The fruit of the date palm has played an important role in the human diet since the earliest days of civilization. Archeological evidence shows they were cultivated by early inhabitants of the Indus valley from 7000 BC as well as the Sumerians and Egyptians from 5500 BC. Dates are not only one of the sweetest natural substances, they are also packed with nutrients and fiber, thus delivering numerous health benefits. Here are seven reasons to make a lunch (breakfast, dinner, etc.) date with dates!
1. Circulation and heart health
Dates are a good source of antioxidants which helps remove "bad" cholesterol from fat-laden arterial cells, preventing atherosclerosis, a condition brought on by fatty plaque and white blood cells accumulating on arterial walls and hindering the flow of blood. This increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Eating three dates a day can help keep your arteries clear.
2. Support for your liver
Studies have shown that dates and date seed extract can also help prevent liver damage that can lead to cirrhosis.
3. Better brain function
Dates contain vitamin B6, sufficient levels of which have been shown to improve brain performance.
4. Eagle eyes
Dates are a good source of vitamin A, which protects the cornea and also prevents age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in later life. Deglet noor dates also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that support a healthy retina.
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5. More energy
Together with a few almonds, dates are the ideal afternoon snack. The sugar content in dates gives you an energy boost that combined with natural fats from the nuts lasts longer and makes you feel full.
6. Better digestion
Packed with fiber, dates help prevent constipation and general digestive discomfort. Fiber is essential to maintain a healthy colon and reduces the risk of colitis, colon cancer and hemorrhoids.
7. Pain relief
The magnesium contained in dates helps to reduce pain and swelling. So if you suffer from a condition such as arthritis, adding dates to your snack routine may be an easy (and tasty!) way to get some relief.
Little did they know it, but our ancient forebears were on exactly the right dietary track when they started using dates to add something sweet to their meals. But speaking of sweet, it's important to remember that dates also contain their fair amount of sugar, so as with all sugars, enjoy them in moderation.