If you’ve ever tried a medjool date then you will know they really are a yummy, sticky sweet treat that is perfectly healthy as well as delicious. In fact the health benefits of dates really are astounding, and as they are so full of nutrient dense energy I would also class them as the ULTIMATE training food.
I’m talking specifically about the medjool date variety as these really are the Rolls Royce of the date world in terms of both in taste and nutrition. They mostly come dried and taste super sweet, almost caramely in fact, and are the perfect fix when you are craving something sweet or are just in dire need of an energy boost.
THE ULTIMATE TRAINING FOOD:
This is why they are a great fitness training food for both before, during AND after exercise, due to the fact they are packed full of low GI sugar that will give you a slow and sustained energy release. This is because they fit the perfect macronutrient requirements of a training food: each date contains 66 calories, 17g carbs, and barely zero protein and fat (making them similar to most energy gels – but more nutritious).
The sugars in dates, although they high are in the form of glucose, fructose, and sucrose and are easily broken down and processed by the body – which is exactly what is needed when you need an instant but long lasting energy fix.
A Perfectly Packaged Super Food:
They also come perfectly packaged and are easy to transport, plus they do not spoil easily meaning you can either eat them straight out of the fridge, or wrap them in some tin foil and take them with you on your run or to the gym.
And dates aren’t just for those in training, they are good for EVERYBODY – including diabetics (in moderation along with a healthy diet), they also have a number of other nutritional benefits making them well worth incorporating into your every day diet every.
PERFECT ON A PLANT BASED DIET
A healthy ‘plant based diet’ will require you to make sure you are eating lots of good sources of plant proteins, plus lots of nutrients – especially calcium. Fortunately dates are abundant in all of these and boast an impressive nutritional profile with high amounts of calcium, B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin K. They are also high in soluble and insoluble fiber.
Medjool dates are what I would call ‘nature’s very own candy‘, and if you feel an itch for a sweet treat then dates will certainly scratch it, AND they are guilt free! They come in low on the glycemic index scale at 43-55 for non diabetics and 43-53 for type 2 diabetics (diabetics can eat up to 3 a day if the rest of their food is healthy) – but as with everything they will still need to be eaten in moderation, OR instead of other treats if you don’t want to gain weight.
Medjool dates are good for your heart as their both soluble and insoluble fiber content helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides: this in turn lowers your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease. Taken along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, dates may help act as a preventative measure against all of the above.
The high amounts of key nutrients in dates are perfect for strong bones: such as the calcium and phosphorus, both of which are needed for bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also needed for the repair, maintenance and growth of cells and tissues.
Calcium is crucial to the healthy function of nerves, muscles and heart and is the NUMBER ONE mineral for helping to prevent osteoporosis. It is worth noting that contrary to popular belief there are many plant foods that are higher in calcium than dairy products, and in some cases are also more easily absorbed.
Please check out this list of other ‘High Calcium Plant Foods’ and be sure to add them to your diet as much as possible. As you age you need MORE calcium than ever as your bones will be becoming more fragile and your absorption rate will be lower.
Dates, along with most other plant foods, are anti inflammatory and therefore may help to fight chronic inflammation in the body. This in turn may help to ease pain (especially the pain caused by inflammatory diseases such as autoimmune disease, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease).
Chronic inflammation is something that affects many of us and can be triggered from many sources, such as sugar, trans fats, alcohol, tobacco, pollution, and toxins in the environment – these said toxins can eventually lead to disease and illness. You can help to lower this inflammation by eating anti inflammatory and antioxidant rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, seeds and the omega 3 fats found in fish oils.
Dates are a high antioxidant fruit, and antioxidants are needed in abundance in our diet, especially as we are living in such a toxic world. Antioxidants help slow down the aging process of the body both on the inside and out, as they neutralise free radicals before they can damage our cells and DNA. This damage when left out of control, can lead to premature aging and degenerative disease.
Make sure you also eat an antioxidant rich diet, and add in these ‘Antioxidant Rich Foods’ EVERY DAY to be sure you are keeping yourself healthy and your immune system strong.
Thank you for reading, and if you would like to add any comments to this post then I would love to hear what you have to say. So please feel free to post below.