Dates come from the fruit of the date palm tree, which is grown in many tropical regions of the world. Other names associated with dates are Medjool and Deglet Noor. They are the most commonly consumed varieties. Dates are also particularly beneficial during Ramadan because they are high in sugar and vitamins such as potassium and magnesium as well as an excellent source of fiber and carbohydrates.
When fasting the body can easily develop mild health conditions like low blood sugar, headaches and lethargy. Breaking the fast with dates has always been a Ramadan tradition. In Hadith literature it is written that the Messenger of Allah would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. Therefore, eating dates during this time has a spiritual significance. Dates have a long history in the Middle East as they have been cultivated in the area for thousands of years. The hot, arid climate provides ideal conditions for date palms to thrive.
According to the fdc.nal.usda.gov, nd, One serving (100 grams) has the following ingredients: 277 calorie
75 grams carbohydrates
1.8 grams protein
0.2 grams fat
6.7 grams fiber
696 milligrams potassium (20 percent DV)
0.4 milligrams copper (18 percent DV)
0.3 milligrams manganese (15 percent DV)
54 milligrams magnesium (14 percent DV)
0.2 milligrams vitamin B6 (12 percent DV)
1.6 milligrams niacin (8 percent DV)
0.8 milligrams pantothenic acid (8 percent DV)
64 milligrams calcium (6 percent DV)
62 milligrams phosphorus (6 percent DV)
0.9 milligrams iron (5 percent DV)
Apart from the above constituents, Medjool dates nutrition contains some vitamin A, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, choline and zinc.
They are to be eaten in moderation. As a healthy snack, one or two dates are typically consumed. One Medjool date (about 24 grams) contains approximately 66.5 calories, 16 grams of sugar and 0 trans fats.
Scientific Studies on Dates
Dates have been studied for their potential to promote and ease late-term labor in pregnant women. A study by Kordi et al., 2017, affirmed that, consuming dates in the last few weeks of pregnancy may promote cervical dilation and lower the need for induced labor. They may also be helpful for reducing labor time.
Another retrospective study by Al-Kuran et al., 2011,examined 69 women who ate 6 dates per day for 4 weeks before their due date had 20% chances to go into labor naturally and were in labor for significantly less time than those who did not eat them.
Another prospective study by Razali et al.,2017, included 154 pregnant women and demonstrates that those who ate dates were much less likely to be induced compared to those who did not.
A third study by Kordi et al.,2017, involved 91 pregnant women who took 70–76 grams of dates daily at 37th week of pregnancy. They entered in active labor for an average of 4 fewer hours than those who did not eat dates. Though, there is some research backing eating dates to help induce labor and reduce labor duration, more research is needed to confirm these effects.
Mechanism of Action Kordi et al., 2017; Kuran et al., 2011, studies opined that, dates promote labor in pregnancy by using a compounds that bind to oxytocin receptors and appear to mimic the effects of oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin is a hormone that causes labor contractions during childbirthKordi et al., 2017, study also demonstrates that the tannins compounds in dates have been proven to speed contractions. They are also a good source of natural sugar and calories, which are necessary to maintain energy levels during labor. Hence, in conclusion, dates help promote and stimulate natural labor for pregnant women when eaten during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Fights Cholesterol The most significant dates benefit is a reduction in unhealthy cholesterol levels. When consume, there is an increase in insoluble and soluble fiber intake, and ultimately reduces cholesterol naturally — especially LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. LDL is the bad guy that triggers heart attacks, heart disease and stroke, and dates deal with this bad guy.One study by Borochov-Neori et al., 2013, demonstrates that Medjool dates, coupled with different dates, “inhibited LDL oxidation, and most extracts also stimulated cholesterol removal from macrophages.”Additionally, Rock et al.,2009, demonstrates that Medjool dates are rich in antioxidative properties in vitro. In this study, ten healthy respondents took 100 grams daily of either Medjool or Hallawi dates for four weeks. The study posits that, Medjool dates reduced blood triglyceride levels by 8 percent among the participants.Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When there is a high triglycerides in the blood, it can increase your risk of heart disease.Not only that, another study by Rahmani et al.,2014, found that, dates low glycemic index coupled with fiber and antioxidants potential has effect on reducing blood sugar level, hence, good for diabetic management. Support Bone Health Dates support osteoporosis due to the many minerals it contains. Minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. All of these have been studied for their potential to prevent bone-related conditions like osteoporosis. Calcium further support the heart, nerves, muscles and other body systems. The phosphorous content helps balance and use other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, iodine, magnesium and zinc. Natural Sweetener Dates are a source of fructose, which is a natural type of sugar found in fruit. For this reason, dates are very sweet and also have a subtle caramel-like taste. They make a great healthy substitute for white sugar in recipes due to the nutrients, fiber and antioxidants that they provide.Research demonstrates that there is a direct link between increased sugar consumption in food and increased diabetes rates. A delicious fruit, like a Medjool date, provides a truly satisfying alternative to eating a candy bar or brownie loaded with refined sugar .The best way to substitute dates for white sugar is to make date paste, as in this recipe, to be accessed at https://www.veggiesdontbite.com/date-paste-goodbye-refined-sugar/ : It is made by mixing dates with water in a blender. A rule of thumb […]