Dates are rich in nutrients, and iron is included in the list. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 100 grams of dates has iron, ranging from 0.3 mg to 10.4 mg.
Iron plays different functions in the body. It is needed to form hemoglobin responsible for carrying oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the body.
A lack of iron can lead to anemia, and there are approximately 10 million people in the US diagnosed with iron deficiency.
Globally, anemia affects more than 1.62 billion people, and it is prevalent in preschool-age children, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Top Benefits of Iron-Rich Foods Like Dates
It Improves Iron Deficiency Anemia
A study published in the Pediatric Health, Medicine and Therapeutics journal suggested that dates improved both iron and hemoglobin levels among participants aged 8 to 10. After 2 months of taking Mazafati dates, their hemoglobin and iron improved. Their mean hematocrit reached up to 37.17 g/dL from 34.24 g/dL.
It Enhances Cognitive Function
Like the heart, liver, and kidney, our brain requires enough oxygen to perform well. Iron helps the blood to easily transport oxygen to the brain, which is believed to enhance cognitive development, according to a study published in the Seminars in Pediatric Neurology journal. Enough oxygen and good blood flow in the brain also activate cognitive activity.
High in Antioxidants
Aside from iron, dates are rich in other nutrients like antioxidants. These antioxidants protect cells from free radicals that cause various diseases.
The antioxidants found in dates are flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acid. Flavonoids are found to reduce inflammation in the body. Experts also believe it has the potential to minimize the risk of certain types of cancer and diabetes.
Carotenoids may reduce macular degeneration and promote heart health. Phenolic acid, on the other hand, may also protect you against heart disease and cancer because of its robust anti-inflammatory properties.
It Promotes Good Muscle Contraction
Aside from the brain, iron supplies the right amount of oxygen to muscle tissues, which facilitates contraction and maintains muscle elasticity.
According to a study written in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, weak muscle has been linked to anemia.
But if you feel something different in your muscles, it is always best to consult a health specialist to avoid any guessing game.
It Boosts Immune System
Iron has also been identified as critical for the development of immune cells. It is particularly necessary for lymphocytes proliferation and maturation that generates a specific response to a particular infection. But do not forget to include foods rich in zinc, protein, vitamin C, and vitamin D in your diet.
Rich In Fiber
Dates are packed with fiber. A 3.5 ounce of dates has 7 grams of fiber, which can prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements.
A study found that the participants experienced an increase in bowel movements and stool frequency compared to those who do not consume dates.
How Many Dates Should You Eat Every Day?
Taking 100 grams of dates every day is more than enough to improve iron deficiency. But sometimes, dates may not be available at all times. Pomegranates, apples, bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes, peas, dandelion greens, beet greens, broccoli, and string beans are excellent alternatives. You can also consider iron supplements if the need arises.
Dates Varieties To Try
There are more than a hundred varieties of dates. The following are the most common.
Medjool is the most popular. It is not only delicious but also soft, making it the top favorite for many. It has a fibrous texture and a rich taste. It is usually eaten fresh because of its high moisture.
For our second spot, we have these piarom dates. Unlike medjool, piarom has a unique sweet taste that can be compared to caramel and toffee. It is suitable for those with high blood pressure. It originally comes from the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.
Deglet Noor Dates
Deglet Noor is also known because of its delicate and sweet flavor. That’s why it is used in cakes, cookies, and bread.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the other nutrients you can get from dates?
Aside from fiber, iron, and antioxidants, dates are rich in vitamin B6, calories, manganese, carbs, copper, protein, magnesium, and potassium.
When to eat dates?
There is no specific time to eat dates. You can consume it during breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks, satisfying your cravings.
When not to eat dates?
Whether you have loose stools or suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, eating dates is a no-no. They contain sorbitol that might irritate your gut.
What are the other health benefits of dates?
Dates have the potential to minimize the risks of osteoporosis and control blood sugar levels.
Are dates good for people with diabetes?
Experts say the fiber content in dates can be good for those with diabetes. But taking this fruit in excess can be harmful.