With a questionable appearance and an unassuming name, dates aren’t typically the first thing someone these days will reach for when they’re looking for a snack. That hasn’t always been true, though. In fact, for centuries dates had been the go to for a quick pick me up, thanks to their high levels of natural, easily digestible sugars. In fact, they’re even known to be consumes as a meal!
Dates are high in digestion-friendly dietary fiber and contain the a spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals magnesium, copper, manganese, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. Even more, they contain vitamins A, K and potassium. Not bad for a squishy, wrinkly drupe, right?
Dates, Dates, They’re Good for Your…
Eating dates has been linked to improved health, with studies showing the antioxidants and minerals in the fruit:
- May help protect against free radical damage
- May help prevent stroke
- May help prevent coronary heart disease
- May help prevent the development of colon, prostate, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancers
One of our favorite benefits shown to occur from eating dates has to do with pregnancy and delivery. Some studies have shown that women who consume dates throughout pregnancy are less likely to need medication to induce delivery. The same is shown for women who consume dates in the last four weeks of pregnancy. Labors were also shown to be shorter, less, well, laborious. We even have a special #MotherCulture-approved Pregnancy Supporting Kefir Smoothie that features the delectable drupe!
Dates: They Keep Things Moving
We know that fiber is a friend of the digestive tract, and with 12 grams per cup, dates sure can get the job done. They do a lot for digestion by promoting regularity and keeping unpleasant symptoms, like diarrhea and colitis, at bay. Studies have linked dates to a decreased risk of painful hemorrhoids and even colon cancer.
Eat Dates and Be Well
While we love dates simply as two bite snacks, they’re also incredible in baked goods, smoothies, energy bites and even main dishes. If you’re looking to reduce your intake of refined sugar, try using dates instead, like in this recipe for Vanilla Coconut Truffles or in this hearty Date Nut Bread (chased with a glass of kefir and spread with Farmer Cheese? Triple yum!). For something more savory, chop them up and add them to a fresh salad, like this Sweet and Savory Brussels Sprouts Salad or as a dressing for this Fig, Pear, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad. Finally, this hearty, spicy Paleo Granola is sweetened with dates and yearns for nothing more than to be topped with creamy, tangy Lifeway Kefir. Really, the possibilities are endless! Just remember to enjoy in moderation. And watch out for pits!