The impressive benefits of medjool dates include their ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improve bone-mineral density, protect cognition, and boost metabolism. Medjool dates also ensure proper hormone production, optimize digestion, and help with normal growth and development.
What are Medjool Dates?
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 on the cultivar. Medjool dates are often called the king of dates, due to their global availability, and are also the “soft” variety of dates, 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, but fresh dates are available in some import stores and markets in the regions where dates grow.
Although these trees are likely 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. A majority of dates, however, are still produced in the Middle East and exported. They are not only nutritionally dense fruits but also have a long shelf life in their dried form. The nutrients that provide the many health benefits of Medjool dates include dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, B family vitamins, vitamin A, magnesium, and calcium.
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 find relief from poor digestion, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, hormone issues, low metabolism, constipation, wound healing, growth and development, vision health, and poor nutrient uptake.
Aid in Digestion
One of the best things about Medjool dates is their high dietary fiber content. A single serving of dates contains more than 6 grams of dietary fiber, roughly 20-25% of your daily required intake, depending on your gender. Dietary fiber is also crucial for 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 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.
The B vitamins present in medjool dates, such as niacin, pantothenic acid, and folic acid, are very important for regulating the metabolism, including over 300 different metabolic processes that go on within our body every single day. Copper is also found in high levels within these dates, which can increase iron absorption and contribute to energy generation within the body.
Regulate Nutrient Uptake
By improving digestion, medjool dates can ensure that the digestive process is efficient. The significant levels of copper and calcium also improve the bioavailability of iron and potassium, which further improves health.
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.
High levels of dietary fiber are always good for people with high cholesterol. While dates are high in calories and are not the best recommendation for someone who is obese, medjool can definitely aid in digestion, control cholesterol levels, and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
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.
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.
Medjool dates contain notable levels of magnesium, manganese, copper, and calcium, all of which are required to improve bone mineral density in the body. So, adding these essential minerals to your snacks will help make your bones stronger and improve your overall health.
Calories in Medjool Dates
In terms of calories, Medjool dates are quite dense, because there is little water in these fruits. A date, on average, weighs about 1 ounce and contains roughly 66 calories. The average serving size is about 4 dates, roughly 100 grams, totally an average of 282 calories. While this is quite high and represents nearly 1/8 of most people’s calorie intake for the day, this same serving also provides more than 6 grams of fiber and a wealth of other nutrients.
Word of Caution – If you are trying to lose weight or suffering from diabetes, medjool dates may not be the best idea, but when eaten in moderation, the health benefits certainly outweigh the risks. Generally, these fruits are considered to be very good for overall health when consumed in moderation.