Very sweet and tasty, dates are rich in fiber and antioxidants
Dried fruit, properties and calories
Dates are fruits with a very sweet flavor, mainly from the tropical belt – one of the main producers is Egypt. They are often present on our tables during the Christmas period, alongside other typical fruits such as dried figs, and are really rich in health benefits.
Their nutritional profile varies according to whether the dates undergo a drying procedure or not. In reality, those that are on the market in our country are almost always dried dates, so it will be these that we will consider. Rich in sugars, they are very energetic fruits: a 100-gram serving provides 277 calories, so it's good to be careful if you follow a low-calorie diet.
However, when eaten in moderation, dates can even help you lose weight. They are in fact an excellent source of fibers, which have a strong satiating action and promote proper intestinal transit, helping to deflate the belly. Moreover, thanks to their sugary taste, they are a healthy substitute for sweet snacks: even, in the form of date paste, they are used as a natural sweetener instead of the common refined sugar.
A large study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine highlighted the numerous benefits of dried dates, bringing to light their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. For example, this variety of dried fruit promotes the well-being and functionality of the brain: thanks to their ability to reduce inflammatory markers such as interleukin, the presence of which at high levels is associated with a greater risk of neurodegenerative diseases – primarily l 'Alzheimer's.
In addition, dates are rich in minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Several studies have shown how all these substances come into play in bone health, in particular by preventing the loss of bone density and the onset of diseases such as osteoporosis. Potassium is also useful for protecting the heart, since it helps reduce blood pressure and consequently the risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
As for antioxidants, dates are an excellent source of substances such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids. In addition to having important anti-inflammatory properties, these powerful antioxidants have an interesting potential in reducing the risk of developing some cancers. Phenolic compounds, for example, have shown a marked action in slowing the growth and reproduction of cancer cells.
An interesting study finally highlighted the effectiveness of dried dates in facilitating labor, if consumed during the last weeks of pregnancy. In the course of the research, 69 women in their last month of gestation introduced 6 dates a day into their diet: compared to 45 pregnant women who did not eat dried fruit, they were 20% more likely to go into labor naturally and were significantly reduced cervical dilation time, arriving earlier at the time of delivery.
It is likely that this is due to the presence of compounds that, in the body, mimic the effects of oxytocin – the hormone that causes contractions. In addition, dates are particularly sugary and provide a good amount of energy, which is needed during labor.