Dates are a very popular fruit, which is grown in various tropical world regions. They’re usually sold dried in Western countries and can be consumed in a wide variety of ways, mostly on their own as a snack.
Dates are sweet and chewy but loaded with many minerals and vitamins. They also contain some iron, but is it enough to help you reach your daily need for this nutrient? So, are dates high in iron?
Are dates high in iron?
Dates contain some iron, but not a lot. Then again, dates contain other essential nutrients that, along with the iron they contain, may help in preventing anemia and iron deficiency. Dates also provide you with a good dose of other vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that contribute to good health and wellbeing. Because of that, they make for a great addition to a varied diet.
How much iron is in dates?
A half-cup serving of Deglet Noor dates contains 0.8 mg of iron. This isn’t a lot, considering how many calories a single serving of dates contains.
On the bright side, this fruit contains a good amount of nutrients and several plant compounds that help keep you healthy and prevent anemia as well. As a result, even small amounts of dates can help you get some great benefits, aside from iron.
A half-cup serving of another variety of dates, Medjool, contains 0.7 mg of iron. While it might be slightly lower in iron than its counterpart, this variety is significantly higher in copper and vitamin B6.
These two nutrients are found in trace amounts in Deglet Noor dates, but the Medjool variety is a great source of them.
It’s also worth noting that while dates may not contain high amounts of iron, they’re actually some of the best fruit sources of this mineral.
You’re also more likely to consume more fresh dates than some other fruit, thus getting more iron than you might initially think.
Dates are also very easy to add to any diet since they can be consumed as a snack, added to various dishes, and turned into a paste, further increasing the iron content of these foods.
Are dates healthy?
Dates are quite calorie-dense, but they still contain a good amount of various nutrients. For example, dates pack a good amount of fiber.
This type of carbohydrate helps you feel full after a meal, feed the ‘good’ gut bacteria, and even soak up excess stomach acid.
This prevents various symptoms of acid reflux and keeps your digestive system healthy and clear of any diseases and viruses.
A single serving of dates is also an excellent source of potassium. This mineral helps offset the negative effects of a high dietary sodium intake.
Because of that, consuming foods rich in potassium aids in lowering blood pressure, preventing strokes, and keeping your cardiovascular system healthy. Potassium is also responsible for muscle contractions and nerve signals, so ensuring appropriate amounts of this mineral is very important.
Aside from heart health, eating dates may also improve brain health and cognitive function.
Certain studies show that dates contain anti-inflammatory compounds that help decrease your risk of developing neurogenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. The same compounds may also improve your learning abilities and memory as long as you add them to your diet on a regular basis.
These health benefits might also have something to do with the powerful antioxidants that dates contain.
Dates are also especially high in several antioxidants that help your body fight diseases and oxidative damage to your cells and tissues. For example, dates contain carotenoids which help promote heart health and prevent various eye-related disorders.
The antioxidants in dates also have anti-inflammatory properties, which are very beneficial for the health of your digestive system.
A yet another interesting benefit that eating dates can provide you with is inducing labor. Some studies show that eating dates during the last few weeks of pregnancy can help with cervical dilation and even reduce labor time.
While more research needs to be done to confirm this, many women have used this natural remedy to feel better before, during, and after labor successfully.
Adding dates to your diet can also help lower your intake of sugar and artificial sweeteners. Dates can act as a natural sweetener, as they contain fructose instead of glucose.
This fruit has a caramel-like taste and can be made into a paste that can be added to various recipes, such as cakes, pies, and even sauces. There are various recipes for date paste online, and they’re not only healthier than white sugar but also more nutritious.
Can you take in too much iron from dates?
Dates contain very little iron, so you can’t take in too much of this mineral by adding them to your diet. Because of that, you have to include other iron-rich foods in your diet as it’s an essential mineral for good health.
What’s more, the type of iron in dates is called non-heme iron, which is harder for your body to absorb. So, it’s a good idea to consume foods containing non-heme iron along with foods rich in vitamin C as it aids in iron absorption.
On the bright side, aside from non-heme iron, dried dates contain some vitamin C and other plant nutrients that have been proven to improve the symptoms of anemia and prevent iron deficiency.
Because of that, if you’re looking to consume dates for these reasons, it’s best to choose dried dates instead of fresh ones. But if you choose dried dates, make sure to control how many you consume as they’re much higher in calories than fresh dates.
Dates are a healthy fruit, and, depending on the variety, they contain various amounts of iron. If you’re looking to consume this fruit for its iron content, it’s best to choose dried dates as they’re the highest in this mineral.
Aside from that, dates in all of their forms are high in essential plant compounds that can help you stay healthy, so they make for a great addition to any healthy, balanced diet.