Home Health 6 Ways Medjool Dates Can Make You Healthier—and How to Eat More of Them – Real Simple

6 Ways Medjool Dates Can Make You Healthier—and How to Eat More of Them – Real Simple

10 min read

Medjool dates are a crown jewel of the produce aisle. Native to Morocco and once reserved as a delicacy for Moroccan royalty and their guests, the "king of dates" comes from the date palm tree and is grown in warm regions of the United States, as well as parts of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. They have been dubbed "nature's candy" for having a semi-soft flesh that is similar in texture and taste to delicious, chewy caramel. 
"Medjool dates are known for their sweetness, making them an excellent snack or substitute for white sugar in recipes. They also provide an antioxidant and fiber boost," says Claudia Thompson, PhD, RD, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for Zenwise.
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Read on to learn more about the benefits of this sweet superfruit, as well as tips for how you can use Medjool dates to take your snack and entertaining game to the next level.
According to Thompson, a 3.5 ounce serving of Medjool dates provides 20 percent of the recommended daily intake of potassium. “Potassium is one of the most essential minerals present in the human body. It regulates fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals,” she notes. “When potassium levels are low, it impacts major bodily functions, leading to low energy levels, muscle cramps, and both physical and mental fatigue.”
That same 3.5 ounce serving packs 7 grams of fiber, which Thompson says is crucial in helping regulate the digestive system and maintaining normal bowel health. “The daily recommended dietary fiber intake is 25 to 30 grams for helping clean out bacteria and buildup in the intestines and lower unhealthy cholesterol levels,” she explains, noting that adding a digestive enzyme may help with gas or bloating that can arise from an increase in fiber.
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Magnesium makes up 14 percent of a typical Medjool date, which Thompson points out is an important mineral for the human body and brain. “It regulates muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure,” she says. “It’s also crucial for protein synthesis in the body.”
Thompson also notes that the average Medjool date contains about 18 percent copper, which helps ensure your body gets enough iron. “Copper is essential for the human body because it contributes to iron absorption, and together these minerals function to allow the body to form red blood cells,” she says. “Copper also helps our bodies maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function.”
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You can also benefit from an antioxidant boost by adding Medjool dates to your diet. “Antioxidants help eliminate radicals from cells and DNA, and reduce the damage caused by oxidation,” according to Thompson. “Diets high in antioxidants may also reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”
Last, but certainly not least, Medjool dates contain vitamin B6, which benefits the central nervous system and metabolism. “Vitamin B6 in the body functions to convert food into energy and helps to produce serotonin and dopamine,” Thompson says. “Vitamin B6 is one of eight key B vitamins that are crucial in supporting proper cell function. When Vitamin B6 levels fall, people react with skin rashes, weakened immune systems, low energy levels, and more.”
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Ready to start incorporating Medjool dates into your diet? Luckily, it's very easy to do because the sweet fruits are incredibly versatile and work well in many different dishes. For example, Medjool dates are perfect for blending in a smoothie if you want to add some sweetness to your drink, and they also make a flavorful addition to an otherwise boring salad.
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Just remember, you'll want to space out this sweet treat. "Medjool dates are high in sugar so, as with any food, finding a balance is key to maximizing their nutritional benefits," Thompson says.
Read on for recipes that incorporate this small but nutritious fruit.
Try starting your day with this healthy drink, which uses whole milk, pitted dates, and ice to create a frothy beverage that tastes just like a milkshake, but is much better for you.
Need a midday energy boost? These bars boast a Medjool date and walnut base, and get a flavorful injection from ingredients like tahini, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon and cardamom, which draw out the caramel notes in the dates.
This popular appetizer is the perfect balance of sweet and savory, and is great if you need to throw something delicious together in a pinch. The goat cheese in this recipe adds a creamy texture you didn’t know you needed.
Bacon and dates are together again in this salad, which also includes arugula, toasted almonds, and Parmesan cheese, and is topped with a spicy mustard vinaigrette. Eat it alongside your dinner or as a sweet and savory lunch on its own.


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