5 Health Benefits Of Dates, According To Nutrition Experts

5 Health Benefits Of Dates, According To Nutrition Experts

Often found in their dried form, dates are a great type of fruit to consider adding to your diet. Not only can their sweet flavor help satisfy a sugar craving, but dates offer a number of notable health benefits.

Here’s a closer look at the nutritional profile of this fruit and the health benefits that dates may be able to offer as part of your diet.

What Are Dates?
A date is a type of berry that comes from the date palm tree, a species of palm tree found in hot, arid regions, and which has been around for 50 million years.

The date fruit is oblong in shape, measuring roughly 1 to 3 inches in length, and has a single seed or pit. A date’s color ranges from golden brown to a deep brown or black when it’s ripe, and when dried, the skin becomes wrinkled in appearance.

Date Nutrition
The flesh of dates is a rich source of a number of vitamins, including several B vitamins as well as vitamin C. Additionally, dates are high in minerals like potassium, magnesium, copper and selenium.

While dates are high in sugars—primarily glucose and fructose—they are low in fat and sodium. Additionally, dates are a rich source of both dietary fiber and antioxidants.

5 Health Benefits of Dates

There are a number of notable health benefits of dates. That said, it’s important to remember that no one food is going to be a magic bullet, explains Allison Tepper, a registered dietitian in the D.C. metro area, owner of Tepper Nutrition and an adjunct instructor in the department of health studies at American University. She suggests incorporating dates “throughout the day in a way that feels energizing and tasty.”


Dates are a great source of antioxidants, which are natural chemicals that help prevent harm caused by free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells). Antioxidants can “help to fight off disease states in the body” and aid in “reducing inflammation,” explains Tepper.

In fact, one older study found that among dried fruits, dates have the highest concentration of polyphenols (a type of antioxidant)[1]. Due to their antioxidant activity, polyphenols can help protect against certain cancers as well as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.

Dates are a great source of dietary fiber, which helps with digestion and aid in the prevention of constipation.

That said, Tepper warns that there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to fiber intake. “You don’t want to have too much, because that can cause some negative impacts as well,” explains Tepper. Impacts from either overdoing fiber intake or increasing your intake too quickly can include bloating, gas or diarrhea.

Dates are also a source of prebiotics, which are “food for the beneficial gut bacteria,” explains Sue-Ellen Anderson-Haynes, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the founder of 360GirlsWomen LLC, a holistic health and wellness company for girls and women. “[Prebiotics] are used as a fuel for the good gut bacteria to help protect the integrity of the gut lining,” notes Anderson-Haynes. “Whole fruits such as dates provide this protective action in the gut.”

Dates also have the potential to promote heart health due to their nutritional profile, particularly their high levels of both antioxidants and fiber, as well as other nutrients. “I never want to say that one food will make or break anything, but we know that antioxidants in general help with cardiovascular health,” says Tepper.

Fiber, meanwhile, plays a role in managing cholesterol levels. “Research studies show that fiber-rich foods reduce the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body, which is protective for the heart,” says Anderson-Haynes.

Lastly, the presence of both magnesium and potassium in dates can provide cardiovascular benefits. “In addition, dates provide a good amount of magnesium and potassium to help support healthy blood pressure by relaxing or dilating blood vessels, which is imperative for heart health,” says Anderson-Haynes.


Dates may assist with labor and aid in delivery when consumed during pregnancy, notes Anderson-Hayes. One small study from 2017 found that consuming dates in late pregnancy helped shorten the length of labor and reduced the need for oxytocin (a medication which helps speed up labor)[2]. Meanwhile, another smaller study from 2011 demonstrated that eating dates while pregnant can aid in uterine contractions and assist in dilating the cervix for delivery[3].

However, research on the role that dates can play in labor and delivery is still ongoing. “More studies are needed, especially randomized control trials,” says Anderson-Haynes.


“Dates can be used in baking just to add that sweet flavor when people are looking for a nutritious alternative [to sugar],” says Tepper, speaking to the multitude of potential ways to eat dates. For instance, dates can be added to desserts like cakes and brownies or as a replacement for refined or added sugar.

And even though dates are quite sweet, Anderson-Haynes notes they’re a low glycemic index food, which also makes them a worthwhile snack. “Dates have a low GI, or glycemic index, with an average of 42, which means they slowly raise blood sugars after consumption—making it a great snack (in the right portions for that person) for those who want to better control blood sugars,” says Anderson-Haynes.

If you’re looking for a sweet treat that won’t spike your blood sugar, may help promote digestive health and can also provide a good serving of antioxidants, you may want to try adding dates to your daily diet.

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