Olidhealth.com – We like to eat sweet foods such as ice cream and chocolate. However, sugar content in this food can actually be bad for our health. Are there sweet foods but have low sugar? in fact, There are foods that fit into these criteria called dates.
In ancient times, people knew dates because its sweet flavor and were high in nutrients. The expert usually recommends this fruit for dietary therapy, medication, or to maintain health. Dates are also considered as a superfood for a certain reason such as being a staple food in some countries, having a magnificent benefit for health, can be preserved for a long time, and many more.
The health benefits of dates are also still being investigated for various diseases such as diabetes, coronary disease, hepatic disease, and may have potential as an anti-cancer drug at a certain stage.
Dates in general
Dates are fruit from kinds of palm trees that are native to Middle East Asia, South Asia, and Northern Africa. The plant itself usually grows in tropical regions, especially in barren or near oases. The color and the shape of the fruits depend on their species. Moreover, almost all the dates have a sweet taste.
Found in Arabia, more precisely around the year 5320-5530 BC, dates have been widely used as a replacement for nutrients other than wheat and rice. This staple item is Rich in fiber, carbohydrates, and sugars which make dates very good for health .
Type of Dates
Since its discovery until now, dates have been found in more than 30 varieties. Here are some types of dates that are commonly found in the Middle East marketplace .
- Medjool dates – The scientific name is phoenix dactylifera. These dates have reddish-brown colors with a fibrous texture. If consume it would taste sweet and fairly soft. These dates are very suitable for snacks.
- Piarom dates – These dates have a sweet taste like caramel. The shape itself is oval with slightly long around 3 – 5 cm. The distribution of this plant is generally seen in the Persian and Middle East areas.
- Omani dates – Dates with dark brown color and have a chewy texture. The plant is native to Oman and Middle East Asia.
- Mazafati dates – The origin of these dates is from Iran. It has dark brown color and is moderately sized around 2 – 4 cm in size. The flavor itself is like brown sugar and caramel.
- Deglet Nour dates – These dates are native to Algeria, precisely in the Biskra region and oasis of Tolga. It is kind of medium size and has dark golden brown.
- Barhi dates – Compared to the other dates, It has a relatively small size around 2 -3 cm. However, the taste itself is the creamiest among other dates. Barhi dates originated from Iraq with an appearance of yellow color.
Health Benefit of Dates
To keep a healthy body we should consume healthy food. Dates are one of the superfoods that have many benefits for our health. Below is full information related to the number of nutrients and their benefits in our bodies.
Nutrition of Dates
Several studies found that dates have high nutrition including polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins. Moreover, based on Nutrition data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the 100-gram servings of dates are presented as follows :
- Calories: 282
- Carbs: 75 gram
- Sugar: 66.5 gram
- Fiber: 8 gram
- Protein: 2.5 gram
Vitamin In Dates
The experts have explained a lot about the benefit of vitamins. For example, vitamin A usually for eye health, and vitamin C is for boosting the immune system. Variable fruit and vegetable have their main resource of vitamins. However, dates surprisingly have more variants of the vitamin than other fruit. The following is the list of vitamins in 100-gram servings dates according to USDA .
There is also a complete list of vitamin in dates with health benefits to our body such as:
- Choline: 9.9 milligram
- Niacin (Vitamin B3): 1.6 milligram
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5): 0.8 milligram
- Ascorbic acid (vitamin C): 0.4 milligram
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6): 0.2 milligram
- Phylloquinone (vitamin K): less than 0.1 milligram
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1):less than 0.1 milligram
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): less than 0.1 milligram
- Folate (Vitamin B9): less than 0.1 milligram
- Vitamin A: 149 IU
For extra information, dates also have trace amounts of essential compounds such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Mineral In Dates
Aside from their nutritional and vitamin, dates also have tremendous numbers of minerals. Potassium and calcium are the highest content in dates. The following essential mineral and micromineral of dates are shown below :
- Potassium (K): 696 milligram
- Calcium (Ca): 64 milligram
- Phosphorus (P): 62 milligram
- Magnesium (Mg): 54 milligram
- Iron (Fe): 1 milligram
- Sodium (Na): 1 milligram
- Manganese (Mn): less than 1 milligram
- Copper (Cu): less than 1 milligram
- Zinc (Zn): less than 1 milligram
Amino Acids In Dates
As reported by USDA, dates also have essential amino acids such as leucine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, lysine, isoleucine, histidine, and a small trace of Methionine and tryptophan. It also has conditional essential amino acid and nonessential amino acids including glycine, proline, serine, alanine, cysteine, arginine, tyrosine. Betaine compound (modified amino acid of glycine) also exist in dates that may have benefit to certain health benefit.
