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Dates are exceptionally delicious, sweet, and rich in vitamins and minerals. They are praised for their nutritional profile and are anything but lacking in taste. However, their uses are often underappreciated, as the exotic fruit is often eaten as it is or unacknowledged for its health benefits. Learn about the ten benefits of dates and open your mind up to a slew of sweet possibilities!

Originally from the Persian Gulf region, dates have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt. Arabs helped to spread the fruit through South East Asia, northern Africa, Spain, and Italy. Eventually, it was the Spaniards who introduced dates to Mexico and California. Today, dates can be found just about anywhere but really hold strong cultural ties to the Middle East.

Dates are a superfood and will improve your life in more ways than one. Read and discover ten delicious benefits of dates that go quite beyond the ordinary.

1. Caramel Sauce

Instead of cooking sugar down until it oozes into a caramel sauce, why not make the beloved ice-cream topping out of nutritious ingredients? The following simple recipe uses dates and coconut milk to create a thick, creamy sauce that can be enjoyed hot or cold!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • Dash of salt

Directions

Pit the dates and combine with the coconut milk in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer, mixing constantly until the color deepens and excess water has evaporated. Mix all in the food processor to remove any chunks and you’re done!

2. Stroke Risk Reduction

Among its many other nutritional properties, dates are full of magnesium. In 100 grams of the fruit, there are 54 milligrams of magnesium, which makes up 14 percent of the recommended daily allowance. According to one study linking magnesium to stroke risk, the results were positive: dietary magnesium intake is inversely associated with the risk of stroke, specifically ischemic stroke.

3. Digestion and Weight Loss

Regularity is central to maintaining colon health and a healthy body weight. Dates contain 27 percent of the recommended daily allowance of fiber in a 100-gram serving. This fiber is insoluble and soluble and helps to clear out the gastrointestinal track and improve digestive efficiency.

4. Savory Complement

Just because dates are sweet doesn’t mean they are restricted to being paired with sweet ingredients appropriate for breakfast or dessert. Enjoy the versatility of the fruit by preparing a sweet-savory concoction, such as this recipe for Organic Dates With Goat Cheese Wrapped In Prosciutto. Or, fry them. Have fun and get experimental!

5. Healthy Pregnancy and Delivery

In a study of pregnant women over the span of one year, researchers found that among the 69 women consuming dates – 6 per day – about 4 weeks prior to their estimated date of delivery reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor and produced more positive delivery outcome. These results were compared to those of 45 women who did not consume dates.

6. Sugar Replacement

Instead of adding sugar to your food, use dates! Naturally sweet, dates are the perfect addition to desserts, chunky or mashed. I like making cupcakes with either date-based frosting or with chunks of dates in the batter. It not only makes each bite more interesting and textured but also does your body some good! For a sweet morning smoothie without starting the day off on white sugar, add a few pitted dates to the mix.

7. Anemia Treatment

In 100 grams of dates there is 5 percent of the recommended daily allowance of iron. This is good news for those who suffer from anemia as the iron helps to create red blood cells.

8. Brain Health

Dates contain 12 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6 in a 100 gram serving. Vitamin B6 has been linked to improved brain performance and better test scores.

9. Aphrodisiac

Dates are considered an aphrodisiac for women. Since the time of Cleopatra, dates have been a symbol of feminine sweetness. In Iran, they are suggested for those whose sex lives are waning. Perhaps their impressive nutritional profile is responsible for this – they are packed with amino acids for sexual stamina and fruity sugars to pump up the energy!

10. Anti-Inflammatory

Dates’ magnesium content is also important in providing the body with powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. One study showed that the inflammatory indicators were all reduced with magnesium intake. This is an extremely valuable takeaway, as inflammation can lead to other serious ailments, such as cardiovascular disease arthritis, and Alzheimer’s, among others.

Image: Itinerant Tightwad