I really do try and limit my sugar consumption. You would never know based on my posts. Date paste is a go to in my house for a sugar fix. Dates are actually very high in sugar (63g per 100g to be exact). Bananas have 12g of sugar. So, yeah, that does seem like a lot. What makes dates so low on the glycemic index is the added fiber and protein that they’re packing. This helps slow down our absorption of the sugar to our liver. Now we won’t have that crazy, dreaded insulin spike. Of course, if you are diabetic, don’t listen to me…listen to your doctor. “They” do say sugar is sugar. I choose to disagree. Unlike sugar, dates offer many health benefits and are a power house of nutrition.
Here are a few nutritional facts based on a 100g serving of dates:
- Fiber – 6.7 g. 27% RDA.
- Potassium – 696 mg. 20% RDA.
- Copper – 0.4 mg. 18% RDA.
- Manganese – 0.3 mg. 15% RDA.
- Magnesium – 54 mg. 14% RDA.
- Vitamin B6 – 0.2 mg. 12% RDA.
- Vitamin A – 10 IU
- Thiamine – 0.052 mg. 5% RDA.
- Folate – 19 μg. 5% RDA.
- Vitamin K – 2.7 μg. 3% RDA.
- Calcium – 39 mg. 4% RDA.
- Iron – 1.02 mg. 8% RDA.
- Phosphorus – 62 mg. 9% RDA.
- Zinc – 0.29 mg. 3% RDA.
- 282 Calories
- 75 Carbs
- 2.45 g Protein
Along with boosting your vitamins and nutrients, dates also offer a multitude of health benefits. Here are the top ten that I’ve compiled for you:
- Dates are great for your digestive system. Thank you fiber!! And it tastes way better than Metamucil. Yuck!! There are many doctors who recommend eating dates every day. I could see why. If you have a strong digestive system, you will have less toxins sitting around in your body. Therefore, you will have a lower risk of colon cancer, colitis, and hemorrhoids.
- They aid in boosting your brain health. B6 is responsible for this. It helps your brain and nerve cells communicate with each other. The various vitamin B’s help benefit symptoms such as memory loss, depression, ADHD, lung cancer, acne. You name it. As we age, our nervous system becomes very sluggish. These should help give it an extra boost so that you can keep that mind sharp.
- They are anti-inflammatory. Thank you magnesium. You can read a little more about magnesium here. Because of it’s anti-inflammatory benefits, we are able to reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and any other health issues related to inflammation.
- Our blood pressure will be lower. And, again, this is due to magnesium. The potassium helps to lend a helping hand, too. Beware of potassium and salt if you have kidney disease.
- The risk of a stroke is reduced. By upping our dose of, you got it, magnesium to atleast 100mg a day, we reduce our risk by 8%.
- Dates can assist in losing weight. Not only will they keep you regular, but the soluble fiber found in dates will also make you feel full longer. Isn’t that what we want girls? We get to have our cake and eat it too!! Made with date paste, of course. Keep in mind that they can also help in weight gain (this tip might be good for the boys who want to bulk up). Moderation is always key.
- They keep your allergies at bay. A date weird fact of the day: they contain organic sulfur. This is a good thing! The presence of organic sulfur can reduce your overall reaction to seasonal allergies.
- Dates are a wonderful boost of energy. Dates are very high in glucose, fructose, and sucrose. I used to carry them when I was training for marathons. They are small, yet packed full of nutrients, vitamins, and sugar (energy)!
- Dates are a hangover cure! What are you doing drinking anyways!? JK. I’m a light weight. So, every time I drink, the buzz hits me quicker then I expect. Consuming dates when you believe you’ve consumed too much alcohol can help sober you up. Yes!! Also, consuming them during a hangover will lessen your hangover. You are welcome.
- They keep a healthy heart. The potassium in the dates help reduce our risk of heart related diseases. Dates have both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber helps reduce our bad cholesterol (LDL). As reported by Time Magazine:
Every increase of 10 grams of fiber each day was on average linked to a 15 percent lower risk of dying over the study period. It’s the first study to suggest that heart attack patients benefited from adding fiber (found in whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables) to their daily diet…
Now you might ask, “Where do I find these, said, dates?”. Actually, they are probably at your local grocery store but you’ve never noticed. Ask your local grocer. If they don’t carry them, I’m sure they would it you asked. I use medjool dates just because they are easiest to find. Don’t fear if you can’t find them local. Dates last forever, so they are super easy to order on line. I store mine in the fridge, but it’s not completely necessary. It depends on how long you keep them around.
I use dates in a variety of dishes. My all time favorite (which I can no longer do) is to stuff them with goat cheese and wrap them in bacon and throw them in the oven until the bacon is cooked. Yummy, right? I add them to my smoothies and ice cream for extra sweetness. I chop them up for savory or sweet dishes. And, of course, I make a date paste out of them :). You always want to make sure you pit and wash your dates before using them. If I think about it, I will soak mine over night. Put the dates in a bowl and cover them with filtered water. You will place them in the fridge over night. A sure fire, quick way to clean and soften them is to pour boiling water over them and let them rest for 15-20 minutes. The latter usually happens at my house.
What are some of your favorite ways to use dates? Do you have any tips or tricks for cooking with them?
- Dates, pitted
- Optional: salt and vanilla
- Option 1: Add dates to a bowl and cover with filtered water. Put the bowl in the fridge over night (or atleast 6 hours) to soak.
- Option 2: If you are short on time, boil enough water to cover the dates you will be soaking. Put the dates in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them until they are all covered. Let them soak for 15-20 minutes.
- Now that the dates are soft and clean you can begin the next step. Add the dates (sans the water, but it's ok if some does make it in) into a food processor with an s blade.
- Process on high. Routinely turn the machine off to scrap down the sides. You are wanting a smooth paste. I notice that the more dates I use, the smoother the paste becomes. The larger quantity makes it easier to blend.
- If you are having difficulty getting it smooth enough, you can add a little bit of the water from the soaked dates. This helps the date paste thin out a little. I prefer mine to be thicker. The flavor will be richer.
- Once the paste is smooth, you can add salt and vanilla to taste (if you like).
- Store in an air tight container in the fridge.
Here are a few recipes that will let you put this recipe to use: