Dates, popularly known as “khajoor” in India, are the fruit of date palm trees. They are cultivated all over the world especially across tropical regions. Dates are sweet and chewy, available in soft, semi-dry, and dry varieties. Farmers harvest dates in early winter, so dates usually taste freshest at this time of year.
They have all the goodness that one needs, be it their sweet rich taste or their health benefits. They are warm and fulfilling. Dates produce heat in the body so they are generally recommended during winters.
Here are the nutritional values with major health benefits of dates that you need to endure the winter season.
1) Nutritional value (100 grams of Dates, provides the following nutrients):
Protein: 2 grams
Fats: 0.15 grams
Potassium: 20% of the RDI
Magnesium: 14% of the RDI
Copper: 18% of the RDI
calcium: 6.5% of the RDI
Manganese: 15% of the RDI
Iron: 5% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 12% of the RDI
*RDI – Reference Daily Intake
The calorie content of dates is similar to that to dried fruits like raisins and walnuts. Most of the calories come from carbs which help provide energy to the body.
Dates have a significant amount of fiber which is important for overall health. Other than that they contain many important minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. They also contain vitamins like thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin K, and riboflavin.
They are rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids. Such powerful anti-oxidants help to reduce the risk of diabetes and promote heart health.
2) Improves bone health:
Not getting enough vitamin D from sunlight in winters can deteriorate your bone health. You can surely prevent this by having dates in your diet. They are an excellent source of calcium that helps to keep bones and teeth strong.
They contain minerals like magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium which play an important role in preventing bone-related conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis.
Dates help in easing the stiffness and pain in joints which is very common in winters.
3) Improves heart health:
Dates are an incredibly heart-healthy food. Dates are high in both potassium and fiber. They help to reduce bad cholesterol which indirectly helps to lessen the risk of heart diseases. Dates also contain isoflavones that are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
There is more risk of heart attacks in winter as your body temperature drops. It is advisable to have Dates in your diet as it does not allow blockage of arteries with plaque. Dates reduce the risk of heart attack and high blood pressure. Dates are one of the many heart-healthy foods.
4) Provides Energy:
Dates are high in carbohydrates. It makes them a great source of energy for the human body. Dates can boost up your energy levels immediately when you feel lethargic or sluggish in those winter days. They also help in keeping your body warm in winters.
As a morning or evening snack, they can be your Super Food that helps you to increase your stamina levels. They are highly recommended to people who regularly exercise or stretch.
Interesting fact- Dates are widely used by the Muslim community to break their fast during the Ramzan month. It helps in providing quick energy and nutrients to the body that it requires after a long day of fast.
5) Encourages weight gain:
People are often hesitant towards foods that are high in sugar because of the calories. While Dates may have a handful of calories, they are also packed with various nutrients.
Dates can be a good rescue from your heightened appetite in winters and help you gain a healthy weight. You can use Dates accordingly in your diet to gain weight. The sugar, proteins, and other vitamins in it, help the cause. Dates are also rich in fiber which helps in weight management. This helps you gain weight that is appropriate for your body.
6) Help in improving digestion:
Dates are a rich source of fibers, both soluble and insoluble. They help to increase the secretion of digestive juices that makes absorption of food easy. Dates are great for improving bowel movements. They also reduce the risk of colon cancer.
In winter, the metabolism of the body slows down. This can lead to digestive problems. Dates are recommended in winters as they have anti-oxidative properties that stimulate metabolism.
7) Beneficial for the skin:
In winter, our skin often gets dry and harsh. Due to extremely cold air, the skin loses its natural oils.
Consuming Dates regularly in your diet will nourish your skin.
Dates help to hydrate the skin. It also keeps the moisture level in check.
The vitamin C and D in it maintain the skin's elasticity.
It also has anti-oxidant properties that help to attain youthful skin by repairing the damage caused by free radicals.
Dates prove to be an amazing example of 'warm' foods. They provide the necessary heat to the body during those chilly winter days. Moreover, they are a very versatile food and can be used as a natural sweetener in many dishes and drinks.
Although Dates are tremendously nutritious, one should be cautious while selecting them. As their surface is sticky and moist, they attract a lot of impurities. Make sure to go for chemical and pesticide-free organic dates.