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Dates

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Dates Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 20.5 g
Calories: 282 kcal
Protein: 2.5 g
Carbohydrate: 75 g
Dietary fiber: 8 g
Sugars: 63.4 g
Fat: 0.4 g
Vitamin C: 0.4 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 1.3 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B9: 19 μg
Vitamin E: 0.1 mg
Vitamin K: 2.7 μg
Calcium: 39 mg
Iron: 1 mg
Magnesium: 43 mg
Phosphorus: 62 mg
Potassium: 656 mg
Sodium: 2 mg
Zinc: 0.3 mg

The date is the sweet tasting fruit of the date palm, likely first cultivated in the Middle East. Often eaten dried so that it can be preserved longer, this sugary fruit also tastes great fresh. Produced mainly in Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia, this exotic food is almost all sugar, hence its sweet, almost toffee like taste.

This also may go some way to explaining why dates are almost always a feature of desserts (sticky toffee pudding and so on), although could just as well be used as part of a granola or smoothie. With a solid nutritional profile high in fibre, and fantastic benefits for gut biology and colon cancer prevention, dates are an excellent food for the digestive system.

There’s no getting around the fact that dates are delicious because of their high sugar levels. That aside, dates still have some nutritional benefits: 100g of medjool dates contains 277 calories, 28% of your Daily Value (DV) of dietary fibre, 19% DV of potassium, 13% DV of magnesium, and 10% DV of vitamin B6. These nutrients are essential to processes as diverse as maintaining digestive health, blood pressure, kidney health, bone integrity, nerve health, the creation of red blood cells, neurotransmitters and much more. Not bad for such a sweet tasting food.

In addition to the nutritional content of dates, they possess a number of other health benefits, including a substantial antioxidant capacity, digestive support, and possible benefits as a male aphrodisiac. The antioxidant capacity of dates is of course significant for the broad base of health benefits antioxidants can give, but perhaps more interesting, is the fact that dates appear to have a beneficial effect on gut microbiology, and may even help to prevent colon cancer.

Couple that with substantial amounts of dietary fibre, and that’s fairly complete digestive protection. On an interesting side note, extract from date palm pollen, originally used in folk medicine to treat male infertility, has been shown to have some limited aphrodisiac effects in males.

As mentioned above, dates are very high in sugar, so eat them sparingly.