Dates: Nutrition Facts

Calories in Dates and Their Health Benefits

Fresh & dried dates on green leaf
Maximilian Stock Ltd. / Getty Images

The fruit of the date plum tree, dates have been cultivated since ancient times. There are over 100 different varieties of date palm trees, which grow best in desert regions. Dates hang in large clusters on the trees and range in texture, from hard, dry varieties, through semi-dry types such as deglet noor, to large soft dates such as medjool dates.

Although dates appear to be dried, they are actually fresh fruits.

Fresh, whole dates contain only 30 percent moisture, making them one of nature's only naturally "dried fruit."

Widely known for their use in the treatment of constipation, dates may not get an attractive wrap. But dates are rich in fiber and carbohydrate. They can serve as a good source of energy and can be used healthfully in protein bar recipes, breakfast porridge, and snacks.

Dates can also be useful in adding moisture and sweetness to baked goods. They offer as a good alternative to processed sugar. For those people looking to modify their carbohydrate intake, dates may not be the best choice, as they are rich in carbohydrates, sugar, and high on the glycemic index chart. A food with a high glycemic index is thought to raise blood sugar quicker then another food that is lower on the chart.

Dates Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 date (8 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 23 
Calories from Fat 0 
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 54.45mg2%
Carbohydrates 6.2g2%
Dietary Fiber 0.7g3%
Sugars 5.3g 
Protein 0.2g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% · Iron 0%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

One date, measuring about one-to-two inches long, contains about 23 calories, 6.2 grams carbohydrate, 5.3 grams sugar and 0.7 grams fiber. If you have diabetes and experience a low blood sugar, consuming a few dates may help to bring your blood sugar to a normal level. On the other hand, if you are looking to reduce your carbohydrate intake and manage your blood sugars, eating dates may cause your blood sugars to rise.

Therefore, portion controlling your serving of dates is important.

Health Benefits of Dates 

Dates are a good source of fiber, about three grams in one serving (about three dates). Studies have shown that people who consume adequate amounts of fiber, are at healthier weights. A fiber rich diet can also help to regulate blood sugars, relieve constipation, and reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). Whenever you are increasing your fiber intake, it is important to increase you water intake concurrently. Not doing so can have the opposite affect and cause you to become constipated.

Common Questions About Dates 

What forms of dates are available for purchase? What are extruded dates?

Pitted dates can be purchased in package form: whole, chopped, or extruded. Extruded dates are coated with oat flour, rice flour or dextrose and are mainly used in baking. Date juice is also available for purchase and can be used in making baked goods or smoothies.

Picking and Storing Dates 

Although packaged dates, both pitted and un-pitted are available all year, the season for fresh dates is from October to December. Dates should appear plump, glossy and moist. They have a sticky-sweet, almost candied texture and rich flavor.

Fresh dates have already traveled from far to get to your grocery store, therefore they may be held for about one to two weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Dried, packaged dates can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for about 6 months or the refrigerator for up to a year.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Dates 

Dates provide flavor and moisture for baked goods, such as breads, muffins, cookies, and tarts. They can be served stuffed with meat or cheese as an appetizer or snack or served with dried fruits and nuts. Chopped dates can be added to yogurt, hot cereals, and protein bars.

To prevent sticking, you can dust your knife with flour.

In you'd like, substitute dates for raisins or apricots when conjuring up savory dishes, such as roasts.

Recipes With Dates

Typically used as an added all-natural sweetener, dates can also be used creatively in recipes. Stir up some delicious, protein, and fiber-rich recipes with dates.

Sources: 

California Dates. Health and Nutrition. http://www.datesaregreat.com/health-nutrition/

Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003: 803-804.

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