Dates for a Healthier Heart


  • One of the most important parts of having a healthy heart is living a healthy lifestyle.

  • Eating fruits and vegetables provides nutrients that are beneficial to heart health.

  • Date fruits are a good source of some of these nutrients.

A healthy lifestyle has been shown to be one of the most fundamental aspects of maintaining a healthy heart. In addition to exercise, an important part of this healthy lifestyle is having a nutritionally balanced diet. This should consist of foods rich in protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits such as dates, apples, oranges, etc.

Heart disease is among the world’s leading causes of disease burden. According to WHO, about 17.9 million people die of cardiovascular disease each year, accounting for over one-third of deaths worldwide. In the United States, one person has a heart attack every 40 seconds.

Premature heart disease can be averted in up to 80% of cases by making healthy lifestyle modifications. This includes exercise and dietary improvements. Having a healthy heart is central to overall good health. In this article, we will be discussing dates as one of the healthy foods for the heart.

What are Dates?

Dates – scientifically known as Phoenix dactylifera – are a type of tropical fruit obtained from date palm trees. Dates are naturally sweet fruits rich in nutrients. This includes minerals such as iron and potassium, vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber

For thousands of years, dates have been a staple fruit throughout the Middle East. Dates are commonly consumed whole as a fruit. However, they have also been used in a variety of delicious local meals, ranging from Moroccan tajines (tagines) to puddings, to ka’ak (a type of Arab cookies) and other desserts.

Benefits of Dates for a Healthy Heart

Dates are rich in many nutrients that aid in the promotion and maintenance of a healthy heart. These nutrients include minerals such as magnesium and potassium, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, as well as antioxidants such as β-carotene. 

Dates play a crucial function in heart health, ranging from blood cholesterol regulation to blood pressure reduction. Studies have found that taking half a glass of pomegranate juice (4 ounces) combined with three dates could benefit patients at high risk for cardiovascular diseases as well as healthy people. 

Regulation of Blood Cholesterol Levels

High blood cholesterol levels have been linked to a variety of heart diseases. When blood cholesterol levels rise too high, fatty deposits form within the blood vessels. Over time, these fatty deposits may obstruct blood vessels, resulting in a reduction in blood supply to important organs. One of these is the heart, and this blockage can eventually lead to heart disease.

Dates do not contain cholesterol. Therefore they do not raise blood cholesterol levels. They are also high in dietary fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood.

Role of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are molecules that help prevent or reduce cell damage. This is mainly caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules produced by the body in response to environmental and other stresses. Vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and zeaxanthin are examples of antioxidants. Some of these antioxidants, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, are abundant in date fruits.

Antioxidants protect the heart by breaking down cholesterol, combating free radicals, and lowering oxidative stress, all of which help to avoid heart disease.

Reduction of Blood Pressure

One in every three adults suffers from high blood pressure or hypertension. The majority of these cases occur in low and middle-income countries. High blood pressure is defined as having systolic blood pressure of more than 140mmHg or diastolic blood pressure of more than 90mmHg. Having high blood pressure, more commonly known as hypertension, has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. This is because the chronic high pressure in the blood pushes against the arterial blood vessels which result in damages. This can then lead to a decrease in blood and oxygen delivery to the heart.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet emphasizes eating high potassium and low sodium foods. This diet is promoted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as well as the American Heart Association (AHA) as the best way to stay healthy. A diet high in potassium and low in sodium has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure. Dates, which are rich in potassium and contain low sodium, meet both of these requirements.

An increase in blood pressure has been linked to high sodium blood concentration levels. Potassium lowers blood pressure by balancing salt levels in the body. Potassium is also important for cardiac rhythm control, and a potassium deficiency can cause arrhythmias.

Dietary fiber from Dates

Dates provide a healthy amount of dietary fiber. The American Heart Association recommends adding dietary fiber as part of your daily diet. This will help keep a healthy heart since it has been shown to assist in maintaining a healthy weight and lowering blood cholesterol. Thus, it also lessens their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dates are highly delicious and nutrient-dense fruits that offer various heart-health advantages. Therefore, including this fruit in your diet can help you maintain a healthy heart.

Summary

Ultimately, dates are a good dietary choice since they contain a variety of nutrients as well as several heart health advantages.

SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION:

  • Cholesterolis a waxy substance required by the body for cell formation, vitamin synthesis, and hormone production.
  • Arrhythmia – is a condition characterized by irregular heartbeats.
  • Minerals – are vital substances required by the human body for the proper functioning of the skeleton, cellular structure, and metabolic processes.
Written by:

Dr. Susan Adeosun

Nutritionist

Reviewed by:
Physician
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