HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING DATES ON EMPTY STOMACH IN THE MORNING & COMMON SIDE EFFECTS
Virtually every part of the dates fruit can and has been used for food or medicinal purposes. For instance, the seeds can be used to feed livestock while the oil is used in soap making. Dates were also used as foods in Asia and in ancient Egypt for making wine.
What are dates?
The date is the fruit of the date palm tree, which is called Phoenix dactylifera by botanists. The date fruit can be traced to the Middle East, where it is believed to have been first cultivated.
Dates are brown when ripe while the unripe ones are red or bright yellow in color.
Nutritional facts about date fruit
The date fruit is a highly nutritious fruit that is packed with a lot of antioxidant and other beneficial chemical compounds. Dates are rich in tannins, which have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. A 100-gram serving of dates contains about 314 calories comprising carbohydrates, proteins, dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, K, B vitamins, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, zinc, beta-carotene, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, lutein-zeaxanthin, and beta-xanthin. Dates have no cholesterol content. The numerous vitamins and minerals found in dates make them very beneficial to general health.
Types of dates
Generally, there are three groups of dates: fresh, semi-dry, and dried dates, but there are many types of date fruit available today. The varieties are classified based on their origins, their color, or size. Some of the common varieties are Iteema, Migraf, Hayani, Halawi, Dayri, and Medjool, which is the most common black date variety.
Nonetheless, regardless of the date variety, you are assured of several health benefits as we’ll get to know.
Fresh dates Vs dried dates
While fresh dates are those recently harvested, the dried dates were previously fresh dates which have been dried over a time frame. As a result, the dried dates have less moisture content than the fresh ones. Although there is not much of a difference between fresh dates and dried dates, the carbohydrate content of dried dates is more than that of the fresh ones. In addition, the dried dates are richer in dietary fiber and calcium than the fresh dates, which are higher in vitamin C.
Health benefits of dates
The following are some of the many health benefits of eating dates.
- Good for the heart
Eating crushed overnight soaked dates in an empty stomach in the morning does wonders to the heart. For one, dates contain a significant amount of potassium which helps to lower blood pressure and in preventing the occurrence of heart-related diseases. Even more, the antioxidants in dates are beneficial in preventing atherosclerosis by reducing the cholesterol content in the arteries connecting the heart.
- Good for the skin
Ripened dates are rich in vitamin C, which is important for healthy skin. Vitamin C helps to prevent wrinkles. Flavonoids, which are antioxidants, are also beneficial to the skin as well as vitamin B5 for treatment of stretch marks. Apart from this, the effects of ageing on the skin can be reduced by eating antioxidants-rich foods and fruits like dates. These antioxidants work by countering the effects of free body radicals that lead to skin problems.
- Good for the brain
Research results have proven that dates have brain-enhancing properties such as improving memory and promoting cognitive function. The high antioxidant content in dates makes them helpful for preventing age-related brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- Benefits of dates to the hair
Hair problems like brittle hair and hair loss can be prevented and even remedied by eating dates. Dates contain iron and vitamin B5 that are beneficial to the hair. While iron stimulates blood flow to the scalp, vitamin B5 reduces the occurrence of hair problems.
- For weight gain
This is kind of a paradox as dates have no cholesterol and a low fat content. Skinny people can gain some weight by consuming dates. And although dates are low in fat and contain no cholesterol, they are, however, rich in proteins, sugar, and other nutrients which can help to increase body weight.
- For improving male virility
Dates can be used to improve virility in men; they are considered to be natural aphrodisiacs. An Indian study showed that eating dates can help to enhance sexual drive in men. Dates contain flavonoids that can stimulate the production of sperms in men as well as promote sperm motility. To get the best of dates for this purpose, crush a handful of dates previously soaked in goat’s milk and mix with honey and cardamom powder, then consume.
- Prevention and treatment of inflammation
Dates are rich in tannins, which are responsible for their anti-inflammatory property. Various reports have shown that eating dates can help to effectively reduce inflammation. In addition, dates also contain magnesium, which is essential for the immune system.
- Treatment of diarrhea
Diarrhea is the condition where stools become watery making bowel movement more frequent. Eating high fiber foods like dates adds bulk to the stool making it less watery. Ripe dates are best for this as their fiber content is higher in addition to potassium.
- Good for the bones
Dates are rich in bone-strengthening minerals such as calcium, manganese, and copper. Bone diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis can be prevented and treated by consuming lots of dates. The presence of vitamins C and K in dates also contributes to its bone-strengthening properties. Vitamin K promotes the absorption of calcium in the bones while vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen in the bones.
- Good for pregnant women
Pregnant women can benefit from consuming date fruits. Such women need lots of calories for their unborn babies and themselves. However, most of the foods rich in calories have low nutritional value. Dates, unlike most other high-calorie foods, are highly nutritious and can provide pregnant women with the much-needed calories and nutrients. In addition, dates are rich in iron and, therefore, help to prevent iron-deficiency anemia in pregnant women.
- To regulate body cholesterol
Studies have shown that the consumption of dates can help to regulate the cholesterol levels in the body. Moreover, dates have no cholesterol and their rich potassium content help to maintain good cholesterol levels.
- Lowers blood pressure
Electrolyte imbalance can increase blood pressure in the body. Electrolyte imbalance is caused by a deficiency of a particular body mineral like potassium. Since dates are rich in potassium, the electrolyte level in the body is regulated meaning the blood pressure is also regulated. In combination with magnesium, potassium helps to regulate blood pressure.
- Remedy for constipation
Dates have laxative properties due to their high dietary fiber content, which is essential for proper digestion. People suffering from constipation can benefit greatly from dates. For this purpose, you will need to eat lots of date fruits or soak them overnight in water and eat early the next morning.
- Prevention of cancer
Abdominal cancers such as colorectal cancer and stomach cancer can be prevented by eating dates. A study has shown that the fiber in dates is helpful in preventing colorectal cancer while the flavonoids in date fruits are also beneficial against cancer.
- For prevention and treatment of night blindness
Dates contain vitamin A, which is good for the eyes. It has been found that daily intake of dates can help to prevent eye diseases such as night blindness. Studies have also found that geographical locations with more date palms have a lower rate of night blindness.
- An energy booster
Dates contain carbohydrates majorly in the form of sugars, which are great sources of energy. Adding dates to your diet will help to give the body an extra boost of energy.
- Treatment for allergies
Dates have anti-inflammatory properties and contain organic sulfur, which can reduce allergies such as SAR (seasonal allergic rhinitis). Thus, people suffering from this type of allergies can benefit from the consumption of dates.
- For treatment of hemorrhoids
Pregnant women are prone to hemorrhoids, which are inflammatory and arise majorly due to low fiber content in foods. Since dates have dietary fiber, pregnant women can benefit in this way by preventing hemorrhoids.
- Remedy for anemia
Iron-deficiency anemia can be treated by eating foods rich in iron, of which dates are prominent on the list. Daily intake of dates is a healthy and simple way of improving the iron content in the blood, thereby, balancing the deficiency.
Side effects of eating dates
While dates are highly nutritious and are beneficial to virtually everybody, there are some side effects of eating dates especially when consumed in excess.
Risk of diarrhea
This is a bit ironic as one of the health benefits of eating dates is for treating diarrhea. However, this is the sad truth; eating too much dates can increases bowel movement which can become abnormal. Thus, it is advised that you only take just enough dates and not go overboard.
Bad for fructose intolerant persons
This is somehow related to the first effect. Fructose intolerant persons have the tendency of feeling bloated when they eat foods that contain fructose. A major part of dates is carbohydrates, which are mostly fructose and glucose sugars.