In additional information, The number in the nutrition list of dates depends on the type of dates. Some variant of dates has more nutrients than the other dates. This data can be your nutrition benchmark to determine dates as a healthy food for you.
The benefit of Dates For Your Health
The nutritional data above shows that dates have many nutrients and minerals that can maintain the health of our bodies. For that matter, we summarize some of the benefits of dates for your health. Dates can be useful for maintaining the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and digestive system. Furthermore, the health benefits of dates are presented as follows:
Help Maintain Or Reduce Blood Sugar Level
Dates have rich in fiber that can help reduce blood sugar levels. Fiber can slow the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. Although dates have a sweet taste, don’t worry about it. Dates surprisingly have a low Glycemic index which means safe for consumption for people with diabetes. Some experts also suggest taking dates to maintain blood sugar levels for patients with type 2 diabetes since dates have magnesium to regulate glucose in the body .
The new finding suggests that amino acids also have benefits to reduce blood sugar levels . alanine and arginine can reduce blood sugar in different ways. Alanine may slightly reduce blood sugar by converting metabolism in the cell, whereas arginine induces insulin production indirectly. Dates have both alanine and arginine which means dates may reduce blood sugar levels via these amino acid properties.
Good For Maintaining Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be bad for the body because lead to certain diseases like stroke and heart attack. Preventing before it’s too late with dates. These superfood fruits have alpha-amino acid such as arginine which has a role to regulate blood pressure via the synthesis of nitric oxide. This synthesis product induces widening blood vessels, increases blood flow, and decreases blood pressure.
Dates also have a small amount of magnesium that belief can be used to reduce hypertension. Some studies also suggest that high fiber content in dates can lower blood pressure.
Have Health Benefit To Lower Risk Of Cardiac Disease.
One factor that can be a problem for your heart is the homocysteine level. A high level of homocysteine may harden the arteries and lead to chronic atherosclerosis. Nutrition content in Dates may prevent that from happening to your body. Finding suggests that food with betaine that comes along with vitamins such as pyridoxine, choline, and folate can reduce homocysteine levels in the body.
Other properties in dates that may use to maintain heart health are fiber. The cholesterol level in the bloodstream might be reduced by fiber. Dates also have small content of sugar that has the benefit of lowering the risk of heart disease caused by diabetes. As reported by experts, the antioxidant agent in dates including folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene may reduce and prevent the development of coronary disease since it can eliminate free radicals first before damaging cells in the heart or arteries.
May Improve Eye Health
Dates have a natural compound for eye health for example vitamin A, and vitamin B complex. Although the amount of vitamin A in dates is relatively low, choline can serve as an alternate for vitamin A. Choline have a role to support the formation of retina stem cell, strengthening the nervous system in the eye, and contributing to the secretion of tear.
Studies suggest that amino acids also have contributed to eye health. Glycine and glutamic acid exist in the eye the serve as neurotransmitters and are abundant in the retina area. Dates have a high amount in these two amino acids and may have contributed to improving eye health. Dates also have trace amounts of zinc that have benefits for eye health. However, It may not effective since just have a small amount of it.
Good For Improve Skin Health
Dates have conditional essential amino acids for instance proline and glycine that may have the benefit to enhance skin health. Proline compounds in the body have a role as collagen. Proline and glycine are essential roles in the skin to help repair damaged skin tissue. It also has the benefit to help form connective tissue. Moreover, dates also have betaine that is good for your skin since it acts as a hydrator to keep your skin stay hydrated and maintain its moisture.
Though amino acids are a vital component of skin, Dates also have vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, E, and zinc which may have an important role to keep your skin stay healthy and lowering the development of acne. However, it still has little information about benefit dates for skin health.
Can Help To Lose Weight
People who live in Middle East Asia rarely look overweight or have obesity problems. The key is their dietary routine with consuming dates which abundant in their place. Dates have notably benefit to reducing weight since they have high fiber and low sugar content. Dates have a low Glycemic index that is safe for people with diabetes. Keeping sugar intake can prevent obesity and overweight since excess sugar can build up in your body.
Dates also have numerous amino acids which may help to reduce your weight. Based to the expert, amino acids such as methionine, glutamine acid, and arginine may have contributed to helping lose weight.
Consuming 3 – 4 dates in the morning can make you full. It also has a long-lasting effect to reduce appetite and help you manage intake to your body.
