The sticky, sweet fruit of the palm tree, dates are a traditional food and are eaten for their natural sugar, carbohydrates, protein and nutrient content. They are a healthy snack choice and are a rich source of energy, vitamins and minerals. Date flesh is found to be low in fat and protein but rich in sugars, mainly fructose and glucose. It is a high source of energy, as 100 g of flesh can provide an average of 314 kcal. Ten minerals were reported, the major being selenium, copper, potassium, and magnesium. The consumption of 100 g of dates can provide over 15% of the recommended daily allowance from these minerals. Adding other foods with complementary amino acid profiles to this food may yield a more complete protein source and improve the quality of some types of restrictive diets.
- Vitamins B-complex and C are the major vitamins in dates.
- High in dietary fiber (8.0 g/100 g), insoluble dietary fiber was the major fraction of dietary fiber in dates.
- Dates are a good source of antioxidants, mainly carotenoids and phenolics.
- Date seeds contain higher protein (5.1 g/100 g) and fat (9.0 g/100 g) as compared to the flesh.
- It is also high in dietary fiber (73.1 g/100 g), phenolics (3942 mg/100 g) and antioxidants (80400 micromol/100 g).
A date contains about 5.3 grams of sugar. Dates contain natural carbohydrates that will be converted to blood sugar. Three dates have about the same amount of sugar as half a banana and 3/4 cup of blackberries or blueberries. The American Diabetes Association says that dates should be eaten in moderation. Because of their high sugar content, dates have a medium glycemic index value, which means that they will raise blood sugar faster than other fruits.