Dates are the dried fruit plucked from the date palm tree, usually found in more tropical regions across the globe.
The most common date that you will find in recipes or at your local grocery store is the Medjool date. At their freshest, you can sometimes purchase them attached to the vine. If convenience is more your style, you can purchase them with the pit (similar to an avocado or cherry) removed.
Most dates are consumed in their dried state, rather than their fresh state. Think raisin and prune. Fresh dates are more commonly consumed in Eastern parts of the world as the weather conditions allow for better ripeness.
Whether you eat them fresh or dried, dates are an excellent nutrition source and have even been proven to fight the risk of Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and some forms of cancer.
Here are 3 proven health benefits of dates, and 3 simple ways to consume more of them!
1. High in nutrients
For a fruit of such small stature, dates pack a strong nutritional punch. In just two Medjool dates, there are:
3.2 grams of fiber
0.8 grams of protein
32 grams of (natural) sugar)
0 grams of fat
2% daily value of calcium
2% daily value of iron
7% daily value of potassium
19% daily value of copper
7% daily value of vitamin B6
6% daily value of magnesium
2. High in fiber
The fiber-richness of dates is the benefit I would like to highlight the most. If you’ve read any of my other articles on health and wellness, you’ll already know that I’ve made it my personal life mission to have better digestion. It’s something I’ve struggled with since I was a kid, and I am always seeking new and better ways to make sure I keep things moving within me at a healthy pace.
One study which had 21 people consume 7 dates daily for three weeks, showed a significant increase in stool frequency and digestive health compared to when they were not consuming any dates. (PubMed)
3. Rich in antioxidants
Lastly, and worth highlighting is the variety of antioxidants that dates provide. Antioxidants protect your body’s cells from free radicals which are molecules that are produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to toxins such as radiation and tobacco smoke. It is said that antioxidants may play a pivotal role in fighting some types of cancer and heart disease.
These are just some of the many benefits of incorporating more dates into your diet. It is worth mentioning that some evidence points also to the notion that dates can bring on early labor, so if you are pregnant, it is always recommended to speak with your doctor about your date intake.
Now, you may be asking “How do I prepare dates?” Here are a few of my favorite ways to consume more dates that taste delicious.
I am a big fan of dates, I’ve always considered them to be just the perfect blend of ooey, gooey and sweet. They truly feel like a natural caramel bite. But if they’re not your first choice of fruit, these next few recipes and hacks may be the ticket to sneaking more dates into your every day.
Healthy Snickers Bites
This is my absolute favorite way to eat dates. It may sound like the strangest of combinations, but trust me on this one. Before I go to bed, I prepare four dates this way:
- Break into the flesh of the date and remove the pit
- With a butter knife, add peanut butter into the center of the date where the pit used to be
- Finally (And this is the most important part), put them into the freezer overnight. Take them out the next morning and enjoy the chewiest, sweetest peanut goodness.
For an even more decadent dessert to really curb your sweet tooth, you could drizzle your peanut butter-filled dates with dark chocolate and sea salt. And yes, it is absolutely as good as it sounds.
Add them to a smoothie or try date water
For a fruitier option, simply add a few dates to your morning smoothie. I love adding mine to my green smoothies because the sweetness of the dates really complements the “greenness” of the drink.
Another really awesome combo is dates, frozen banana, coconut milk, and a touch of honey.
If you’re not much of a smoothie drinker, try combining 5-7 dates with cold water in a blender. Blend until combined, and you’ve got yourself a naturally sweet “datorade.”
For me, date squares are associated with Christmas time, simply because that’s when my grandmother always made them growing up. But these delicious treats can be enjoyed all year round and are the perfect combination of buttery and sweet.
The think apple crumble meets dates; you’ve got yourself a date square.
Try THIS quick and easy recipe.
How will you be incorporating more dates into your diet? WIN wants to know. Chat with us in the comments!