10 Benefits of Dates, Nutritional Info & Healthy Recipes

Updated in October 2023

The benefits of dates are rooted in their excellent concentrations of carotenoids, flavonoids, and tannins. These bioactive compounds have antioxidant properties that can help prevent many conditions like cancer, heart attacks and even early again. 

In addition, dates contain high quantities of fiber, which can help with constipation and with regulating sugar levels to treat insulin resistance and diabetes. 

Dates can generally be found in grocery stores and natural health product stores in their dehydrated state. They can also be eaten in their natural state and used as an alternative for sugar in dessert recipes. Date seeds are also used in some areas of the world to produce a type of decaffeinated coffee.

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Health benefits

Due to its high quantities of antioxidants, minerals, and B-complex vitamins, eating dates can offer the following benefits:

1. Maintain good intestinal function 

Because it is rich in fibers like pectin and lignin, dates help to hydrate stool, which helps to bulk it up and prevent constipation. 

In addition, dates contain antioxidant and bactericide properties. These promote regular levels of beneficial intestinal bacteria, which maintains intestinal flora and allows for good function. 

2. Prevent cancer

Dates are rich in carotenoid, polyphenols and tannins, which are bioactive compounds that have a strong antioxidant action. These help to fight excess amounts of free radicals, which prevent the growth of cancerous cells. 

3. Prevent diabetes

Due to its high fiber content, dates help to decrease the absorption of sugar from food, which normalizes blood glucose levels. This helps to prevent insulin resistance and diabetes. Check out other fruits for diabetics that can help to keep blood sugar levels regulated.

4. Help to gain muscle mass

Dates are rich in carbohydrates, which is a nutrient that helps to improve energy levels and mood during workouts. This can promote muscle gain. 

In addition, this fruit contains high levels of potassium and magnesium, which are minerals that are essential for muscular contraction and help with muscle gains.

5. Prevent cardiovascular disease 

Dates contain high amounts of carotenoids, flavonoids and tannins, which are compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These help to fight free radicals and promote arterial health, which can prevent conditions like myocardial infarct or hearth failure.

Dates are also rich in potassium, a mineral that helps to eliminate excess sodium through the urine. This helps to keep blood pressure at a healthy level.

6. Strengthen the immune system 

Dates have high quantities of antioxidant compounds like Vitamin A, flavonoids and tannins. These can strengthen the immune system and prevent illnesses like the flu, colds and allergic rhinitis. 

7. Prevent early aging 

Because they are a source of fiber, dates help to control glucose levels, preventing the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGE’s). These are compounds produced by the body after excess intake of sugary foods, which result in increased free radicals and inflammation in the skin. All of these contribute to early aging. 

8. Decrease “bad” cholesterol

Dates are rich in tannins, carotenoids and flavonoids, which are compounds with antioxidant actions that prevent the oxidation of fat cells. This helps to regulate LDL cholesterol levels (also known as “bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides in the blood. 

The fiber present in this fruit also help to reduce the absorption of fat from food, which decreases total cholesterol levels. This can help with prevention of conditions like atherosclerosis, infarct and heart failure. 

9. Help to prevent neurodegenerative disease 

Due to its high quantities of antioxidant compounds, dates help to improve memory and cognitive capacity, in addition to fighting free radicals and inflammation within the central nervous system. This can help to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disease, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. 

10. Help with delivery

Some studies have shown that eating dates on a daily basis after 37 weeks of gestation can help to improve the mother’s energy level. It may also stimulate uterine contractions during a normal delivery, which can help to decrease delivery time. 

Nutritional information

The following table shows the nutritional value of 100g of dried dates (which equals to about 5 dates) and 100g of fresh dates. 

Components

100g of dried dates (about 5) 

100g of fresh dates

Energy

298 cal

147cal

Carbohydrates

67.3 g

33.2 g

Protein

2.5 g

1.2 g

Fat

0.3 g

0.1 g

Fiber

7.8 g

3.8 g

Vitamin A

8 mcg

4 mcg

Carotenes

47 mcg

23 mcg

Vitamin B3

2 mg

0.99 mg

Vitamin B9

13 mcg

6.4 mcg

Vitamin C

0 mg

6.9 mg

Potassium

700 mg

350 mg

Calcium

50 mg

25 mg

Magnesium

55 mg

27 mg

Phosphorus

42 mg

21 mg

Dried dates have more carbs and calories than fresh dates, because when water is removed through the process of dehydration, nutrients become more concentrates. Therefore, diabetics who are looking to lose weight should consume dried dates in moderation. 

How to eat dates

Dates can be consumed in their natural form or used in recipes, like in cakes, mousse, jams or bread. Date seeds can be used in the production of decaffeinated coffee. 

Dried dates should be consumed by diabetics in low quantities. Although they are small, they contain the same quantity of sugar as a fresh date. They also contain a high glycemic index, which can lead to increase blood sugar levels. 

Healthy recipes 

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Dates can be used in healthy and delicious recipes, like in jams, truffles, mousse and bread. 

1. Date jam

Ingredients

  • 10 dried dates
  • Mineral water

How to prepare

Place the dates in a bowl and pour the water over them so that they are completely covered. Allow the dates to soak for 1 hour, then pour the water into a new bowl. Blend the dates in a blender and slowly add the water you set aside, until your jam is creamy and at your desired consistency. You should store the jam in a clean container with a lid in the refrigerator. It can be used on toast or to sweeten recipes.

2. Date truffles

Ingredients:

  • 200 g of pitted, dried dates
  • 100 g of Brazilian nuts
  • 100 g of cashews
  • ¼ cup of unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • ½ cup of cacao powder
  • 1 pinch of salt 
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Filtered water

How to prepare

Place the dates in a bowl and pour water over them until they are fully covered. Allow the dates to soak for 1 hour. Pour the water into a new bowl and set it aside. Mix the dates and all the other ingredients in a blender until they are well combined and dough-like. You can slowly add the water you set aside as needed to achieve this consistency. Transfer the dough to a new bowl and mold them into small balls at your desired size. You can roll the truffles into cacao, cinnamon, coconut or diced nuts.

3. Date bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of pitted dried dates 
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of butter 
  • 1.5 cups of whole wheat or oat flour 
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of hot water

How to prepare:

Boil 1 cup of water in a pot. As soon as it starts to boil, add the dates, baking soda and butter. Lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes, until the dates become soft. With a fork, mash the dates until they form a puree, and allow to cool. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and raisins. Beat the eggs using a mixer and set aside. Once the dates are cool, add the egg and the ½ cup of hot water. Mix the dates with the flour until well combined and pour the mixture into a greased pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 200ºC (about 390ºF) for about 45 to 60 minutes.