Medjool dates are the fruit offered by the date palms (Phoenix dactylifera). It stands out above other varieties of dates, since it is juicier, tender and sweet. It comes from Iraq and ancient Persia, although today it is cultivated in many regions such as North Africa, the United States or Mexico.
This food is often associated with dehydrated fruits such as prunes or raisins. However, the date is a fresh fruit that is ripened and dried on the plant itself. After this, you don’t need any processing before packaging and selling. However, there are candied dates and other preparations on the market.
With a flavor similar to caramel, these give a lot of play in the kitchen, since they combine well in savory and sweet preparations. They can be used in salads, fruit salads, cakes or a myriad of canapes and appetizers. Do you want to know more about its nutritional value and its benefits? Then we share all the details.
According to the main food databases, several components such as fiber, B vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and phosphorus stand out in dates. In particular, each 100 grams of Medjool date contains the following:
- Water: 21.3 grams.
- Energy: 277 calories.
- Protein: 1.81 grams.
- Fat: 0.15 grams.
- Carbohydrates: 75 grams.
- Fiber: 6.7 grams.
- Calcium: 64 milligrams.
- Potassium: 696 milligrams.
- Magnesium: 54 milligrams.
- Phosphorus: 92 milligrams.
- Niacin: 1.61 milligrams.
Benefits of consuming Medjool dates
Due to all its characteristics, the habitual intake of dates has positive effects for the organism. However, it should be remembered that this is only useful when consumption is carried out within a balanced and healthy diet.
1. It is a natural sweetener
Using dates in some preparations adds a sweet flavor while taking advantage of all its nutrients. For this reason, they are also one of the best options to eat when you feel like something sweet. Thus, other products such as sweets or chocolate snacks are avoided.
2. Increases energy
Dates provide a good amount of sugars and carbohydrates that the body can use for energy. Because of this, they can help in many circumstances; for example, in convalescent people, growing children or diets with a high demand for calories.
In addition, consuming dates is a comfortable and healthy option before and after workouts, or as a snack on excursions and sports activities.
3. Prevents constipation and supports the digestive process
Increasing the consumption of dietary fiber is one of the recommendations to prevent and treat constipation. On the one hand, it favors the passage of feces through the intestinal tract, while providing viscosity and volume.
Now, if intestinal transit problems are persistent or present with abdominal pain, it is essential to see a doctor.
4. Provides antioxidants
Dates are an interesting source of antioxidants, mostly carotenes, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds. They are usually more concentrated in the seeds than in the pulp.
The main function of these components is to protect the body against the action of free radicals. When they are in excess, they can lead to the appearance of some diseases, such as cardiovascular problems, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes or cancer.
5. Improves cardiovascular health
Both the fiber and the antioxidants present in this fruit are positive for the heart. The consumption of dietary fiber from cereals, fruits or vegetables is inversely related to the risk of coronary heart disease.
This is possible by different mechanisms. On the one hand, it improves the blood lipid profile (less LDL cholesterol and triglycerides) and insulin sensitivity. In addition, it lowers blood pressure and has fibrinolytic action.
Possible risks and consumption recommendations
Dates are a safe and healthy food for the entire general population, including children and the elderly. To consume without the risk of choking, it is necessary to remove the bone before eating it.
However, these are not without some negative effects. The first recommendation is to consume them in moderation, whether they are eaten alone or added to any preparation.
A high intake could lead to excess calories. In addition, if they are eaten in large quantities, they can displace the consumption of other necessary foods, such as fresh fruits.
Medjool dates contain a significant amount of potassium. For this reason, they may be inconvenient in people with hyperkalemia or kidney problems. In these cases, it is advisable to consult a specialist about the recommended amounts.
Similarly, there is the possibility of having allergic reactions to dates. This can manifest with swelling of the tongue, itching, redness or a runny nose. If this happens it is necessary to stop consumption and go to the doctor.
How can you eat and cook Medjool dates?
The Medjool date is a large, sweet and fleshy fruit, which many people liken to a bonbon. Therefore, it is not really necessary to prepare it or add other ingredients to enjoy its flavor. The first recommendation is to eat it alone, as a snack or a natural treat.
In recent years it has even become a common substitute for sugar and other sweeteners. Whole or crushed it is used to make shakes, brownies, cookies, energy bars and all kinds of sweets and desserts.
It is also very rich when combined with savory ingredients. Cut into small pieces, it gives salads and vegetable creams an extraordinary contrast. For inspiration, these are some of the options that exist to enjoy them in the kitchen:
- Stuffed dates to prepare appetizers, desserts or snacks: with fresh cheese, sausage, walnuts, dark chocolate or peanut butter.
- Sweet preparations: coconut date balls, brownie, oatmeal cookies, plum-cakes.
- Oatmeal porridge with apple and cinnamon.
- Dressings and sauces for pasta or salads.
- To cook chicken and all kinds of meats.
Medjool date: healthy, nutritious and delicious
All these characteristics of the fruit of the date palm make it a perfect food to introduce in the day to day. Its moderate consumption is positive and has beneficial effects on the body.
Compared to other varieties, it is thicker, smoother and sweeter. It is a very versatile fruit that combines well in many preparations, although it can also be eaten alone. When buying them, it is important to read the label and avoid those with added sugar or oils.
They keep well in the pantry, but they dry easily. In the refrigerator they last longer in perfect condition. One of its possible handicaps is the price, which is higher than that of other varieties of dates. Despite this, it is worth investing in them, as they are large and with one or two units is usually enough.