Dates are delicious fruits, enjoyed by all since antiquity. They are potent nutritive, aphrodisiac, tonic, laxative fruits. When it comes to the number of minerals, vitamins, and health-benefiting phytonutrients in dates, suffice it to say there are a lot of them. Dates benefits are numerous.
In this article we’ll have a look at how this amazing fruit helps the body to heal naturally due to approximately over a dozen of its beneficial effects. Along with this, keep reading for a delicious and yummy Date Pudding (Khajur Halwa) recipe. It’s sweet, full of dates benefits and loved by all.
Here’s a rundown of what we’ll cover in this article.
Dates Benefits: Ayurvedic Properties
Dates Benefits: Nutritional Values
Dates Benefits: White Sugar Replacement
How To Eat Dates
Sugarless Date Pudding Recipe (Khajur Halwa)
Dates Benefits: Ayurvedic Properties
Dates or Khajur (Phoenix dactylifera) are sweet (Madhur) and astringent (Kashaya) in taste. Its properties are heavy (Guru) and unctuous (Snigdha). It is cool in potency (sheet virya) and has a sweet post digestive effect (Madhur vipaka).1
Dates are considered to be strength and immunity promoting (Balya). They act as a cardiac tonic (Hridya) and balance all the doshas (Kaphhara, Pittahara, Vatahara). They are aphrodisiacs (Vrishya), improve sperm quantity and quality (Shukral), and nourish the body (Tarpana).
They are indicated in conditions such as bloating or gaseous distention (Koshtagata vayunashaka), excessive hunger (Kshudha), fatigue (Shramhara), burning sensation (Daha), hiccups (Hikka), Fever (Jwar), cough (Kasa), diabetes (Prameha), bleeding disorders (Raktapitta), respiratory disorders (Swash), excessive thirst (Trishna), any injury (Abhighat), tastelessness (Vairasya), and intoxication (madatyaya).2
According to the ancient Ayurvedic sage Charaka, apart from the above actions it is also useful in debilitating conditions (Kshaya) and aids in weight gain (mamsavardhaka).3
Dates Benefits: Nutritional Values
According to the USDA, nutritional values of dates (the medjool variety) per 100 grams are as follows.4
Principle Nutrient Value, Percentage of RDA
Energy 277 Kcal, 14%
Carbohydrate 74.97g, 58 %
Proteins 1.81g, 3 %
Total fat 0.15 g, 1 %
Cholesterol 0 mg, 0 %
Dietary fibre 6.7 gm, 18 %
Folate 15 µg, 4 %
Niacin 1.610 mg, 10 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.805 mg, 16 %
Pyridoxine 0.249 mg, 19 %
Riboflavin 0.060 mg, 4.5 %
Thiamine 0.050 mg, 4 %
Vit A 149 IU, 5 %
Vit C 0 mg, 0 %
Vit K 2.7µg, 2 %
Sodium 1 mg, 0 %
Potassium 696 mg, 16
Calcium 64 mg, 6.5 %
Copper 0.362 mg, 40 %
Iron 0.90 mg, 11 %
Magnesium 54 mg, 13 %
Manganese 0.296 mg, 13 %
Phosphorus 62 mg, 9 %
Zinc 0.44 mg, 4 %
Carotene –ß 89 µg
Crypto-xanthine- ß 0 µg
Lutein zeaxanthin 23 µg
Dates Benefits: White Sugar Replacement
Dates are the perfect swap for sugar. Here is a list of several science-backed benefits of having dates instead of white sugar. When it comes to satisfying a sweet tooth, consider dates.
1. Prevention And Control Of Diabetes Mellitus
Research concluded that there is a direct link between increased sugar consumption in food and increased rate of diabetes. Dates make a healthy substitute for white sugar due to the nutrients, fiber and antioxidants they provide. They’re full of natural sugar, yet they’re low on the glycemic index. This means, they don’t take your blood sugar for a wild ride like refined sugar does.
One study found that consumption of dates resulted in a significant reduction in postprandial glucose excursions. The research concluded that, in spite of having high sugar content, date consumption had beneficial effects on serum triacylglycerol and oxidative stress and did not worsen serum glucose and lipid / lipoprotein patterns. 5
In addition, date seed extract has a hypoglycemic effect. It is observed that when date fruit is given in combination with insulin, blood glucose levels decrease significantly toward normal as compared to the effect of insulin administered as a single drug for treatment of diabetes.6
Dates are loaded with fiber so they have a positive effect on the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. They support weight reduction, improve disturbances of carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and help in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.7
Dates provide protection against deterioration of the peripheral nerve due to its anti-oxidative property. That’s how they have a preventative approach towards peripheral diabetic neuropathy.8 In addition, dates are loaded with abundant vitamins and
minerals which are beneficial for people with diabetes.
