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Health Benefits of Dates

Health Benefits of DatesThere are numerous health benefits of dates as this particular fruit is rich in natural fibers besides several vitamins and minerals. Before we delve further into the nutritional wealth and health benefits of dates, it may be interesting to know a little more about the basic anatomy of these fruits.

As a fruit, date is basically a 'drupe' in which an outer fleshy part (botanically called exocarp and mesocarp) surrounds a shell (the stone) of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. Date is either oval or cylindrical in shape, it is 3–7 cm long, and 2–3 cm in diameter. When unripe, it ranges from bright red to bright yellow in color as per the variety. The color darkens as the fruit becomes riper. There are many varieties of date palm cultivated especially in the Middle East and some of the popular ones include ‘Amir Hajj’, ‘Saidy’, 'Khadrawy' and 'Medjool'. Health benefits of dates are of course more than one.

Let us now look into the major health benefits of dates.

Dates are a good source of protein, dietary fiber and are rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5.and Vitamin C. The fiber supplied by a few grams of this fruit is one of the best known health benefits of dates.

The Vitamin A in dates is known to have antioxidant properties and is important for good vision. Vitamin A is also necessary to maintain healthy and glowing skin. Dates are very helpful in guarding against night blindness problems and this is one of best known health benefits of dates. Vitamin A found in dates is approx 149 IU per 100 gram of the fruit.

Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin A is known to provide resistance against lung and oral cavity cancers. For a healthy living, the American Cancer Society recommends intake of 20-35 grams of dietary fiber per day supplied through dates.

The health benefits of dates do not stop with protein, dietary fiber and vitamins. With their natural sugar content including fructose and glucose, dates are also great energy boosters. People whose jobs call for strenuous physical activities should consume dates soaked in milk for healthy carbohydrates. The best part is that dates are free from cholesterol and contain very low fat. This is one of prime health benefits of dates.

The minerals that a serving of dates provides to the body include calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium. Dates are an excellent source of iron for pregnant women who need the mineral for their own good health and the health of the baby. Calcium in date eases insomnia and helps regulate the passage of nutrients through cell walls. Deficiency of calcium can result in muscle spasms and cramps. If the deficiency continues for a long time it may even result in osteoporosis. Dates are not only rich in calcium but also a tasteful option for those who do not like to consume green leafy vegetables for the mineral.

Thanks to the multiple health benefits of dates, they can be given to all age groups. Dates can be introduced in daily diet in any form. They can be an excellent snack and are a healthy alternative to fattening desserts. While selecting dates, ensure that there is no artificial sugar coating on them. Besides the numerous health benefits of dates, another good thing about them is that they do have a long shelf life and there are no hassles in storing them effectively.
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