Everything You Need to Know About Medjool Dates
As tropical stone fruits, they have a single pit surrounded by edible flesh.
Native to Morocco, Medjool dates come from the date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera) and are now grown in warm regions of the United States, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.
They're often sold dried but not dehydrated, making them soft and sticky. Their sugars become more concentrated as they dry, which further increases their sweetness.
This article tells you all you need to know about the nutritional content, benefits, and uses of Medjool dates.
Medjool Date Nutrition Facts
Medjool dates are a concentrated source of healthy nutrients. Just 2 dates (48 grams) provide (1):
- Calories: 133
- Carbs: 36 grams
- Fiber: 3.2 grams
- Protein: 0.8 grams
- Sugar: 32 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Calcium: 2% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 2% of the DV
- Potassium: 7% of the DV
- Copper: 19% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 7% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
Dates offer a significant amount of fiber and variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, B vitamins, copper, and magnesium.
Compared with other common varieties like Deglet Noor, Medjool dates contain significantly more calcium.
Calorie and Sugar Content
Dates are a concentrated source of natural sugars.
While people who monitor their blood sugar may need to moderate their intake of dates, one small study found that this stone fruit has a low glycemic index (GI) and shouldn't cause large increases in blood sugar.
Yet, Medjool dates pack many calories in a small serving. For this reason, you may want to keep your intake in check.
Dried fruits, which also include raisins, dried apricots, and prunes, contain more calories per serving than their fresh counterparts because they have less water.
Most of the calories in Medjool dates come from their sugars.
Medjool dates are rich in natural sugars, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals. Like other dried fruits, they pack a lot of calories in a small serving.
Potential Health Benefits
Medjool dates offer several health benefits.
May Protect Your Heart
The fiber and antioxidants in Medjool dates may help protect your heart.
Fiber can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and keep your arteries clean, reducing your risk of heart disease. Just 2 dates (48 grams) contains over 3 grams of fiber.
One test-tube study found that Medjool and other date varieties lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol and prevented the buildup of plaque in arteries. Plaque accumulation can eventually block blood flow, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Medjool dates are also a rich source of antioxidants, which help fight damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. Their carotenoid and phenolic acid antioxidants have both been studied for their beneficial effects on heart health.
Supports Healthy Digestion
Fiber is essential to promoting healthy digestion and bowel regularity. In fact, sufficient fiber in your daily diet helps form stool and prevent constipation.
Eating enough fiber may also reduce your risk of digestive diseases like colorectal cancer.
In a 3-week study, 21 people ate 7 dates (168 grams) per day and significantly improved their bowel movement frequency, compared with when they didn't eat dates.
High in Antioxidants
Medjool dates boast several antioxidants, which can protect your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to diseases like cancer, heart disease, and brain ailments.
Those in Medjool dates include flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids, which have been studied for their anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and brain-protective properties.
One study in dried fruit found that dates had the highest antioxidant content when compared with figs and prunes.
Other Potential Health Benefits
- Natural fuel for your body. Medjool dates offer a high number of carbs in a small serving. Carbs are your body's main source of energy.
- May support bone health. Medjool dates contain a small amount of calcium and are a decent source of potassium, manganese, and copper, all of which are important nutrients for bone health.
- May protect brain health. Animal studies link dates' antioxidants to lower levels of inflammatory markers and reduced brain plaques associated with conditions like Alzheimer's disease.
Bear in mind that more research is needed on these benefits.
Medjool dates contain antioxidants and nutrients that may lower your risk of heart disease, promote digestion, and support heart health, among other benefits.
How to Add Medjool Dates to Your Diet
Medjool dates can be found year-round at most grocery stores. They're often sold with other dried or raw foods.
Some Medjool dates are pitted, but if you purchase ones with pits, you'll need to remove them before eating. Simply slice the date open lengthwise and pull out the pit.
These dried fruits make a great sugar alternative due to their sweetness, which comes from fructose, a natural sugar.
To substitute Medjool dates for sugar, make a date paste by blending 2 cups (480 grams) of pitted dates with 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) of water, then use this paste instead of sugar in your recipes at a 1:1 ratio.
You can also add this sweet fruit to smoothies, sauces, and dressings, or chop them in a food processor and use them for no-bake desserts like pie crusts, energy balls, and fruit-and-chocolate bars.
What's more, you can fill raw Medjool dates with peanut butter, cheese, nuts, or even cooked grains like rice.
