Dates have been called the best food to eat for your heart health, as well as for protecting against stroke, hypertension and heart attack. They may not be very nice to look at but they are definitely sweet and nutritious and provide numerous health benefits.
In addition to being great for your heart, studies have shown that this amazing fruit can help your body heal in dozens of ways and can prevent and treat over 40 different health issues.
Eat dates to keep your heart healthy:
Dates provide health benefits for your most vital organ, the heart:
- Prevent Stroke
Dates are a great source of potassium, which research has linked to heart health. Medjool dates in particular, provide about 20% of the RDI (recommended daily intake) of potassium in one 100-gram serving. In one study, it was found that otherwise healthy women who received around 3,200 mg of potassium a day had 21 percent less risk of stroke.
- Prevent atherosclerosis
Researchers in Israel found that eating dates every day helps protect against developing atherosclerosis, a leading factor contributing to strokes and heart attacks. Atherosclerosis is when high cholesterol levels cause a hardening of the arteries.
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a study which showed that eating around 4 ounces of dates daily for just a month (four weeks) can lower triglyceride levels by 15% as well as reduce the amount of fats oxidation in blood by 33%, without raising blood sugar levels.
- Lower blood pressure
A study by Harvard Medical School recommends eating 8 servings (around ½ a pound) of dates every week and list them as one of the foods that help in lowering blood pressure. They note that diet strategies such as DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and variants of such approaches like the Mediterranean diet and OmniHeart diet have proven effective in reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension and those likely to have it.
Eat a handful of dates every day for surprising health benefits:
- To boost energy
Dates are loaded with natural sugars like fructose, glucose and sucrose, which quickly convert into glucose and make them a perfect energy providing snack. Eating a few dates before and after exercising helps replenish your energy levels, especially when you do high cardiovascular exercise. The fiber in dates also prevents the crash you experience after eating processed ‘energy bars’ which contain carbs and sugar.
- To boost brain energy
Dates not only boost physical energy but also brain power. One date contains more than 2 mg choline, which is a B vitamin known as a memory neurotransmitter and which has been shown to lead to better learning and memory. This makes dates a great food for children and for elderly people at risk for Alzheimer’s.
- To prevent and treat anemia
Dates are rich in iron, actually containing around 0.90 mg in 100 grams, roughly 11% of the RDI. Iron is a key component of the hemoglobin in red blood cells which carry oxygen to other cells in the body. A deficiency can cause anemia, which is a condition that can cause various health complications and is difficult to manage, especially in young children and pregnant women.
- To treat sexual weakness
Date palm pollen (DPP) has been shown to improve sperm quality and possibly cure male infertility.
The Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences (PJBS) published results of a 2015 study involving 40 infertile men who were given 120 mg DPP every second day for a period of two months. They concluded that they had an improved sperm count and that the treatment had also increased sperm motility and morphology. It is believed that the high levels of estradiol and flavonoids increase the sperm count and the motility and can even increase the size and weight of testes. Soaking a handful of dates in fresh goat milk overnight and then grinding this with a mixture of honey and cardamom powder.
- To treat constipation
Dates are actually a delicious and effective digestive regulator, due to the high potassium content and the soluble fiber which treats constipation.
- To prevent and treat gastric ulcers
Dates help soothe your digestive tract and have been used for ages as a natural remedy for ulcers. One study published in the Journal of Ethno pharmacy confirmed that dates really do have the ability to soothe ulcers in the digestive tract.
The research showed that the aqueous and ethanolic extracts of dates and date pits were effective in lessening the severity of gastric ulcers, the increased concentrations of histamine and gastrin induced by ethanol and decreased concentration of mucin gastric levels.
The study found that eating dates was in fact a more effective treatment for ulcers that lansoprazole, a common drug.
- To facilitate labor
This may be a surprising benefit to many people although it dates from centuries ago. In Islam, Allah is believed to have told the Virgin Mary to eat dates when giving birth to Jesus, and dates are often used by Muslim women. There is also scientific support for this claim.
The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a 2011 study named – The effect of consumptions of dates in late pregnancy on labor and delivery, which showed that those women who had eaten 6 dates a day for a period of 4 weeks before the scheduled birth, had markedly improved cervix dilation in labor, as well as experiencing less cervical membrane damage after giving birth.
In addition, the study found that 98 percent went into spontaneous labor (compared to 79 percent) and had shorter labor time. Only a few needed of the date-eating women needed drugs such as prostin and oxytocin to induce labor, compared to 47 percent of women who hadn’t eaten dates.
- To prevent cancer
Dates are rich in magnesium, which is vital for immunity and calms inflammation, which is linked to many diseases, including cancer. They also contain loads of beneficial antioxidants that fight against free radicals and harmful cell oxidation, which is another factor causing diseases.
Some research has shown that consumption of dates is an effective way of reducing the risk and effects of abdominal cancer and one 2015 study indicated that they may also reduce the risk of colon cancer. There are other studies being conducted to determine whether dates can treat other forms of cancer.