(NaturalHealth365) Ever wonder about the health benefits of dates? Since antiquity, dates have been revered as a healing food, with references to their beneficial effects appearing in both the Bible and the Koran.
Now scientific research validates this traditional wisdom – it turns out that this tasty fruit is truly a medicinal food, offering solutions to some very common health problems. Let’s take a closer look.
Improve your digestive system with the benefits of dates
The American Cancer Society recommends adults eat between 20 and 35 grams per day. With a mere four organic dates providing 6.7 grams of fiber, these sweet fruits offer a very palatable way to reach this daily allowance.
Because of this whopping fiber content, dates are an effective natural remedy for constipation. You can maximize their effects by soaking them in water overnight and eating them in the morning. Surprisingly, dates can also alleviate diarrhea, as their high levels of soluble fiber and potassium provide bulk to bowel movements.
Even more impressive: consistent intake of dates helps to inhibit the growth of pathogens in the digestive tract, while enhancing the growth of beneficial bacteria. Recent research has shown that certain strains of the H. pylori bacteria have been linked with stomach cancer. In addition, their high levels of amino acids stimulate digestion and elimination, keeping carcinogenic toxins moving on a pathway of out the body.
Dates benefit the heart and provide a quick burst of healthy energy
Dates are potassium-packed, with four dates providing an impressive 696 milligrams. This means they support healthy blood pressure and protect against stroke. They also reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol, a contributor to cardiovascular disease.
Bursting with natural sugars, organic dates can provide a healthy energy boost – a great alternative to a candy bar. They also contribute substantial amounts of the essential mineral iron, and provide a drug-free way to help ward off the fatigue and sluggishness associated with anemia.
Their natural sweetness, intense flavor and satisfying consistency create a feeling of satiety, a natural curb to overeating. Although dates are not a low-calorie fruit – four dates provide a hefty 277 calories –their ability to satiate hunger and ease cravings, along with their fabulous nutritional pedigree, takes them out of the realm of “fattening” foods.
Dates have some truly surprising reproductive system benefits
In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who ate 6 dates a day for 4 weeks prior to their delivery date had improved cervical dilation, less damage to membranes, had shorter labor times and required less drugs.
And, there is evidence to suggest that organic dates are a natural aphrodisiac, capable of increasing sexual endurance and reducing sterility. A 2006 animal study showed that the flavonoid content of dates, along with their high estradiol levels, increased sperm count and motility – while increasing testes size and weight.
Dates seem tailor-made for aging baby boomers
Some of the conditions that seem to plague people as they age – macular degeneration, night blindness, constipation and osteoporosis, to name a few – can be addressed by eating dates. Of course, it doesn’t matter if you are an elite athlete or wheelchair-bound; people of all ages can benefit from these miraculous fruits.
Organic dates have high levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthan, which help to prevent age-related macular degeneration. Many health professionals maintain that they can help with night blindness – a traditional use for tens of thousands of years.
Rich in selenium, manganese, copper and magnesium, dates are a superfood when it comes to providing minerals to support bone health and help fight osteoporosis. High in organic sulfur, dates can also reduce seasonal allergies – which can worsen with age. It should be noted that seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, affects 23 million people in the United States alone.
Simply put, it can be difficult to think of a body system that dates don’t benefit!
Choosing the best dates plus a delicious recipe
Buy only organic dates. If buying fresh dates, opt for plump ones with unbroken skin, and reject any with blemishes, mold or black mildew spots. Wash them thoroughly before eating, as their sticky surface can attract bacteria, dust and dirt. You can store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to six months, and freeze them for up to a year.
Dates can be blended into your favorite recipe for homemade almond or cashew milk.
Editors note: My favorite cashew milk recipe is included below – enjoy!
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cup organic, raw cashews*
- 3-4 organic dates
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Blend until smooth – store in a glass jar and it should last about 2-3 days. (I use this milk as a base for my smoothie)
What’s my favorite smoothie? (I’m glad you asked)
Use 8 oz. of cashew milk
1-1 ½ scoops Grazing Goat Whey Protein powder
2 Tbsp. Strawberry powder
6-8 ice cubes
It’s so delicious and reminds me of a strawberry milk shake.
*Soak the cashews, in glass bowel, for 2 hours. Drain and discard the soaking water. (do not use this water to make the milk) Rinse the cashews several times before blending.