Dates — the superfood no one really pays attention to
09/12/2018 // Frances Bloomfield // Views

From garlic to salmon to quinoa, superfoods run the gamut from grocery aisle staples to exotic fare. There are all kinds of food that have been given this prestigious label, so much so that keeping track of all the superfoods can be somewhat challenging. One superfood that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves is the humble date.

These sweet, chewy fruits may not look like much, but they’re definitely worth including in your diet. Firstly, they're quite impressive in terms of nutritional content: Dates have a considerable amount of fiber and antioxidants. According to, a 3.5-ounce serving of dried dates contains almost seven grams of fiber. When you consider that men need at least 30 grams of fiber a day while women need at least 25, that’s a lot of fiber in so small a serving.

That same serving can also deliver a variety of important and beneficial antioxidants. The three most noteworthy antioxidants in dates are flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acid. Such a combination makes the fruits ideal for decreasing the risk of diabetes, eye disorders, and heart disease, to name a few. In fact, when you compare dates with similar fruits like plums and figs, dates stand out thanks to their antioxidant profile. (Related: Eating dates can reduce cancer, diabetes, and heart disease risk, without toxic drug side effects.)

What about vitamins and minerals? Dates have them, too. Potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, and vitamins A, B6, and K - dates have all of these nutrients in different amounts. Eating dates every day is a great and delicious way to meet your recommended daily intake of numerous vitamins and minerals. Just remember that dried dates are quite calorie dense, so if you’re watching the number of calories you eat in a day, consume dates in moderation.

Finally, what makes dates especially unique among superfoods is how they can benefit expecting mothers. Several studies have suggested that dates can improve the birthing process by encouraging natural labor. One such study involved having expecting mothers eat six dates every day in the four weeks leading up to their baby's estimated delivery dates. As per the researchers, almost all of the women experienced brief, natural labor with improved cervical dilation and less damaged membranes. They noted in their conclusion that there was a reduced need “for induction and augmentation of labor” due to these women's consumption of dates.

Some studies have attributed these effects to certain compounds binding with oxytocin receptors and copying their effects on the body. Oxytocin is a hormone that, in women, stimulates contractions in the uterine muscles to induce labor. Other studies credit tannins, which are also known to promote contractions. Whatever compounds are responsible, dates are a unique superfood that make for an excellent dietary addition for health-conscious people and expecting women.

And, just like other superfoods, dates are versatile enough that you can eat them as is or as part of your favorite meal. For instance, you can imbue your favorite salad or stew with all-natural sweetness by tossing in some chopped or sliced dates. Need a fast and tasty snack? After you’ve pitted some dates, why not stuff them with almonds or cheese? Alternatively, you could make dates a key ingredient in your favorite recipe for no-bake energy balls.

Diversify your diet even further by going to to discover other superfoods you can start eating today.

Sources include:

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