“Dating” 101

Dates are a sweet fruit that pack a serious punch of nutrition, carrying numerous health benefits every time you eat them. Considering their small size, 2 dried dates contain roughly 135 calories, so be mindful of your portions because it’s easy to overeat if you are trying to lose weight. Calories aside, they’re loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals which make them a powerhouse fruit and give you all the more reason to add them to your diet.

Dates are packed with vitamins the body needs for survival, most importantly they contain a high amount of B vitamins, namely Folic Acid and Niacin, but also contain amounts of Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, and Thiamin… and you thought meat was the only source of B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for our bodies and help with the metabolism of food, formation of new red blood cells, growth and development, skin health, and improvement in the nervous system. Dates also include vitamin A, which is important for eye health, vitamin K, which helps with normal blood clotting, and Vitamin C, which supports the immune system.

Dates are an excellent source for minerals that your body relies on for optimal function. The mineral potassium can be found in large quantities in dates, which helps regulate fluid balance, heart beat, blood pressure, and nerve impulses. Other minerals in dates include copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. The combination of magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus make dates an excellent choice for maintaining bone health, and magnesium is also reported to help decrease inflammation of the body, effectively reducing inflammation in the arterial walls which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

It appears that dates are natures best multivitamin but due to their high fiber content dates also aid in proper digestion, help relieve constipation, and improve other intestinal disorders. In addition to their fiber, dates can serve as a great source of energy before a workout or to help manage low blood sugar because their sugars are rapidly absorbed by the bloodstream. Note, the high carbohydrate content in dates can be harmful to diabetics if your blood sugar is not under control, so consult with you doctor first so you can monitor your blood sugar and determine how dates affect you.

Try dates alone as a snack, blend them into a smoothie, add them to yogurt or oatmeal, include them in a salad, or bake with them for a healthier dessert. Dates are fat free which make them a healthy alternative to most traditional desserts and, as mentioned, they deliver a broad spectrum of health benefits that you miss with most other sweet treats. Adding dates to your diet, in moderation, offers your body the nutrients it needs to maintain a state of health and wellness.