Store your dates in a cool, dry place like a pantry or your refrigerator. Keep them in a sealed container to help retain their moisture.
Medjool dates are versatile and easy to add to your diet. You can eat them raw, in smoothies, stuffed, or as a natural sweetener in desserts.
The Bottom Line
Medjool dates are high in calories but full of nutrients and antioxidants that are linked to many health benefits.
In particular, their fiber may boost digestion and heart health while lowering your risk of several chronic diseases.
You can eat them as a snack, in smoothies, or as a natural sweetener in various dishes and desserts.
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By Dana M Bergstrom, Euan Ritchie, Lesley Hughes and Michael Depledge
In 1992, 1,700 scientists warned that human beings and the natural world were "on a collision course." Seventeen years later, scientists described planetary boundaries within which humans and other life could have a "safe space to operate." These are environmental thresholds, such as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and changes in land use.
The Good and Bad News<p><span>Ecosystems consist of living and non-living components, and their interactions. They work like a super-complex engine: when some components are removed or stop working, knock-on consequences can lead to system failure.</span></p><p>Our study is based on measured data and observations, not modeling or predictions for the future. Encouragingly, not all ecosystems we examined have collapsed across their entire range. We still have, for instance, some intact reefs on the Great Barrier Reef, especially in deeper waters. And northern Australia has some of the most intact and least-modified stretches of savanna woodlands on Earth.</p><p><span>Still, collapses are happening, including in regions critical for growing food. This includes the </span><a href="https://www.mdba.gov.au/importance-murray-darling-basin/where-basin" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Murray-Darling Basin</a><span>, which covers around 14% of Australia's landmass. Its rivers and other freshwater systems support more than </span><a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/latestproducts/94F2007584736094CA2574A50014B1B6?opendocument" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30% of Australia's food</a><span> production.</span></p><p><span></span><span>The effects of floods, fires, heatwaves and storms do not stop at farm gates; they're felt equally in agricultural areas and natural ecosystems. We shouldn't forget how towns ran out of </span><a href="https://www.mdba.gov.au/issues-murray-darling-basin/drought#effects" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">drinking water</a><span> during the recent drought.</span></p><p><span></span><span>Drinking water is also at risk when ecosystems collapse in our water catchments. In Victoria, for example, the degradation of giant </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/logging-must-stop-in-melbournes-biggest-water-supply-catchment-106922" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mountain Ash forests</a><span> greatly reduces the amount of water flowing through the Thompson catchment, threatening nearly five million people's drinking water in Melbourne.</span></p><p>This is a dire <em data-redactor-tag="em">wake-up</em> call — not just a <em data-redactor-tag="em">warning</em>. Put bluntly, current changes across the continent, and their potential outcomes, pose an existential threat to our survival, and other life we share environments with.</p><p><span>In investigating patterns of collapse, we found most ecosystems experience multiple, concurrent pressures from both global climate change and regional human impacts (such as land clearing). Pressures are often </span><a href="https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1365-2664.13427" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">additive and extreme</a><span>.</span></p><p>Take the last 11 years in Western Australia as an example.</p><p>In the summer of 2010 and 2011, a <a href="https://theconversation.com/marine-heatwaves-are-getting-hotter-lasting-longer-and-doing-more-damage-95637" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">heatwave</a> spanning more than 300,000 square kilometers ravaged both marine and land ecosystems. The extreme heat devastated forests and woodlands, kelp forests, seagrass meadows and coral reefs. This catastrophe was followed by two cyclones.</p><p>A record-breaking, marine heatwave in late 2019 dealt a further blow. And another marine heatwave is predicted for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/24/wa-coastline-facing-marine-heatwave-in-early-2021-csiro-predicts" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">this April</a>.</p>
What to Do About It?<p><span>Our brains trust comprises 38 experts from 21 universities, CSIRO and the federal Department of Agriculture Water and Environment. Beyond quantifying and reporting more doom and gloom, we asked the question: what can be done?</span></p><p>We devised a simple but tractable scheme called the 3As:</p><ul><li>Awareness of what is important</li><li>Anticipation of what is coming down the line</li><li>Action to stop the pressures or deal with impacts.</li></ul><p>In our paper, we identify positive actions to help protect or restore ecosystems. Many are already happening. In some cases, ecosystems might be better left to recover by themselves, such as coral after a cyclone.</p><p>In other cases, active human intervention will be required – for example, placing artificial nesting boxes for Carnaby's black cockatoos in areas where old trees have been <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/factsheet-carnabys-black-cockatoo-calyptorhynchus-latirostris" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">removed</a>.</p><p><span>"Future-ready" actions are also vital. This includes reinstating </span><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/a-burning-question-fire/12395700" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cultural burning practices</a><span>, which have </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/australia-you-have-unfinished-business-its-time-to-let-our-fire-people-care-for-this-land-135196" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">multiple values and benefits for Aboriginal communities</a><span> and can help minimize the risk and strength of bushfires.</span></p><p>It might also include replanting banks along the Murray River with species better suited to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/my-garden-path---matt-hansen/12322978" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">warmer conditions</a>.</p><p>Some actions may be small and localized, but have substantial positive benefits.</p><p>For example, billions of migrating Bogong moths, the main summer food for critically endangered mountain pygmy possums, have not arrived in their typical numbers in Australian alpine regions in recent years. This was further exacerbated by the <a href="https://theconversation.com/six-million-hectares-of-threatened-species-habitat-up-in-smoke-129438" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2019-20</a> fires. Brilliantly, <a href="https://www.zoo.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Zoos Victoria</a> anticipated this pressure and developed supplementary food — <a href="https://theconversation.com/looks-like-an-anzac-biscuit-tastes-like-a-protein-bar-bogong-bikkies-help-mountain-pygmy-possums-after-fire-131045" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Bogong bikkies</a>.</p><p><span>Other more challenging, global or large-scale actions must address the </span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iICpI9H0GkU&t=34s" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">root cause of environmental threats</a><span>, such as </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-018-0504-8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">human population growth and per-capita consumption</a><span> of environmental resources.</span><br></p><p>We must rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero, remove or suppress invasive species such as <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mam.12080" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">feral cats</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-buffel-kerfuffle-how-one-species-quietly-destroys-native-wildlife-and-cultural-sites-in-arid-australia-149456" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">buffel grass</a>, and stop widespread <a href="https://theconversation.com/to-reduce-fire-risk-and-meet-climate-targets-over-300-scientists-call-for-stronger-land-clearing-laws-113172" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">land clearing</a> and other forms of habitat destruction.</p>
Our Lives Depend On It<p>The multiple ecosystem collapses we have documented in Australia are a harbinger for <a href="https://www.iucn.org/news/protected-areas/202102/natures-future-our-future-world-speaks" target="_blank">environments globally</a>.</p><p>The simplicity of the 3As is to show people <em>can</em> do something positive, either at the local level of a landcare group, or at the level of government departments and conservation agencies.</p><p>Our lives and those of our <a href="https://theconversation.com/children-are-our-future-and-the-planets-heres-how-you-can-teach-them-to-take-care-of-it-113759" target="_blank">children</a>, as well as our <a href="https://theconversation.com/taking-care-of-business-the-private-sector-is-waking-up-to-natures-value-153786" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">economies</a>, societies and <a href="https://theconversation.com/to-address-the-ecological-crisis-aboriginal-peoples-must-be-restored-as-custodians-of-country-108594" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cultures</a>, depend on it.</p><p>We simply cannot afford any further delay.</p><p><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dana-m-bergstrom-1008495" target="_blank" style="">Dana M Bergstrom</a> is a principal research scientist at the University of Wollongong. <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/euan-ritchie-735" target="_blank" style="">Euan Ritchie</a> is a professor in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life & Environmental Sciences at Deakin University. <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lesley-hughes-5823" target="_blank">Lesley Hughes</a> is a professor at the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University. <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-depledge-114659" target="_blank">Michael Depledge</a> is a professor and chair, Environment and Human Health, at the University of Exeter. </em></p><p><em>Disclosure statements: Dana Bergstrom works for the Australian Antarctic Division and is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Wollongong. Her research including fieldwork on Macquarie Island and in Antarctica was supported by the Australian Antarctic Division.</em></p><p><em>Euan Ritchie receives funding from the Australian Research Council, The Australia and Pacific Science Foundation, Australian Geographic, Parks Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC. Euan Ritchie is a Director (Media Working Group) of the Ecological Society of Australia, and a member of the Australian Mammal Society.</em></p><p><em>Lesley Hughes receives funding from the Australian Research Council. She is a Councillor with the Climate Council of Australia, a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and a Director of WWF-Australia.</em></p><p><em>Michael Depledge does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/existential-threat-to-our-survival-see-the-19-australian-ecosystems-already-collapsing-154077" target="_blank" style="">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>
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