If you’ve ever tried a Medjool date, then you will know just what a yummy, sticky and sweet treat they are.
Along with being delicious, they are also unbelievably healthful. In fact, these 6 health benefits of dates are literally astounding, and as they are so full of nutrient dense energy they can also be classed as the ULTIMATE training food.
We’re talking specifically about the Medjool date variety as these really are the Rolls Royce of the date world in terms of both taste and nutrition. Try to source out Medjool if you can because they are tastier and gooier.
Dates mostly come dried and taste super sweet. They’re almost caramely and the perfect fix when you’re craving something sweet or are in need of a quick energy boost.
Dates Nutritional Profile
Dates are the ultimate fitness training food for before, during and after exercise. This is due to the fact they are packed full of low GI sugar. The type that give you a slow and sustained energy release over time and not that fast hit you get from refined or free sugars.
This delicious fruit is also fits the perfect macro-nutrient requirements of a training food. Each date contains 66 calories, 17g carbs, and barely zero protein. This makes them similar to most energy gels; only way more nutritious of course, and much cheaper!
Although the sugars in dates are high, they are in the form of glucose, fructose and sucrose. The types of sugar that 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.
What Can Dates Do For Your Body?
Dates already come perfectly packaged, making them easy to transport. 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, to the gym or for a snack at work.
Dates aren’t just for those in training, they are good for EVERYBODY! This includes diabetics (in moderation and along with a healthy diet plan). They also have an impressive number of other nutritional benefits, including:-
- HIGH FIBRE – Fibre keeps your bowels working well. It also helps to slow down the release of the date’s sugars.
- HIGH IN IRON – Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin. This is the substance in your red blood cells that helps to carry the oxygen you breathe throughout your body.
- VITAMIN B6 – B6 is vital for good mood, your central nervous system, brain health, PMT symptoms, heart health, eye health and it’s anti inflammatory.
- MAGNESIUM – Magnesium is great for soothing aching muscles, reducing anxiety symptoms and easing migraines and headaches. It also helps the body to absorb calcium from other foods, is heart healthy and reduces PMT symptoms.
- POTASSIUM – Potassium helps to lower blood pressure, enhances power and strength in your muscles, puts electrolytes into your body (one of the reasons dates are so awesome for those in training), regulates metabolism and helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress.
6 Health Benefits Of Dates – An Ultimate Training Food
1. Perfect On A Plant Based Diet
A healthy plant based or vegan diet will require you to make sure you are eating lots of good sources of plant proteins. Plus, lots of antioxidants and nutrients, especially plant based calcium sources.
Fortunately for plant based eaters, dates are abundant in all of these due to their impressive nutritional profile and should be a staple in any plant based eating plan.
2. Heart Healthy
Medjool dates are good for your heart as both their soluble and insoluble fibre content helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. This in turn may help lower your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease.
Eaten alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise, dates may help act as a preventative measure against all of the above.
3. Bone Health
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 your nerves, muscles and heart. It is the NUMBER ONE mineral for helping to prevent osteoporosis. It is worth noting that, contrary to popular belief, there are many plant foods higher in calcium than dairy products. Their calcium is often more easily absorbed too.
As you age you need more calcium than ever because your bones will be becoming more fragile and your absorption rate will be lower. Therefore, lots of calcium rich plant foods should be of number one importance at any age if you want to keep your bones strong and healthy for life.
4. Natural Sweetener
Medjool dates are what you could call ‘Nature’s very own candy’. If you feel an craving for a sweet treat, then dates will certainly appease it, guilt free!
Dates 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 intake is healthy).
As with all things in life, they will still need to be eaten in moderation, or instead of other treats, if you don’t want to gain weight.
Antioxidants help to neutralise free radicals in the body before than can damage your cells and DNA, therefore slowing down the aging process on both the inside and out. If this damage were to be left out of control, it would more than likely lead to premature aging and degenerative disease.
6. Anti Inflammatory
Dates, along with most other plant foods, are anti inflammatory and therefore can 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 more and more of us in the modern world. It’s often due to our toxic environment and factors such as too much sugar, trans fats, alcohol, tobacco, pollution and other environmental toxins.
You can help to lower chronic inflammation by eating lots of alkaline plant foods, plus antioxidant and age defying foods. These include fruits, legumes, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts and seeds on a daily basis (you will need at least 7 portions to make a good impact).
Other Uses For Dates
Dates can be used in all sorts of baking and cooking too. Who doesn’t love a gooey date flapjack, protein or energy balls, or a fruity breakfast granola? All healthy and wholesome examples of the versatility of dates.
Check out these energy ball recipes we sourced out from YouTube. They are an easy way to batch make these treats for your week, plus they contain lots of other healthful ingredients too.