Since about 4000 B.C., man has adored dates. They were, and are still considered an essential food in many parts of the world, including the Middle East. In fact, dates are believed to have helped the Bedouin culture ( a nomadic people group) thrive. That’s because the date is one of the few foods that can survive in a harsh, desert environment. But the date is not only a hearty fruit, it’s rich in critical nutrients. If you don’t already have this tasty – and some would say addictive – fruit as part of your diet, you should.

A Wide Variety of Dates

There are a lot of different kinds of dates. Two of the best-known varieties of the fruit are the Ajwa date and Medjool date, but there are many others. They include:

· Barhi –

The amber-colored Barhi date has a balanced sweetness, and has a thicker skin than most other dates.

· Halawy –

While most dates are sweet, the Halawy variety of the fruit is sweeter than most others. These dates are also smaller.

· Migraf –

Migraf dates, on the other hand, are larger than most other versions of dates. They are known for their golden color, as well as their size.

Filled With Important Nutrients

Dates do contain a great deal of sugar. While you may not want to eat a lot of them at once, you should make it a point to incorporate them into your diet on a regular basis (perhaps one or two per day).

Incredible Health Benefits of Dates

No matter what your favorite variety of date may be, this fruit can provide you with a wide range of health benefits. Here are some of the most important ones:

Antioxidant benefits –

A study was performed to determine what varieties of dates provided antioxidant benefits, and researchers found that Fard, Khala, and Khasab sun-dried dates were particularly high in anthocyanin and carotenoids – two very important antioxidants.1 Foods that are high in antioxidants can help protect us from many kinds of health issues.

Blood pressure management –

Dates are high in magnesium, a nutrient that helps relax blood vessels and, as a result, helps to maintain healthy blood pressure. But magnesium provides many other benefits as well. For example, it helps transport other minerals (namely calcium and potassium) throughout the body, helps develop strong bones, and also helps produce the energy our bodies need.2

Brain health –

Researchers conducting a study on the benefits of vitamin B6 analyzed several clinical trials.3 They found that the vitamin could help improve the brain’s performance. Just one Medjool date contains 3 percent of the daily B6 recommended.

Digestive health –

Dates are also high in both types of fiber that are vital to human health, insoluble and soluble fiber. Fiber is critical to the digestive system, helping to ensure that waste materials move through the gastrointestinal tract at the right speed. If food moves through our bodies too slowly, we’ll be at a higher risk of becoming constipated. But if it moves too fast, our bodies won’t have enough time to properly absorb all the nutrients we need.

Muscle health –

Potassium plays an important role in helping make sure the muscles work as they should. People who have a potassium deficiency are at a higher risk of stroke and high blood pressure. They also have an increased chance of developing osteoporosis, a condition that results in brittle bones.5

Childbirth Benefits

Pregnant women who participated in a study and ate dates for 30 days before giving birth had less of a risk of labor induction.6 This is an important step in ensuring the delivery is as safe as possible.

The Importance of Fiber

In addition to helping ensure the efficient transportation of waste materials through the digestive system, fiber also helps supply food to the beneficial microbes that are in the gastrointestinal tract, or “gut.”

Some bacteria and yeasts are bad for us, of course, but there are a great many that are actually good for us. These “probiotic” microbes help ensure that our digestive system functions properly. If there are too many bad microbes in the gut, that can lead to a lot of digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea.

Dates and other fruits that are full of fiber give the “good guys” the energy they need to do battle with the harmful microbes.

Ways to Enjoy Dates

This incredible fruit tastes great straight from the tree, but the versatile date can be used in a nearly limitless variety of ways. For example, you can chop them up and include them in a cookie, bread, or muffin recipe. You can also sprinkle them into a salad, for a sweet burst of flavor. Speaking of sweet, steamed date pudding is a wonderful dessert. And dates are fantastic stuffed with almonds and pistachios too.

As with any new food you’re thinking of adding to your diet, stay on the safe side and have a talk with your doctor first. But when you get the OK, feel free to enjoy not only the flavorful taste of the date fruit, but also the health benefits you’ll receive.

For more helpful articles follow the links below:

10 Lifestyle Habits Destroying Good Bacteria in Your Body

5 Ways to Improve Your Digestive Microflora (and boost your health!)

Sources:

1.http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf050578y

2.https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/key-minerals-to-help-control-blood-pressure

3.http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/411489

4.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19903755

5.http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-dates-4386.html

6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989