Mmm, dates – those small, shriveled, and sweet punches of deliciousness! But did you know dates are some of the healthiest fruits found in nature and that you can use their natural dehydrated form as a healthy substitute for brown sugar?
Indeed, the health benefits of dates are simply short of incredible, as they have some of the most concentrated natural sugar content (cellular energy source) out of all fruits found in nature. This makes them incredibly nutritious, hydrating and energizing, given that simple sugars feed all our cells with fuel and nutrition, aiding the active and metabolic processes as well as contributing to healing degeneration.
Their caramel, buttery sweetness also makes them the ideal pick-me-up afternoon snack and a healthy alternative to making desserts free from processed sugar.
Dates contain many essential nutrients and provide numerous health benefits, including lowering blood sugar levels, improving brain health, easing natural labor and duration, aiding in weight management, and promoting regular bowel movements.
Read on to learn more about the amazing benefits and nutrition of dates and how they can even help alleviate and treat painful and debilitating diseases!
All About Dates and Why They’re So Good For You
Fresh dates come from the date palm tree that grows in sunny arid and semi-arid regions of the world with long dry summers and minimal humidity. Most dates come from the Middle East and North Africa, with pockets of growth in West Africa, Southwestern and Western United States, Australia, and Namibia.
It takes date palms 6-8 years to grow their first fruits, which they continue producing for up to 100 years of their approximate lifespan. The date palms are either male or female, with the males producing pollen and the females the date fruits.
In nature, the female palm trees are pollinated by wind and insects with the male pollen, but due to the demand of production, many date palm farms are using their own pollination, growth and harvesting methods that can speed up and make the growth process more efficient.
Generally, the harvesting process of dates is quite laborious, as dates are harvested in high summer temperatures (some reaching up to 120F) and require either high ladder or forklift harvesting.
Most harvest workers also have to wear long clothes that cover their skin and faces from the immense summer heat and sun exposure. It is quite the work to bring these sweet delicacies to the consumer – but it is truly worth it given the health return on investment!
The Incredible Nutrition of Dates
Dates are high in potassium and magnesium, and this makes them incredibly cleansing and strengthening for the kidneys. They are also high in dietary fiber and natural sugars, which are essential for healthy digestion and brain function.
In fact, dates are incredibly beneficial for the brain and the nervous system due to their high nutritional and simple sugar content that feeds the brain with energy.
This is why they are known to be one of the top foods that protect against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, which combats the progression of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. The study points to the fact that “the mechanisms of protection may be related to the antioxidant activities of their phenolic constituents.”
Dates also contain calcium and iron, making them the perfect food for pregnant women, as they promote natural labor, late-term labor as well as reduce labor duration.
Likewise, regular date consumption has been linked to heart health and blood sugar control due to their high content of electrolytes and iron.
You can also eat dates regularly for their anti-inflammatory properties found in their calcium and electrolyte content, which eliminate free radicals, boost energy, and promote healthy bones.
The Proven Health Benefits of Dates
Dates provide the body with nutrition as well as alkaline chemistry which combats oxidative stress and improves many underlying inflammatory and chronic conditions. Here are just some of the health benefits of dates. By enjoying as few as 2 dates per day, you can experience:
- increase bone health and density
- improve digestive health
- reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease
- minimize weight gain
- promote heart health
- minimize cardiovascular disease
- ease natural labor and birth recovery
- boost brain health
- reverse inflammation
- improve kidney and colon function
- increase positive mood and lessen anxiousness
- enable better lymph and blood circulation
Below is a great video that shows you precisely what your body will go through if you eat 2 dates per day for one week. Pretty fascinating, right?
Why You Should Replace Processed Sugar With Date Sugar
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels
The health benefits of dates are many, and as discussed previously, their high simple sugar content is one of the most important nutritional values of the fruit, making it a very healthy substitute for brown sugar, molasses, and other “healthier” forms of processed sugar.