Some of the vitamins present in dates and their action in cases of diabetes are given here.
Vitamin A helps retain your eyesight by fighting against diabetic retinopathy.
Vitamin B1 protects against nerve damage.
Vitamin B2 improves your body’s metabolism.
Vitamin B6 helps treat diabetic neuropathy.
Vitamin B5 prevents burning sensations in the feet.
Vitamin K activates proteins and calcium which help in clotting of the blood.
Manganese regulates your body’s blood sugar levels.
Copper reduces many biochemical problems like excessive tissue oxidation and protein damaging glycation.
Magnesium prevents chances of getting type 2 diabetes.
2. Promotes Heart Health
Due to the richness in magnesium and potassium, dates significantly reduce blood pressure and helps prevent the chances of stroke. One study showed that healthy women who eat around 3,200 mg of potassium a day have a 21 percent lower risk of stroke.9 High levels of triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease. According to another study, the consumption of dates reduced blood triglyceride levels and showed a positive impact on heart muscles by 8 percent among participants.10 Dates have significantly higher anti-atherogenic potency. They inhibit LDL oxidation, and stimulate cholesterol removal from macrophages. They quite efficiently reduce cholesterol naturally, particularly LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.11
3. Promotes Bone Health
Dates are full of essential minerals like selenium, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. These are required to keep bones healthy and strong and help prevent painful debilitating condition like osteoporosis.12
4. A Potential Cancer Preventive
Research shows that regular intake of dates as a staple food prevents the chances of cancer.13 Due to the presence of high magnesium and selenium content it calms inflammation. Antioxidants present in dates help in fighting free radicals and oxidation of cells. Thereby consumption of dates is capable in reducing colon cancer risk.14
5. Cures Sexual Weakness
Date palm pollen has high levels of oestradiol and flavonoid components which seems to cure male infertility by improving sperm count, motility, morphology, and DNA quality with a concomitant increase in the weights of testis and epididymis. They are a natural aphrodisiac, and thus can increase sexual stamina.15
6. Facilitates Labor
Dates potentially promote and ease late-term labor in pregnant women. It was seen in a research study that the consumption of dates in the last four weeks before labor significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and produced a more favorable delivery outcome.16
7. Has Gastro-Protective Effects
Dates have a soothing effect on digestive system. It was seen in one study that dates are effective in ameliorating the severity of gastric ulceration, mitigating the ethanol-induced increase in histamine and gastrin concentrations, and the decrease in mucin gastric levels.
This gastro-protective action of date extracts is due to its anti-oxidant action. Moreover, one study found that dates are comparably more effective in treating gastric ulcer to the standard drug lansoprazole.17
8. Facilitates Easy Bowel Movements
More fiber aids in digestion by softening and increasing the weight and size of your stool. Bulkier stools are easier to pass and can prevent constipation. Fiber also keeps you full for longer because it slows down the emptying of the stomach. Dates act as very effective laxatives. They have high level of soluble fiber, which is essential in promoting healthy bowel movements and the comfortable passage of food through the intestinal tract, which can relieve the symptoms of constipation.18
9. Prevents And Cures Anemia
Iron is the key component of hemoglobin in RBC and its deficiency results in Iron Deficiency Anemia. Dates have significant amounts of iron. They promote strength and reduce the feeling of fatigue associated with anemia. A research study conducted on children suffering from iron deficiency anaemia found that intake of black dates resulted in increase in their hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cell, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, serum iron, serum ferritin and transferrin saturation levels.19
10. Boosts Energy
Dates are an almost ideal food, providing a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits. They are a good source of energy, due to their high natural sugar content like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. These sugars can be easily processed and utilized by the body for an instant burst of energy when needed.20
11. Improves Brain Activity, Strengthens Nervous System
Date palm fruits provide protection against inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain.21 Potassium is one of the prime ingredients in promoting a healthy and responsive nervous system and it also improves the speed and alertness of brain activity.
The vitamins present in dates make it an ideal boost to the nervous system health and functionality.22 Dates are helpful for lowering the inflammatory marker interleukin 6 (IL-6) in the brain which is responsible for causing Alzheimer’s disease.23 Apart from this, a diet rich in dates improves memory, learning ability, and has beneficial effects in lowering the risk, delaying the onset or slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.24
Regular consumption of these fruits is helpful in reducing the activity of amyloid beta proteins which can form plaques in
the blood vessels and outside the neurons of the brain leading to neural death. Their consumption is also associated with lower risk of neurodegenerative disorders and better cognitive performance in elderly people.25
12. Aids In Postmenopausal Conditions
As dates are rich in magnesium, they lower the concentrations of certain markers of systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in postmenopausal women.26 Research studies concluded that an anti-inflammatory diet helped in reducing the loss of bone mineral density in some postmenopausal women. As dates are rich in magnesium which is anti-inflammatory, they potentially prevent osteoporosis problems.27
13. Possess Anti-Aging Effects
Dates are rich in antioxidants which fight free radicals in our body, stabilizes them and prevents them from causing damage. Regular and moderate consumption of dates is very effective for reducing fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and dark spots and thus prevents premature aging. Dates are a good source of vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid and this makes them beneficial for repairing damaged skin cells.
