MEDJOOL Dates—the Fruit of Kings

Medjool dates are just one of hundreds of varieties of dates, but they’re the only one known as “the fruit of kings.” With a sweet, caramel taste and chewy texture, Medjool dates were originally eaten by royalty and found to fend off fatigue.

If you’re about to stop reading because you’re one of those folks who can’t stand dates (“The grainy texture is horrible…” and etc.), please stick with me. It’s Deglet dates that have the grainy texture, not Medjool. Give the whole idea of eating Medjool dates a chance.

But back on topic: Research shows the ancient energy-boosting claims are true. And they are loaded with health benefits. Here’s a quick list of all the nutrients Medjool Dates contain: selenium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, vitamins A and B. Simply put, Medjool dates are very high in antioxidants and fiber.

Their story goes on. Eextensive research shows other important health benefits. They lower risk of heart disease, their soluble fiber content lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol (their fiber binds with this cholesterol and prevents its absorption into your bloodstream. This keeps cholesterol’s fatty deposits from building up in your arteries, which reduces the risk of heart disease.)

Studies also show their soluble fiber helps control blood sugar levels and reduces blood pressure. And their antioxidants reduce triglycerides.

Also, these marvelous dates contain insoluble fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. Eating enough insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation and inflammation in the digestive tract. (Studies show insoluble fiber helps prevent colorectal cancer.)

And then there’s how they provide nervous system support. By weight, Medjool dates contain 50% more potassium than bananas. This essential mineral helps control heart rate, breathing, and muscular function. This benefit is particularly important because potassium deficiency is common — less than 2% of Americans meet the daily recommended value. (Low levels of potassium cause muscle weakness, fatigue, and irregular or weakened heartbeat.)

These dates also help improve metabolism due to their high content of B vitamins (such as pantothenic acid, folate, and niacin). These vitamins help manage metabolic processes that convert food to energy. Research shows this combats tiredness and fatigue.

Now here’s a biggie: Studies also show that dates reduce sugar absorption. This helps lower blood sugar levels, which aid in weight management and reduce the risk of diabetes.

There is one caution to eating dates, however. While they overflow with health benefits, Medjool dates are still high in calories, so moderation is the key approach when using them as a sugar substitute. I freeze some and will eat one or two after dinner when everyone else is indulging in dessert. They taste just like a creamy caramel this way.

And speaking of a sugar substitute, I’ll conclude with the subject of DATE PASTE. In my humble opinion, there’s no better sugar substitute. I mix it with plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt and I have a dessert as delicious as ice cream. I spread it over waffles and pancakes and don’t miss maple syrup one bit. I add it to my smoothies, hot oatmeal, and use it in my baking.

This is a phenomenal food and was my secret weapon to overcoming my sugar addiction. So now here for healthy dining pleasure is the super simple recipe for date paste! I hope you’ll give it a try and get back to me with your thoughts.

Date Paste

Yield: 2 cups


1 cup pitted Medjool dates
1 cup boiling water

Place dates and water in blender container. Allow dates to soak at least 1 hour. Blend until smooth. Remove paste to a lidded container. Store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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