The Health Benefits of Dates

We've rounded up 10 reasons to start eating the sweet fruits that are brimming with various nutrients, fibre and antioxidants.

Fat-free, cholesterol-free and packed with fibre, dates are full of much-needed nutrients, vitamins, minerals and energy to help you stay fit and healthy. Here are 10 reasons to start munching on the delicious, dry fruits 

  1. The simple sugars in dates like fructose and dextrose replenish energy and revitalise the body instantly.
     
  2. Dates are rich in dietary fibre, which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut. Additionally, the fibre works as a laxative, so it helps to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time. Plus it binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.
     
  3. The fruit of paradise contains health benefiting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins. Tannins are beneficial as they possess anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-haemorrhagic (prevent easy bleeding tendencies) properties.
     
  4. Dates are moderate sources of vitamin A, which is renowned for having antioxidant properties. Plus it is essential for vision and is helpful in maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Fruits naturally rich in vitamin A also fight against lung and oral cavity cancers.
     
  5. The eastern delight contains antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin. These antioxidants apparently have the ability to protect cells and other structures in the body from harmful effects of oxygen-free radicals. So eating dates could offer some protection from colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreatic cancers.
     
  6. Zea-xanthin is an important dietary carotenoid that is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea. Found in dates, it is believed to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions in that region, offering protection against age-related macular degeneration, particularly with elderly people.
     
  7. Dates are an excellent source of iron, which is a component of haemoglobin inside the red blood cells that determine the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
     
  8. The potassium found in dates is an important component of cell and body fluids that help controlling heart rate and blood pressure. So the fruit, which is the product of the date palm, offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
     
  9. Cultivated since approximately 6000 B.C, these fruits are also rich in calcium, manganese, copper and magnesium. The important mineral calcium is an essential constituent of bone and teeth and required by the body for muscle contraction, blood clotting and nerve impulse conduction. The body uses manganese as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, while copper is needed for the production of red blood cells. Magnesium is essential for bone growth.
     
  10. Dates have adequate levels of the B-complex group of vitamins as well as vitamin K. They contain very good amounts of pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. These vitamins help the body metabolise carbohydrates, protein and fats. Vitamin K is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood as well as in bone metabolism.

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