Health benefits of dates
Wonderfully delicious, dates are one of the most popular fruits packed with an impressive list of phyotnutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for normal growth, development, and overall well-being.
Fresh dates compose of soft, easily digestible flesh and simple sugars like fructose and dextrose. 100 g of mejdool dates hold 277 calories. When eaten, they replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly.
The fruit is rich in dietary fiber, which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut. Additionally, the fiber diet works as a bulk laxative. It, thus, helps protect the colon mucous membrane from cancer-causing chemicals binding to it in the colon.
They contain health benefiting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins. Tannins are known to possess anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic (prevent easy bleeding tendencies) properties.
They are minor sources of vitamin-A (contains 149 IU or 5% of RDA per 100 g), which is known to have antioxidant properties and essential for vision. Additionally, it is also required maintaining healthy mucosa and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A is known to help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
They compose antioxidant flavonoids such as ß-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants found to have the ability to protect cells and other structures in the body from harmful effects of oxygen-free radicals. Thus, eating dates found to offer some protection from colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
Zeaxanthin is an important dietary carotenoid that selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea, where it thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions. It thus offers protection against age-related macular degeneration, especially in the older adults.
Dates are excellent source of iron, carry 0.90 mg/100 g of fruits (about 11% of RDI). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
Further, they are excellent sources of potassium. 100 g contains 696 mg or 16% of daily recommended levels of this electrolyte. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. They, thus, offer protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
Date fruits are also rich in minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Calcium is an important mineral that is an essential constituent of bone and teeth and required by the body for muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve impulse conduction. The human body uses manganese as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper required for the production of red blood cells. Magnesium is essential for bone growth.
Further, the fruit has moderate levels of the B-complex group of vitamins as well as vitamin-K. It contains healthy amounts of pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. These vitamins are acting as cofactors help body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Vitamin-K is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood as well as in bone metabolism.