Dates are one of my favourite gut-loving snacks for my 3 pm slump. They’re good for digestion, they give you an energy boost, and they taste amazing! Do you agree?
There’s a reason they’re known as “the king of fruits and the fruit of kings”—dates were originally reserved exclusively for royalty but (thankfully) are now available for everyone.
The deets on dates
Dates are from the fruit of a palm date tree. They are a staple in North Africa and the Middle East, but dried dates have seen a huge influence on the health scene in Western countries. They are considered a functional superfood because of their rich nutritional profile of phytonutrient polyphenols and soluble fibre, making them a perfect midday snack.
Dates have an excellent nutrition profile. They help with decreasing cholesterol, naturally boosting energy levels, increasing bone health, while also improving brain health. Dates are also extremely rich in a variety of antioxidants. These antioxidants prevent the development of certain chronic illnesses by fighting inflammation and oxidative stress.
Digestive benefits of dates
Although dates pack the nutritional punch, the reason I like to add them to my diet is for their digestive benefits. Research suggests they can quickly improve your digestive health, help to treat constipation, and have even found that eating dates on an empty stomach can kill intestinal worms.
Many people eating a Western diet are suffering from constipation, which is a result of inadequate intake of fibre. Dates contain 12 per cent of the daily requirement for fibre making them a great add-in for any gut-loving journey.
The soluble fibre and polyphenols found in dates have important prebiotic effects, which help to improve gut bacteria and amplify the positive health benefits as a consequence, while also helping to prevent the risk of colon cancer.
On top of the high fibre content, date’s pulp and high levels of potassium help to relieve constipation as well. A study found that date pulp extract stimulates the gastrointestinal transit activity and can aid in treating constipation. Dates also contain more potassium than bananas. When your potassium is low, the muscles in your colon don't move as much and can lead to constipation.
So if you’re backed up and looking for a natural solution, reach for some dates!
What Are The Best Ways To Eat Dates?
There’s no wrong way to eat a date. You can slice them into salads, use them to sweeten up your baked goods, soak them and use them as a homemade caramel, toss them into your morning smoothie or cereal, make some energy balls, or enjoy them just as they are! My personal favourite is stuffing them with peanut butter and dipping them in some homemade cacao and making “nature’s Reeses.”
I suggest sticking to 3-4 dates at a time. Whichever way you munch them, your gut will be thanking you for it.
Do you have a favourite way of eating dates? Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to try out these date-packed recipes!