In a world that seems to become more health conscious with each day (see the juice bars that now occupy every New York City block), the term “superfood” is no longer foreign. While there is no textbook definition, a superfood is a nutrient powerhouse filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds necessary for human health. Although kale, blueberries, and salmon are three of the most common foods associated with this category, there is one dried fruit often overlooked: the date.
The date is considered by many to be the healthiest superfood on the market. The raisin-relative is a fantastic source of nutrients, and has countless benefits essential to healthy living.
7 Valuable Reasons to Include Dates in Your Diet
- Allergy Aid: As much as 30% of the world’s population may suffer from seasonal allergies, known as Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. Come springtime, millions blow their nose and rub their eyes ad nauseam. However, such symptoms can be alleviated with dates. The organic sulfur in dates reduces the amount and severity of seasonal allergic reactions. Suffer less, and save money on tissues.
- Balanced Bowels: This benefit is twofold. Dates can aid in the relief of constipation. The dried fruit has a laxative effect due to its high levels of soluble fiber, making it an essential diet component for those who suffer from symptoms of constipation. On the other end of the spectrum, dates also help to prevent diarrhea. High levels of potassium reduce the unpredictability of chronic diarrhea, all while developing a normal digestive and excretory system.
- Bone Brawn: Because of the abundance of minerals found in dates, the dried fruit is a source for strengthening bones and preventing bone diseases, like osteoporosis. With age, bones slowly wither and weaken. Keep your bones happy and healthy with dates in your diet. Your older self will thank you later.
- Better Blood Pressure: Along with iron and natural sugars, dates also have high levels of magnesium. Magnesium is responsible for the blood flow through your arteries, veins, and other blood vessels. With more magnesium in your system, high blood pressure levels can be lowered to normal levels. Dates can help you overcome hypertension. Learn more about why magnesium is crucial to your health.
- Cholesterol Control: A date-based diet leads to a healthy heart, as it keeps your cholesterol in check. LDL cholesterol, the so-called “bad cholesterol,” is not only stabilized in the bloodstream, it is also removed from essential organs and blood vessels. Without balanced LDL cholesterol quantities, a buildup of plaque plagues your arteries, which can lead to a multitude of fatal health risks (coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes, to name a few).
- Extensive Energy: While sugar intake should be regulated, dates are filled with natural sugars. Such natural sugars, like glucose, fructose, and sucrose, are all simple forms of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the leading source of short term energy, while fats are better suited in the long term. Due to their abundance of natural sugars, snacking on a few dates will give you the quick energy boost you need.
- Increased Iron: One of the date’s most plentiful elements is iron. Iron is a necessary component of hemoglobin, the portion of red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Low levels of iron in your body lead to low levels of oxygen being distributed to body cells, and may cause anemia. However, it must be stated that iron intake should be regulated for those with preexisting liver conditions, as high levels of iron can cause liver damage.
From cholesterol to constipation, bones to blood pressure, the date is a superfood with countless benefits. The next time you prepare a bowl of yogurt, try mixing in the dried fruit’s paste. Or, include a handful of dates in your next salad. Nonetheless, a date-based diet will not only prevent the worst of medical conditions down the road, but will also help you live your healthiest life in the present.