Apart from their sweet and delicious taste, dates are considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and both science and religion agree.
This chewy fruit of the date palm tree was believed to possess incredible healing properties since biblical times, and now scientists are catching up to confirm that our ancestors knew exactly what they were talking about.
As described in the Quran, the holy book of Islam, Allah instructed Virgin Mary to consume dates before she gave birth to Jesus. Today, dates are regularly given to pregnant women within the Islamic tradition.
Researchers at Jordan University of Science and Technology conducted an 11-month study in order to investigate the effect of date consumption on labor and birth outcomes. The study proved the following:
Improved Cervical Dilation: “The women who consumed date fruit had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers (3.52 cm vs 2.02 cm, p < 0.0005).”
Less Damage to Membranes: “[The intervention group had] a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes (83% vs 60%, p = 0.007).”
More Natural (Spontaneous) Labor: “Spontaneous labor occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers (p = 0.024).”
Less Drugs Required: “Use of prostin/oxytocin was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit consumers (47%) (p = 0.036).”
Shorter Labor: “The mean latent phase of the first stage of labor was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared with the non-date fruit consumers (510 min vs 906 min, p = 0.044).”
The study was published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the researchers concluded:
“It is concluded that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labor significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomised controlled trial.”
Besides being extremely beneficial to pregnant women, dates also provide these proven health benefits.
1. Regulate bad cholesterol
“If you have heart disease or you just want to keep your ticker healthy, you’ve probably heard the mantra already: “Watch your cholesterol!” The type that puts your heart at risk is LDL — the “bad” cholesterol.
It collects on the walls of your blood vessels, where it can cause blockages. Higher LDL levels put you at greater risk for a heart attack from a sudden blood clot that forms there.” (WebMD)
Dates are a rich source of potassium, and adding them to your diet can lower the levels of bad cholesterol and keep your heart safe.
2. Prevent Strokes
Dates are a rich source of potassium – an important mineral that helps prevent strokes and improves the health of the nervous system. A daily intake of 400mg of potassium effectively prevents strokes. A cup of dates (140g) contains 964mg of potassium.
3. Improves digestive health
Dates are found to be an excellent digestive tract balancer. The soluble fiber content in dates can help relieve constipation, and the potassium content can treat upset stomach and diarrhea. They also promote the growth of good bacteria.
4. Regulate blood pressure
The high potassium content in dates can help people who are suffering from high blood pressure. Dates are also a good source of magnesium which is an essential mineral for proper blood flow.
5. Treat and prevent Anemia
Anemia is a common issue amongst many people, especially children and pregnant women. Being an excellent source of iron, dates can effectively help treat anemia.
6. Energy boost
Dates are also rich in natural sugars, including fructose, glucose and sucrose. This makes dates a perfect afternoon snack for people who need a quick energy boost.
Note: Dates are very high in sugar, so try not to eat them in excessive amounts.
7. Control body weight
Dates are also cholesterol-free, so consuming them on an empty stomach can help prevent weight gain and control your body weight.
Important notice: This article is for informational purposes only, and the content herein should not be mistaken for professional health advice. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from a doctor and other health care professionals for serious health and beauty matters.