Nutritional Information for Dates
Dates are high in naturally occurring sugars, but are still beneficial for health. Research has found that despite their high sugar content, dates are a low glycemic food—meaning they won’t spike blood sugar levels like table sugar. The low glycemic response may be attributed to the fiber found in the dates. Unlike refined table sugar, dates are packed with fiber, phytonutrients, and minerals. So when picking a sweetener, choose dates! You can find date sugar in the store. It is literally just pulverized dried dates, a whole food.
Benefits of Dates
Cancer Prevention Benefits
Though dates have been widely used for medicinal properties and a staple food around the world for centuries, little research has been done on humans to explore their health benefits. Dates contain cancer fighting components, such as fiber and phytonutrients, as well as carotenoids, phytosterols, polyphenols, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, and low amounts of anthocyanins.
In a study, dates, among other plant-based foods like beans, lentils and peas, tomatoes, and raisin were all found to decrease prostate cancer risk. To date, not much more research has been published specifically on the benefits of dates and prostate cancer.
A randomized control study found that eating up to 7 dates per day helped improve the bowel movements and stool frequency of participants, which may help reduce risk of colon cancer.
Men's Health Benefits
After eating a ½ cup of dates (about 50 g of carbohydrates) of 5 different varieties of dates, normal, healthy participants and participants with type 2 diabetes did not experience a high increase in blood sugar response following consumption. The authors concluded that dates are a low glycemic food and may have benefits for people with diabetes.
Dates can be included in a balanced diet, and makes a great replacer in recipes for refined sugars, like brown sugar, white sugar, agave, maple syrup, honey, and more! Dates are packed with the most nutrients when compared to any other sweetener on the market.
Ways to Use Dates
- Make date paste by blending pitted dates with water. Can be used replace sugar in almost any recipe!
- Chop and remove the pits from the date. Add to oatmeal, smoothies, or salads to sweeten them naturally.
- Enjoy on their own.
- Use to make healthy energy bites by blending together pitted dates, oat flour, and cashews (or hemp seeds). Add spices, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or cocoa powder.
- Use to make healthy pie fillings by blending pitted dates with cashews, pumpkin pie filling, and spices or cashews, bananas, and cinnamon.
Resources for Dates
American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org
Nutrition Facts: www.NutritionFacts.org
Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org
USDA Nutrient Database: Dates
- Rock W, Rosenblat M, Borochov-Neori H, et al. Effects of date ( Phoenix dactylifera L., Medjool or Hallawi Variety) consumption by healthy subjects on serum glucose and lipid levels and on serum oxidative status: a pilot study. J Agric Food Chem. 2009;57(17):8010-7.
- Al-Shahib W, Marshall RJ. The fruit of the date palm: its possible use as the best food for the future? Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2003;54(4):247-59.
- Al-Farsi MA, Lee CY. Nutritional and functional properties of dates: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2008;48(10):877-87.
- Vayalil PK. Date fruits (Phoenix dactylifera Linn): an emerging medicinal food. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2012;52(3):249-71.
- Mills PK, Beeson WL, Phillips RL, Fraser GE. Cohort study of diet, lifestyle, and prostate cancer in Adventist men. Cancer. 1989;64(3):598-604.
- Eid N, Osmanova H, Natchez C, et al. Impact of palm date consumption on microbiota growth and large intestinal health: a randomised, controlled, cross-over, human intervention study. Br J Nutr. 2015;114(8):1226-36.
- Alkaabi JM, Al-Dabbagh B, Ahmad S, et al. Glycemic indices of five varieties of dates in healthy and diabetic subjects. Nutr J. 2011;10:59.