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A handful of dates not only make a nice yummy snack, but also benefit you with various nutrients present in it. Dates are fruits of date palm tree (botanical name Phoenix dactylifera. Though the origin of cultivation of this tree is not clear, the desert regions of Africa are considered to be its native place. The fruit is a "drupe" in which the seed is surrounded by a hardened endocarp, which is further covered by a fleshy exocarp. The fruits are dark brown in color and are consumed either as snacks or are used as ingredients in desert recipes. These dates have been part of the meals consumed in Middle East countries for quite a long period of time.

Nutritional Value

Dates are low in saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium and high in vitamins and important minerals. They are also popular for being high in dietary fibers. One and a half cup of dates contain almost 7 grams of dietary fibers. They also contain important vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid. All these vitamins are necessary to boost various body processes. The list of minerals, that are found in dates is quite big which includes manganese, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, selenium, etc. Each of these minerals benefit the body in different ways. Moreover, dates are also rich in different kinds of amino acids. They are good sources of natural sugars and antioxidants. All the nutrients present in dates are helpful to the human body. One can soak dates overnight in water or boil them in milk for consumption. The table given below provides information about the amount of various nutrients present in one single date which is equal to 24 grams.

Main Nutrients

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Carbohydrates 18 g 6%
Protein 0.4 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 g 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g 6%

Vitamins and Minerals

Type of Nutrient Nutrient Quantity %DV
Vitamins Vitamin A 35.8IU 1%
Vitamin K 0.6mcg 1%
Niacin 0.4mg 2%
Vitamin B6 0.1mg 3%
Folate 3.6mcg 1%
Minerals Calcium 15.4mg 2%
Iron 0.2mg 1%
Magnesium 13.0mg 3%
Phosphorus 14.9mg 1%
Potassium 167mg 5%
Sodium 0.2mg 0%
Zinc 0.1mg 1%
Copper 0.1mg 4%
Manganese 0.1mg 4%

Health Benefits

The health benefits of dates are innumerable. They are some of the richest sources of dietary fibers. Fiber intake helps in intoxication, maintaining low cholesterol level and blood sugar, and avoiding digestive system problems. Since they are natural laxatives, they make some of the best natural remedies for constipation. They are also helpful in reducing gastric problems like acidity. The combination of dates and milk is one of the most nutritious drink for both adults and children. They make excellent sources for gaining instant energy, due to their high carbohydrate content.

As discussed earlier, dates are known for their high mineral content. Potassium is a vital mineral present in them which is needed by the body to regulate the blood pressure. It also helps to eliminate sodium content from the body. Thus, dates are useful for people who have high blood pressure. Calcium and magnesium are necessary to maintain healthy bones, while iron plays an important role in production of red blood cells. Being rich in antioxidants, dates are immune system boosters. All the vitamins found in dates are useful for maintaining overall health of the body. And lastly, dates have very low sodium, fat, and cholesterol content which makes them safe for consumption.