Health Benefits of Dates
Apart from being sweet and delicious, dates are considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet – both religion and science agree.
Dates were believed to possess incredible healing properties even since biblical times, and now science is catching up to confirm that our ancestors knew exactly what they were talking about.
As written in the Koran, the holy book of Islam, Allah instructs Virgin Mary to consume dates when she gives birth to Jesus. And today, not surprisingly, dates are commonly given to pregnant women within the Islamic tradition.
To investigate the effect of date consumption on labor and birth outcomes, researchers at Jordan University of Science and Technology conducted an 11-month study which proved the following:
Improved Cervical Dilation: “The women who consumed date fruit had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers (3.52 cm vs 2.02 cm, p < 0.0005).”
Less Damage to Membranes: “[The intervention group had] a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes (83% vs 60%, p = 0.007).”
More Natural (Spontaneous) Labor: “Spontaneous labor occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers (p = 0.024).”
Less Drugs Required: “Use of prostin/oxytocin was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit consumers (47%) (p = 0.036).”
Shorter Labor: “The mean latent phase of the first stage of labor was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared with the non-date fruit consumers (510 min vs 906 min, p = 0.044).”
In the study, which was published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers concluded:
“It is concluded that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labor significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomised controlled trial.”
Apart from being extremely beneficial to pregnant women, dates also provide these incredible health benefits.
1. Prevent Strokes
Dates are rich in potassium, which is an important mineral that helps prevent strokes and improves the health of the nervous system. A daily dose of 400mg of potassium effectively prevents such issues. One cup of dates (147g) contains 964mg of potassium.
2. Regulate Bad Cholesterol
“If you have heart disease or you just want to keep your ticker healthy, you’ve probably heard the mantra already: “Watch your cholesterol!” The type that puts your heart at risk is LDL — the “bad” cholesterol.
It collects on the walls of your blood vessels, where it can cause blockages. Higher LDL levels put you at greater risk for a heart attack from a sudden blood clot that forms there.” (WebMD)
Being a rich source of potassium, adding dates to your diet can lower this bad cholesterol and keep your heart safe.
3. Strengthen the Heart
Soak a few dates in water before you go to bed, and in the morning, remove the pits, strain them, and eat them right away. You can also add them to your favorite smoothie.
4. Improve Digestive Health
Dates are an excellent digestive tract balancer. The soluble fibers found in dates can help relieve constipation, while the potassium can also treat upset stomachs and diarrhea. They also help strengthen good bacteria.
5. Regulate Blood Pressure
Because of their high potassium content, dates can help people suffering from high blood pressure. They are also a good source of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for proper blood flow.
6. Treat and Prevent Anemia
Anemia is a common issue amongst most people, especially in children and pregnant women. Since dates are an excellent source of iron, they can boost the iron levels and help treat anemia.
7. Energy Boost
Dates are rich in natural sugars, including fructose, glucose, and sucrose. Therefore, dates are a perfect afternoon snack for people who need a quick energy boost.
8. Control Body Weight
Since dates are cholesterol-free, consuming them on an empty stomach can help prevent weight gain and help control your body weight.
Note: Dates are high in sugar, so try not to eat them in excessive amounts.
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