Health benefits of dates
- Wonderfully delicious, dates are one of the most popular fruits packed with an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are required for normal growth, development and overall well-being.
- Fresh dates compose of soft, easily digestible flesh and simple sugars like fructose and dextrose. When eaten, they replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly.
- The fruit is rich in dietary fibre, which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut. Additionally, the fibre works as a bulk laxative. It, thus, helps to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time and as well as binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.
- They contain health-benefiting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins. Tannins are known to possess anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic (prevent easy bleeding tendencies) properties.
- They are moderate sources of vitamin-A (contains 149 IU per 100 g), which is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. Additionally, it is also required to maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- They compose antioxidant flavonoids such as ß-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are found to have the ability to protect cells and other structures in the body from the harmful effects of oxygen-free radicals. Thus, eating dates were found to offer some protection from colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
- Zea-xanthin is an important dietary carotenoid that is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea, where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions. It thus offers protection against age-related macular degeneration, especially in elderly populations.
- Dates are an excellent source of iron and contain 0.90 mg/100 g of fruits (about 11% of RDI). Iron, being a component of haemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
- Further, they are very good in potassium. 100 g contains 696 mg or 16% of daily-recommended levels of this electrolyte. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help control heart rate and blood pressure. They, thus, offer protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
- They are also rich in minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Calcium is an important mineral that is an essential constituent of bone and teeth and is required by the body for muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve impulse conduction. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells. Magnesium is essential for bone growth.
- Further, the fruit has adequate levels of the B-complex group of vitamins as well as vitamin K. It contains very good amounts of pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. These vitamins are acting as cofactors to help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Vitamin K is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood as well as in bone metabolism.