blood are critically important for bone health. In this study, low levels of copper were associated with lower bone mineral density. Similarly, manganese is a co-factor (aka helper) for multiple enzymes involved in bone formation.
When it comes to bone health, you probably think about calcium, too—and you’re on the right track! This all-important mineral makes up much of the structure of your bones and teeth, so it’s essential for skeletal health. While dates admittedly don’t have as much calcium as, say, a glass of milk or a serving of broccoli, each fruit does boast a small amount. (A single date contains 15 milligrams of calcium.) The more dates you pop into smoothies, bake into pies, or toss into salads, the more this number adds up.
7. They're portable and pop-able
A healthy, no-fridge snack that fits right in your gym bag or purse? Check, check, and check. Our Medjool dates don’t require refrigeration and come in conveniently stash-able packaging–so there’s no reason they can’t tag along on all your daily activities. Bring them along to fuel you up post-workout, tide you over as a workday afternoon snack, or even serve as your healthy treat for a date night at the movies. (Shhh…we won’t tell you snuck ’em in.)
8. They're a delicious dessert with a low glycemic index
There’s a reason dates have long been referred to as the food of the gods. If you ask us, they’re divinely delicious! Besides their delectable flavor, dates and date-sweetened treats have an advantage over most other desserts: they have a low glycemic index. In other words, they won’t spike your blood sugar as much as desserts sweetened with cane sugar. This makes them a great choice for people living with blood sugar issues like prediabetes and diabetes.
For comparison, dates’ glycemic index (GI) score hovers around 40, whereas white and brown sugar score 63 and 64, respectively. Even other natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup rank higher for glycemic load. Honey comes in with a GI of 58 and maple syrup at 54. It’s easy to see how dates have the upper (or, in this case, lower) hand.
9. They're super versatile
Noshing on the same food on repeat might sound like it’d get old, but we promise you won’t get bored eating Medjool dates every day. That’s because these fruits have so many uses! As a snack, sweetener, baking ingredient, solo dessert, and so much more, there’s always room for another date.
Need some inspiration? We’ve got you covered.
- Mix up your usual toast with date-sweetened ricotta avocado toast
- Start the day on a warm and cozy note by trying pumpkin spice baked oatmeal
- Enjoy a leisurely Saturday brunch with gooey cinnamon date rolls
At snack time:
- Try whipping up some PB&J stuffed dates
- Treat your afternoon to a party vibe with funfetti cake energy bites
- Try your hand at a California date shake. (It’s a SoCal classic for a reason!)
As a side dish:
- Impress guests with a shaved Brussels sprout salad with date-lemon vinaigrette
- Soak up the aromatic flavors of basmati rice with dates, dill, and cherries
- Make a unique sweet and spicy edamame
- Gather round the campfire for vegan s’mores brownies
- Channel your creative side with an easy date-studded dessert charcuterie board
- Vanilla bean salted maple pecan chocolate turtles—need we say more?
Don’t forget that date syrups pack many of the same benefits as fresh dates! Check out our organic Medjool date syrups for dipping and drizzling your way to daily consumption.
Making life a little sweeter is as easy as working Medjool dates into your diet every day. Eating a daily helping of nature’s candies will add flair to your cooking, upgrade your health, and—of course—tantalize your taste buds.
Written by: Sarah Garone, NDTR
Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Nutritionist and Freelance Writer