9 Incredible Health Benefits of Medjool Dates

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Medjool dates are the fruit of the Medjool cultivar of date palm trees, scientifically known as Phoenix dactylifera. This tree has been cultivated for thousands of years for its sweet fruit–the date–which contains a single stone, and ranges in color from red to yellow when ripe, depending upon the cultivar.

The impressive benefits of Medjool dates help to increase cardiovascular health, provide nutrients to promote bone-mineral density, help with growth and development, and optimize digestion.

What Are Medjool Dates?

Medjool dates are often called the king of dates, due to their global availability, and are also the “soft” variety of dates, as compared to semi-dry or dry varieties. Dates are usually elongated in shape, up to 7 cm long and 3 cm wide, and often have a wrinkled or dehydrated appearance. Most varieties of dates available in stores are dried, however, fresh dates can be found in some import stores and markets in the regions where dates grow.

Although these trees are native to the region of Iraq and ancient Persia, they are now widely grown around the world, from Spain and North Africa to Mexico and the United States. The majority of dates, however, are still produced in the Middle East and exported around the world. Dates are not only nutritionally dense fruits but also have a long shelf life in their dried form.

A wooden bowl of dried medjool dates on a wooden table

Nutrition Facts

Dates, medjool
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]21.32
Energy [kcal]277
Protein [g]1.81
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.15
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]74.97
Fiber, total dietary [g]6.7
Sugars, total [g]66.47
Calcium, Ca [mg]64
Iron, Fe [mg]0.9
Magnesium, Mg [mg]54
Phosphorus, P [mg]62
Potassium, K [mg]696
Sodium, Na [mg]1
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.44
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]0
Thiamin [mg]0.05
Riboflavin [mg]0.06
Niacin [mg]1.61
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.25
Folate, DFE [µg]15
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]7
Vitamin A, IU [IU]149
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]2.7
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Sources include : USDA

Medjool Dates Nutrition

According to the USDA Nutrient Database, Medjool dates are rich dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, B- family vitamins, vitamin A, magnesium, and calcium. Medjool dates provide energy, and key minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It also contains B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and vitamin B6), vitamin K, vitamin A, sodium, and iron.

Wow – no wonder people look to these fruits for instant energy and nutrition!

Medjool Dates vs. Regular Dates

The biggest difference between Medjool dates and “regular” dates is that they come from different cultivars of the same plant. Medjool dates are picked early in their ripening season, when they are quite soft, which is why they are included in the “soft” category of dates, along with other cultivars, such as Barhee and Halawy. The other common form of dates, here referred to as “regular”, are Deglet Noor dates, which fall in the semi-dry category of dates.

In terms of nutrition, Medjool dates are almost identical to Deglet Noor dates, although the latter tend to have more dietary fiber and less beta-carotene, as well as more lutein, fat, and protein. The largest difference is their consistency; Medjool dates are squishy and easier to eat, while Deglet Noors often have to be soaked in water before they are edible.

Health Benefits of Medjool Dates

People who regularly consume Medjool dates may find relief from maldigestion, elevated blood pressure, and cholesterol, constipation, and other ailments.

Aids in Digestion

One of the best benefits of Medjool dates is their high dietary fiber content, according to research published in the journal Critical Review in Food Science and Nutrition. A single serving of dates contains more than 6 grams of dietary fiber, roughly 20-25 percent of the daily recommended intake, depending upon your gender. Dietary fiber is crucial for the proper functioning of the digestive tract. Fiber can help eliminate constipation by stimulating peristaltic motion and regulating bowel movements. This can also help relieve hemorrhoids, bloating, cramping, and general stomach upset.

Regulate Blood Pressure

The notable potassium levels in Medjool dates mean that they may have a positive effect on blood pressure. Potassium is a vasodilator, so it is able to relieve tension in blood vessels and arteries, which can ease the strain on the cardiovascular system and reduce your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.

Boost Metabolism

B vitamins, such as niacin, pantothenic acid, and folic acid, are very important for regulating the metabolism, including over 300 different metabolic processes that occur within our body every single day. Medjool dates contain a healthy amount of this vitamin, as well as copper, found in high levels and can increase iron absorption and contribute to energy generation within the body. In this study, Dr. Praveen Kumar Vayalile of the University of Alabama reveals the immunostimulant properties they also contain.

Improve Vision

Medjool dates contain beta-carotene, which can be converted into vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that is particularly effective in eye care. Vitamin A has been associated with lower levels of macular degeneration, slow development of cataracts, and lesser oxidative stress in the retina.

Reduce Cholesterol

High levels of dietary fiber are considered beneficial for people with high cholesterol. According to a study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry dates also possess antiatherogenic properties in healthy populations. They have been shown to help aid in digestion, control cholesterol levels, and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

However, dates are high in calories and must be eaten sparingly for those who are not an ideal weight so as not to contribute to obesity (comorbidity of heart disease).

Regulate Hormones

Manganese is often an overlooked essential mineral required by the body, even though it has a number of key effects on hormone production and regulation. Medjool dates have this mineral in abundance. It is essential, specifically for the production of sex hormones. As part of a healthy diet, the nutrient obtained from dates may help maintain hormone levels.

Promote Growth

The protein level in Medjool dates is not impressively high, but in combination with calcium, potassium, and magnesium, it is known to boost growth and ensure proper development, particularly in children or when recovering from an injury or extended illness.

Strengthen Bones

Medjool dates contain notable levels of magnesium, manganese, copper, and calcium, all of which are vital nutrients to maintain bone mineral density in the body. So, incorporating more of these essential minerals into your diet via dates may help strengthen and improve your overall bone health.

Calories in Medjool Dates

Medjool dates are quite calorically dense because there is little water in these fruits. One date, on average, weighs about 1 ounce and contains roughly 66 calories. The average serving size is about 4 dates or roughly 100 grams, totaling an average of 282 calories. While this is quite a high amount of calories for a snack and represents nearly one-eighth of most people’s calorie intake for the day, this same serving also provides more than six grams of fiber and a wealth of other nutrients.

Word of Caution – If you are trying to lose weight or dealing with diabetes, Medjool dates should be eaten in moderation. This way, the health benefits will certainly outweigh the risks. Generally, these fruits are considered to be very good for overall health when consumed in moderation.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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