People are always looking for healthier eating choices. Can you believe one of the best options for a healthy snack dates back to before 3000 BC? Medjool dates are just one of hundreds of varieties of the fruit of the date palm tree.
They originated in the Middle East. Over time, they have been planted and grown in tropical regions all around the world, including in the United States. Ever since their discovery, dates were thought to have healing properties.
Now there is scientific research to back this up, and science continues to find even more benefits of eating dates. Because there are many different varieties of dates, we will focus on one variety and look at the top benefits of Medjool dates.
Rich in Antioxidants
Research continues to discover the power of antioxidants and the benefits of dates, including reducing the risk of certain diseases. Fortunately, Medjool dates are high in antioxidants offering much more than other similar fruits. Antioxidants work by protecting cells from "free radicals," unstable molecules that cause harm to our bodies and potentially cause disease. Dates are rich in three different types of antioxidants.
The first one is flavonoids, which studies show may have the potential to lower the risk of diseases like diabetes, and even specific types of cancer. Carotenoids are another type of antioxidant found in Medjool dates.
These are proven to help promote a healthy heart. They have also been linked to a reduced risk of diseases of the eyes such as macular degeneration. The third type of antioxidant found in Medjool dates is phenolic acid. It is known for its properties that reduce inflammation. It is also believed that phenolic acid may also be a factor in lowering the risk of both heart disease and cancer.
High in Fiber
Especially as we get older, it is essential to get plenty of fiber in our diets. This can help keep our digestive system healthy, prevent constipation, and promote regular bowel movements by contributing to the formation of stool. Medjool dates are an easy and delicious way to increase fiber intake as they contain almost 7 grams of fiber per 3.5-ounce serving.
A high-fiber diet does more than keep your digestive system in check. A diet rich in fiber can help with heart health as well. It can help to lower your total cholesterol level by lowering your LDL, often called "bad cholesterol." Research has also shown that diets high in fiber can provide other heart health benefits, including reducing blood pressure.
More Potassium than Bananas
When most people think of potassium, they think of bananas. However, ounce per ounce, Medjool dates may contain up to 50% more potassium than bananas. Potassium is part of any healthy diet as it is one of seven essential macrominerals.
Humans bodies require at least 100 milligrams of potassium every day. A proper level of potassium can lower blood pressure, prevent loss of muscle mass, preserve the mineral density of bones, and even reduce the formation of kidney stones. Your body needs potassium, and Medjool dates are a great way to ensure you are getting enough.
May Help Promote Natural Labor
Research shows that eating Medjool dates may actually help women avoid induced labor and deliver naturally. There is evidence that dates could even reduce labor time.
While more research is needed, it is believed that dates may contain compounds that mimic the effects of natural oxytocin's role in causing contractions by binding to oxytocin receptors. Dates also contain a compound known as tannins that is believed to facilitate contractions.
Quickly Boost Energy Levels
If you find yourself dragging in the afternoon, skip the coffee and grab some Medjool dates. A serving of dates (about 3.5 ounces) contains as many as 300 calories. And that energy boost should hit quickly since the glucose and fructose in dates are absorbed rapidly by the body.
Even energy bar makers are getting in on this and including dates in their list of ingredients. Just remember, dried dates give you a quick energy boost, and since it comes from sugar, it won't last too long.
Packed with Nutrition
Medjool dates provide some particular benefits when added to your diet. But, more generally, they are packed with nutrition. 3.5 ounces of dates can contain up to 20% of the daily recommended allowance of potassium, 14% of protein, 18% of copper, 15% of manganese, 5% of iron, and 12% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6.
Spend some time researching all of the health benefits of the extensive list of vitamins and minerals, and you will find even more benefits of eating Medjool dates.
Great for What They Don't Have
It's not just what is in foods that make them healthy. It is just as important to understand what is not in them. Dates are good for you because they don't have many of the unhealthy things that are often found in our favorite foods.
Many of us, especially those at risk for heart disease, struggle with eating food high in cholesterol. Medjool dates have zero cholesterol. We are all constantly reminded to watch our fat intake and especially avoid foods high in saturated fat.
Medjool dates have zero grams of fat. And, your doctor may have told you recently to watch how much sodium is in your diet. You can feel good about eating enjoying Medjool dates as they contain only 0.1mg of sodium per date.
They are Delicious
While many of us are trying to eat healthier, most of us still want delicious tasting food and snacks. When you bite into a Medjool date, you may have trouble believing that it is good for you. Browse yummy organic medjool date recipes for some creative ideas.
Their rich, caramel-like taste and soft, yet chewy texture make them taste sweeter and better than many of the processed snacks we have grown accustomed to. And it is nice to know we are doing good things for our bodies while we enjoy.
So, try some Medjool dates for yourself. Perhaps you will eat them at first for the health benefits. However, once you try them, the flavor and texture will keep you coming back.