Are Dates Healthy? Why You Should Add Dates to Your Diet

Are dates healthy or are they just another form of sugar? These health benefits show how dates can be a well-rounded food to help you stay healthy.

are dates healthy - dried dates

Are dates healthy or are they just another form of sugar?

Dates are often used as alternative sweeteners because of their natural sweetness. It turns out that these sweet foods contain more than just carbohydrates and sugars: they are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other health-promoting nutrients that can help you stay healthy. Learn about the health benefits of dates and the many reasons you might want to eat dates below.

Why Are Dates Healthy?

Dates contain a lot of nutrients that help to keep your body healthy. Dates are a good source of nutrients like:

  • Vitamins (like vitamin C, vitamin E, and B vitamins)
  • Minerals (like potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, copper, and magnesium)
  • Carotenoids
  • Fiber
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytosterols

The health benefits of dates include antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory effects in the body, which may make them helpful in controlling a variety of health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

Health Benefits of Dates

  1. Dates are heart-healthy. Eating dates can help to control risk factors for heart disease like triglyceride, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, largely due to the high amount of dietary fiber. In one study, 100 g, or about 5 dates, per day for four weeks decreased triglyceride levels by between 8% and 15%. Dates may also help control blood pressure and may prevent the buildup of plaque in arteries.
  2. Dates may help manage diabetes. Although the sweetness of dates may make you think they aren’t good for people with diabetes, dates can actually be beneficial for diabetes care. They don’t have a very high glycemic index, which means they won’t raise your blood sugar and help manage diabetes, are full of fiber, and are antioxidant-rich foods, all factors that help with diabetes treatment.
  1. Dates may help fight cancer. Many of the qualities of dates make them a good cancer-fighting tool. They may help reduce the risk of precancerous colorectal polyps, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
  1. Dates can help fight infection.As they have strong antibacterial and antifungal properties, dates can help the body to fight off infection to stay healthy.

Adding Dates to your Diet

Adding a few dates to your regular diet isn’t an unhealthy choice. If you were wondering, “are dates healthy?” the list above will help convince you that dates can be a good part of a healthy diet.

Dates can be used as sweeteners in recipes (for things like energy balls, pie crusts, raw treats, and more). You might also try chopping dates and adding them to your oatmeal in the morning, blending them into smoothies, stuffing them with nutritious fillings like nuts, or adding them to trail mix.

Originally published in 2016, this post has been updated.

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UHN Staff

University Health News is produced by the award-winning editors and authors of Belvoir Media Group’s Health & Wellness Division. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., with editorial offices in Florida, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, … Read More

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