And despite what the mainstream health discourse propagates about all sugar being bad for health, in actuality, sugars found in fresh fruit help assist in many health conditions by providing energy to core cells and tissues responsible for detoxification and regeneration.
Dates make for a wonderful natural sweetener, and unlike processed table sugar – or sucrose – that dehydrates the body, robs it of energy, and causes inflammation, simple sugars in fruit do quite the opposite.
If you have a sweet tooth and find it hard to quit sugar, dates, and figs are the perfect snacks to help you replace processed sugars with natural sugars!
You really don’t have to sacrifice taste but simply have to be more strategic in which products you buy and how to use dried or powdered dates and figs in dessert recipes. Date paste makes cooking and baking easier and is a great alternative to jam and molasses.
My favorite source for sweetening drinks, snacks, and desserts is date sugar. The reason date sugar is one of the healthiest and most quality sugars you can buy is that it is not extracted from dates through heating and chemical extraction that eliminates other nutrition and enzymes, but it simply dries the dates and crumbles them into small sugar granules.
This process does not denature their nutritional content and does not change the chemical composition of fructose.
Therefore, date sugar the nature’s best healthy substitute for brown sugar on the market today. By investing in natural sugar substitutes that come from dried fruits, you can still eat “sweetly” and see your body and health turn around significantly!
Date sugar is rich in antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, and niacin, and unlike processed sugar and other natural sugars that are heated at high temperatures and change the whole food’s chemical composition, date sugar is simply granulated dates that retain most of dates’ nutritional value.
Whereas using brown sugar will still cause an inflammatory response in the body due to its processed nature, consuming date sugar will actually make you healthier. Even their calories and carbohydrates are actually good for you and nourish your cells with energy and alkaline chemistry!
My Love Affair With Dates
I have been a big fan of dates for some time, especially since I changed my diet from vegetarian to vegan about 5 years ago. This change coincided with the important decision to cut out all processed sugar and to look for healthy sweet alternatives.
Today, I incorporate dates as part of my breakfast and as a quick afternoon snack. I usually make a banana breakfast that includes a few cut-up bananas, chopped-up dates and figs, cinnamon/clove/cardamom powders, flax seeds, and top it off with tahini. It’s my favorite breakfast staple, and I’ve been eating it for years! It is absolutely delicious and keeps me full until mid-afternoon lunch.
I also really enjoy eating dates when drinking tea and my occasional decaf coffee. In fact, since dates are full of iron, calcium, and electrolytes and can offset much of the acidic chemistry of coffee, as coffee is known to leach electrolytes from the body and cause dehydration.
And, it’s not just I who adores dates – my whole family does! In fact, my sister created a small business selling stuffed, chocolate-covered dates in Arizona a few years back called Little Joys. I was a part of the dessert-making process (reflecting back on some “sweet” memories), helping her make them and sell them to local vendors. And, guess what? Little Joys were a big hit with customers!
If dates or date sugar are not a part of your diet, you are absolutely missing out! Whatever your lifestyle, enjoying a few dates, date paste, or date sugar with your tea or coffee or as a sweetener for your meals and desserts will not only help you cut out processed sugar cravings but will also contribute positively toward your healthier lifestyle goals.
Dates are one of the most nutritious fruits found in nature and are the ideal healthy substitute for brown sugar – they even taste like it! I truly recommend that you integrate them into your diet if you’re looking to experience more vitality in your life.
In fact, eating dates helps facilitate better toxin elimination from the kidneys and the bowels, making them a super-food when it comes to detoxification. For optimal healing benefits, I suggest including them in any fruit-based detoxification protocol.
And if you are suffering from any chronic illness, know that detoxification is essential to reclaiming your health. The first step is to reverse inflammation by alkalizing the body, then purging obstructions and toxins from major organs, and finally, regenerating (rebuilding) cells and tissues.
This insightful article I wrote about body inflammation will show you precisely which lifestyle and dietary habits to eliminate to reverse inflammation and regenerate the body!