If you’ve ever tried a medjool date then you will know what a yummy, sticky sweet treat they are, and so 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:
They are the ultimate fitness training food for before, during, AND after exercise due to the fact they are packed full of low GI sugar to 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 high, are in the form of glucose, fructose, and sucrose, which are easily broken down and processed by the body – exactly what is needed when you need an instant but long lasting energy fix.
A Perfectly Packaged Superfood!
They also come perfectly packaged making them easy to transport, and they don’t spoil easily either meaning you can 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 everyday diet.
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, and vitamins A and K. They are also high in soluble and insoluble fiber to keep your tummy happy.
Medjool dates are what you could call ‘nature’s very own candy‘, and if you feel an itch for a sweet treat then dates will certainly scratch it, PLUS they are kinda 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 alongside 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, such as calcium and phosphorus, are perfect for strong 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 the 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 even more easily absorbed.
Please check out this list of other high calcium pant foods and be sure to add them to your diet as much as possible.
As you age you need MORE calcium than ever because your bones will be becoming more fragile, and your absorption rate will be lower, so bear this in mind if you want to keep those bones strong and healthy.
Dates along with most other plant foods are anti inflammatory, therefore they help to fight chronic inflammation in the body. This in turn can help to ease pain (especially the pain caused by flammatory diseases, such as autoimmune disease, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease).
Chronic inflammation is something that affects many of us and can be triggered from various sources, such as sugar, trans fats, alcohol, tobacco, pollution, and toxins in the environment – this toxic assult 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 help to 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 some antioxidant rich foods’ every day to be sure you are keeping yourself healthy, and your immune system strong.