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Do dates have health benefits?

Do dates have health benefits?


Dates are the energy-dense fruit of the date palm tree. They’re a stone fruit — like plums and peaches — and have a sweet,caramel-like flavor and chewy texture.

Date palm trees likely originated in modern-day Iraq. Now, they grow throughout the world, including other parts of the Middle East and areas of North Africa, North America, and South Asia. There are many varieties, but Medjool and Deglet Noor dates are the most common.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at dates and their potential health benefits.

Dates contain a range of nutrients, but because they’re packed with sugar, the best way to eat them will depend on your unique blood sugar response.

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1. Nutritional value
Dates have many important nutrients. Below, you’ll find the nutritional breakdown and percentage daily value (DV) of a single serving of two Medjool dates.


Fat: under 0.2 grams

Protein: 0.8 g

Carbohydrates: 38 g

Fiber: 3.2 g

Total sugars: 32 g


Calcium: 30.8 milligrams, 2% DV

Magnesium: 26 mg, 6% DV

Potassium: 334 mg, 8% DV

Copper: 0.2 mg, 20% DV

Iron: 0.4 mg, 2% DV

Vitamin B6: 0.12 mg, 8% DV

2. Fiber content
Fiber plays many roles in the body, and it brings some important health benefits, such as:

improving gut health and promoting regular bowel movements

promoting healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels

improving blood sugar control

protecting against some cancers

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that women eat at least 25 g of fiber a day and men at least 35 g a day.

A serving of two Medjool dates provides 3.2 g of dietary fiber.

Most of the fiber in dates is insoluble fiber, the type that doesn’t dissolve in water. Insoluble fiber helps food move through your body and can help prevent constipation.

3. Polyphenols
Polyphenols are a group of compounds in plants that help protect the plant from damage.

When you eat them, they can benefit your health. Scientists have identified over 8,000 polyphenols, and they may have a wide variety of health benefits. These include:

improving blood sugar control

lowering heart disease risk

protecting your skin

lowering cancer risk

promoting good gut health

supporting cognitive function

Dates contain many types of polyphenols, such as phenolic acids and flavonoids.

4. Digestive health
Dates may help prevent constipation due to their fiber content, as fiber promotes gut health and regular bowel movements.

In one small study, researchers looked at the effects of eating dates for 21 days.

They found that, compared with a control group, the participants who ate dates had more frequent bowel movements but no diarrhea.

Are dates good for you?
Dates are an energy-dense food, so they can be a good addition to your diet if you eat them in the right way for your body.

While they contain fiber and important micronutrients, dates also have high amounts of sugar. For some people, eating sugar-dense foods can lead to steep increases in blood sugar levels.

Blood sugar fluctuations are normal, but having high blood sugar levels frequently isn’t good for your long-term health.

In the short term, these blood sugar spikes (and the crashes that follow for some people) can cause you to feel hungry, tired, and irritable. Over long periods, they can lead to chronic health conditions.

But the sugar in dates doesn’t mean you have to avoid them. Eating dates alongside sources of fats, protein, or fiber can help prevent big blood sugar fluctuations.

You might try tossing some chopped dates into a salad with lentils, or eating them with oats or nuts.

If you’re looking for fruit alternatives to dates — apples, pears, cherries, peaches, and berries are all good sources of fiber and other nutrients.



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