There are numerous foods that are considered as beneficial for cardiovascular health. But, one food is far ahead of the others and has claimed the top spot as the best food to fight against heart attack, hypertension, stroke, and cholesterol.
It’s the humble dates that have overtaken all other foods! They are loaded with nutrients that are effective in soothing many health problems, such as hypertension, strokes, cholesterol, and heart attacks. They are rich in essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They also contain vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.
Health Benefits Of Dates
Dates are excellent foods that improve the metabolism of the body as they contain many heart-healthy nutrients. Besides heart health, dates also benefit bone and digestive health. Here are the main health benefits of dates and reasons why they must be included in your diet.
1. Dates Ease Constipation
Dates are often categorized as a laxative food. For the best laxative effect of dates, soak some of them in water overnight and consume it in the morning when it becomes like a syrup. They are rich in soluble fiber that is essential in promoting healthy bowel movements and the comfortable passage of food through the intestinal tract, which can relieve symptoms of constipation.1
2. Dates Relieve Diarrhea
Ripe dates contain potassium, which is effective in controlling diarrhea. They are easy to digest, which further helps alleviate chronic diarrhea.2 The soluble fiber in dates also helps relieve diarrhea by providing bulk to the bowel movements and promoting normal, healthy functioning of the excretory system.
3. Dates Prevent Anemia
Dates are loaded with many minerals that are beneficial in preventing or curing many different health conditions. Their high levels of iron make them a perfect dietary supplement for people suffering from anemia.3 Anemia is primarily caused due to the deficiency of iron in the blood.
Dates provide the iron content that anemic patients require and also help in boosting energy and strength, while decreasing feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. Dates are especially good for pregnant women and children. Its iron content has beneficial effects on the red blood cells and hemoglobin, and promotes the flow of oxygen through the blood.
4. Dates Protect The Heart
Dates are quite helpful in keeping your heart healthy. They are a rich source of potassium, which research has shown to reduce the risk of stroke and other heart-related diseases. Moreover, they are considered as a healthy and delicious way to lower the LDL cholesterol levels in the body, which is a major contributing factor of heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.4 Consuming dates at least twice a week can improve the overall health of the heart. Dates are also effective in cleansing the blood vessels and preventing blood clots.
5. Dates Boost The Health Of The Nervous System
The vitamins and minerals present in dates help boost the nervous system health and its functionality.5 Potassium is one of the minerals found in dates that are important in promoting a healthy and responsive nervous system. It is also known to enhance brain activity, which helps you stay alert. Dates are a great option for elderly people, as their nervous system becomes sluggish or unresponsive due to aging.
6. Dates Prevent Abdominal Cancer
Dates are also known to offer protection from abdominal cancer. One specific study has shown that dates are a natural and delicious food that can reduce the risk and impact of abdominal cancer.6 Research has shown that dates are effective as a tonic for people of all ages and they are sometimes more effective than traditional medicines. Since they are natural, they don’t have any negative effects on the human body and can be quickly and easily digested for an instant energy boost.
7. Dates Treat Intestinal Disorders
Dates are considered to be beneficial for curing many kinds of intestinal disorders. Regular consumption of dates helps inhibit the growth of the pathological organisms that help stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the intestines. They contain soluble and insoluble fibers, as well as many beneficial amino acids, which helps in stimulating the digestion of food and facilitating better absorption of the nutrients by the digestive tract.
Studies have also revealed that dates are useful against peptic ulcers. Muslims customarily consume more dates during the fasting month of Ramadan (Ramzan), as dates possibly protect the gastric mucosa from the damaging effects of the gastric acid.7
8. Dates Strengthen Bones
Consuming dates regularly can help in keeping your bones strong. They are a rich source of many essential minerals that make dates the perfect food for strengthening bones and preventing painful and debilitating diseases like osteoporosis.8 Dates provide vital minerals such as selenium, manganese, copper, and magnesium, all of which are critical to healthy bone development and strength. As bones tend to weaken with age, they are especially good for elderly people.
9. Dates Regulate Blood Pressure
Since dates have a high potassium content and are devoid of sodium, they are ideal for people who mainly suffer from hypertension. The magnesium content in 5-6 dates is nearly 80 mg. Magnesium is an important mineral that improves the circulation of the blood. Many studies have highlighted the importance of magnesium intake to regulate blood pressure and research has shown that an intake of 368 mg of magnesium a day for an average of three months resulted in an overall reduction in systolic blood pressure.9
|↑1, ↑4||Al-Farsi, Mohamed, Cesarettin Alasalvar, Anne Morris, Mark Baron, and Fereidoon Shahidi. “Compositional and sensory characteristics of three native sun-dried date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) varieties grown in Oman.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 53, no. 19 (2005): 7586-7591.|
|↑2, ↑8||Al-Farsi*, Mohamed Ali, and Chang Yong Lee. “Nutritional and functional properties of dates: a review.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 48, no. 10 (2008): 877-887.|
|↑3||Vyawahare, N., R. Pujari, A. Khsirsagar, D. Ingawale, M. Patil, and V. Kagathara. “Phoenix dactylifera: An update of its indegenous uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology.” Internet J Pharmacol 7, no. 1 (2009): 1-11.|
|↑5||Al-Shahib, Walid, and Richard J. Marshall. “The fruit of the date palm: its possible use as the best food for the future?.” International journal of food sciences and nutrition 54, no. 4 (2003): 247-259.|
|↑6||Besbes, Souhail, Lobna Drira, Christophe Blecker, Claude Deroanne, and Hamadi Attia. “Adding value to hard date (Phoenix dactylifera L.): Compositional, functional and sensory characteristics of date jam.” Food chemistry 112, no. 2 (2009): 406-411.|
|↑7||Ahmad, Ateeq, Sunil Soni Dutta, K. Varun Singh, and Maurya K. Santosh. “PHOENIX DACTYLIFERA LINN.(PIND KHARJURA): A REVIEW.” International Journal of Research in Ayurveda & Pharmacy 4, no. 3 (2013).|
|↑9||Magnesium may modestly lower blood pressure. American Heart Association. 2016.|