Rich in Antioxidants And Boost Your Immune System
Free radicals can be good and bad at the same time. A Moderate level of free radicals may have benefits in our bodies. However, excessive free radicals can cause oxidative stress which can lead to serious problems. You can fix this problem with consume food with high antioxidant properties. The main role of antioxidants is to fight off free radical scavengers and protect the cell from malicious substances.
According to the expert, dates have a role in disease prevention because of their antioxidant and anti-microbial properties . Dates have essential compounds including flavonoid, carotenoid, and phenolic acid which have antioxidant along with anti-inflammation properties to prevent and reduce complication disease caused by free radicals. Vitamin C and several amino acids in dates may also contribute as an antioxidant agent. Arginine in dates may have a role to strengthen the immune system.
Reduce Risk of Joint Disease
To manage tendon and ligament health, you need adequate collagen. The body has 30% collagen spread out in muscle tissue. Proline, glycine, arginine, and hydroxyproline are amino acids that have the main purpose to form collagen in the body.
Consuming dates can cover up the lack of collagen if the body needs it. Dates may have the benefit to improve joint function because they have essential nutrients such as amino acids and vitamins. Glycine and proline compounds in dates are the main source of collage that has a role to repair tendon and ligament and maintain joint function.
Have Rich in Anti-inflammation Properties
Various diseases can be caused by oxidative stress that attacks the cell and leads to inflammation symptoms. For example, inflammation in the intestine can happen and lead to inflammatory bowel disease. The specific amino acid levels in the body can be affected because of intestine inflammation. People with this condition have a lower amino acid level of methionine, tryptophan, and histidine. In general, essential amino acids play a part to weaken intestine inflammation. These amino acids are present in dates that may have the benefit to reduce its symptom.
Besides those amino acids, Dates have rich in nutrition, vitamin, and mineral which have anti-inflammation properties to reduce seizures and swelling. An essential compound such as Phenolic acid and flavonoid in dates also can serve as an anti-inflammation agent .
Help Maintain Liver Function
The main function of the liver is to produce essential proteins, aid the digestive system, and filter toxins in the body. In order to do that, the liver needs several nutrients that are necessary to preserve its function.
Betaine compound can be produced in our body and have a contribution to the liver metabolism system as a methyl group donor. Its have an important role in protein synthesis along with choline, methionine, and folate. Betaine and other compounds mentioned before also exist in dates that have the benefit to maintain liver health.
The investigation in some studies has shown that betaine in dates may be used to treat people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Betaine also has a role to maintain the fatty levels in the liver. Furthermore, Arginine in Dates has the benefit to regulate ammonia in the body and remove excess of it if necessary. Arginine also helps induce certain hormones in the liver to maintain the metabolism system.
Moreover, Dates is high in vitamins to help detoxify toxins and maintain liver cells from free radicals. Dates also have small amounts of minerals for instance copper and iron which are essential to protein production within the liver.
Help Preserve Kidney Function
Maintaining Kidney health is crucial because it is one method to release toxins and excess substances that are unnecessary in the body. The kidney’s working system is to filter red blood cells. The kidney can be damaged by certain conditions and cause a decrease in its function. However, there is food that can help prevent it. Dates can be an alternative food that has benefits for kidney health. A rat model research shows that there is a Nephroprotective effect in dates to relieve the burden of the kidneys in filtering urea .
May Enhance Muscle Strength
People who live in desert or barren areas usually have an ordinary body posture. however, in terms of stamina and muscle mass, they have extraordinary muscle strength. The food they consume can affect their body, especially in muscle strength.
Date palm trees usually grow near oases or barren areas and become a staple food in some places. Dates have amino acids that can strengthen body muscles such as betaine, Leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Based on research, food with betaine can improve muscle endurance and increase muscle mass. The same goes for leucine, isoleucine, and valine that have specific benefits to improve muscle building and may have potent effects on muscle growth.
Since ancient times, Dates provide good benefits for health. Dates have a myriad of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids that have an important role in your body. The benefit of dates for health includes maintaining eye health, reducing the risk of heart disease, helping detoxify toxins, improving muscle strength, preserving kidney health, and many more. Dates can be the best food to maintain your health and should be on your healthy food list.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_palm – The origin of palm dates (Phoenix dactylifera)
 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342212427 – Type of palm dates and benefit
 https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1102631/nutrients – Nutrition of palm dates by USDA
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3992385/ – Health benefit of Phoenix dactylifera