How To Eat Dates
So now you’re probably wondering how to eat dates. Fresh dates can be taken raw or with a glass of milk. Having 2-3 raw dates followed by one glass of milk daily is a perfect combination. In the case of dry dates, soak them in water overnight and take them in the morning on an empty stomach.
Sugarless Date Pudding Recipe (Khajur Halwa)
This easy recipe is for all the dessert lovers out there. It’s one great way to eat dates. You can also add dates to a smoothie. Follow the instructions below to whip up a rich nutritious date pudding recipe at home, or share your favorite way to eat dates in the comments below.
1 cup (250 grams) fresh dates, deseeded and coarsely grounded
1/2 cup split Bengal gram (chana dal)
4 cups milk
2 Tbsp clarified butter (desi ghee)
1 Tbsp chopped almonds
chopped pistachios for garnishing
1. Soak the split Bengal gram (chana dal) for 6 hours.
2. Heat a deep, non-stick pan over a low flame. Add half a cup of Bengal gram with a little water. Cover and cook until soft. Alternatively you can take soaked Bengal gram and boil it in a pressure cooker with 1/2 cup water for up to one whistle. After the whistle blows, cook it on a low flame for two minutes. Turn off the flame once the it boils well.
3. Let cool and grind the boiled Bengal gram to a paste, without adding water.
4. Next take a pan and heat 2 Tbsp of clarified butter (desi ghee). Add the ground Bengal gram paste. Stir continuously and roast over a low flame until it turns brown and delivers a fragrance. Then take the roasted paste into a separate bowl.
4. In another non-stick pan, boil the milk over a low flame and continue stirring until it slightly thickens.
5. Add the roasted Bengal gram paste to the milk and mix well. Add the ground dates and almonds and mix well. Cook until it
becomes thick and starts to lift off the corner of the pan. Then turn off the flame. Garnish with pistachios. You can also serve this chilled.
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3. Kashinath Pandey,Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana chapter 27 verse 127, Chowkhambha Bharti Academy,2005.
4. United States National Nutrient Database For Standard Reference.
5. Rock W, 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 Sep 9;57(17):8010-7. doi: 10.1021/jf901559a.
6. Ahmed F. El-Fouhil, Hypoglycaemic effect of an extract from date seeds on diabetic rats Saudi Med J 2010; Vol. 31 (7).
7. Kaline K, The importance and effect of dietary fiber in diabetes prevention with particular consideration of whole grain products, Horm Metab Res. 2007 Sep;39(9):687-93.
8. Nasser Zangiabadi,Date Fruit Extract Is a Neuroprotective Agent in Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats: A Multimodal Analysis Oxidative Medicine and Cellular LongevityVolume 2011 (2011), Article ID 976948, page 9.
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11. Borochov-Neori H,Date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) fruit soluble phenolics composition and anti-atherogenic properties in nine Israeli varieties. J Agric Food Chem. 2013 May 8;61(18):4278-86. doi: 10.1021/jf400782v. Epub 2013 Apr 25.
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13. Bibi.R.Yasin,Date (Phoenix dactylifera) Polyphenolics and Other Bioactive Compounds: A Traditional Islamic Remedy’s Potential in Prevention of Cell Damage, Cancer Therapeutics and Beyond . Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Dec; 16(12): 30075–30090. Published online 2015 Dec 17. doi: 10.3390/ijms161226210 PMCID: PMC4691153 PMID: 26694370.
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24. Selvaraju Subash Diet rich in date palm fruits improves memory, learning and reduces beta amyloid in transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2015 Apr-Jun; 6(2): 111–120.doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.159073PMCID: PMC4484046PMID: 26167001.
25. Musthafa Mohamed Essa, Beneficial effects of date palm fruits on neurodegenerative diseases Neural Regen Res. 2016 Jul; 11(7): 1071–1072.doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.187032,PMCID: PMC4994443,PMID: 27630684
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27. Tonya Orchard Dietary Inflammatory Index, Bone Mineral Density, and Risk of Fracture in Postmenopausal Women: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative, Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).