It may surprise you to learn that the average date has only 23 calories. Five to six nutritious and delicious dates, or 1/4 cup of chopped dates, equals one serving. The National Cancer Institute recommends that you eat a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day for better health. This recommendation is part of a low-fat, high-fiber diet to help reduce the risk of some types of cancer. A handful of dates will help you meet the five-a-day goal. It's easy to remember: 5 A Day for Better Health!
Dates are a sweet and good source of dietary fiber. Many studies show that diets low in fat and high in fiber-containing foods are associated with reduced risks of some types of cancer.
The National Cancer Institute recommends that you consume 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber per day. Dates are a "good source" of fiber. A serving of power-packed dates, just five to six of them, can help you meet this daily recommendation by providing three grams of dietary fiber. This is 14% of your recommended daily intake of dietary fiber.
Fiber comes in two forms—soluble and insoluble. Each serves a valuable function. Insoluble fiber increases the rate at which food moves through the digestive system. Soluble fiber may help control diabetes by decreasing elevated blood glucose levels. Soluble fiber also has been found to help lower serum cholesterol levels, particularly undesirable low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
A serving of dates contains 31 grams of carbohydrates, making them a powerhouse of energy. The carbohydrates found in dates, including three grams of dietary fiber and 29 grams of naturally-occurring sugars, such as fructose, glucose, and sucrose, provide quick energy and are readily assimilated into and used by the body. This makes dates a perfect choice as an energy-boosting snack.
Potassium is an essential mineral needed by your body to maintain muscle contractions, including the vital heart muscle. Potassium is also needed to maintain a healthy nervous system and to help with the body's metabolism. This is an important consideration for physically active people because the body's supply of potassium can be reduced through perspiration.
Eating dates and drinking water is an ideal, natural way to replenish the body's need for potassium. One serving of dates contains 240 milligrams of potassium, or 7% of the recommended daily value (DV), of this essential nutrient. In fact, weight for weight, dates contain more potassium than do bananas.
Dates contain a variety of B-complex vitamins. They contain thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins have a variety of functions that help maintain a healthy body.
They help metabolize carbohydrates and maintain blood glucose levels and fatty acids for energy. They also help make hemoblogin, the red and white blood cells.
Magnesium is essential for healthy bone development and energy metabolism. One serving of dates provides 4% of the suggested daily intake of this essential nutrient.
Foods are quite often nutritious because of what they do not have. Fruits, such as dates, are important both for what they supply and for what they do not supply. Dates are sodium-free, fat-free, and cholesterol-free.
Dates provide a great tasting snack food or recipe ingredient that will not add any sodium to your diet. Most Americans consume more sodium that the recommended amount of no more than 2,400 to 3,000 milligrams per day. Consuming too much sodium may increase the risk of heart disease and hypertension.
Combine dates, banana and orange juice in blender and purée until dates are finely chopped.
Add yogurt and ice; blend until just combined.
Nutrition (per serving)
Combine all ingredients except ice cream in blender and purée until dates are finely chopped.
Add ice cream; blend until just combined.
Nutrition (per serving)
Provided by California Dates
Another Date Shake Recipe
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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This page modified February 2007
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