Why Energy dates
Dates have been known to exist for a thousand years and has been featured in both the Bible and the Koran. It has been considered as the oldest cultivated fruit in the world. Fossil evidence indicates that dates existed 50 million years ago. Experts estimates that there are currently 3,000 varieties of dates worldwide and they are classified based on their moisture whether it be soft, hard or semi hard. Dates have a high nutritional value. They are rich in Carbohydrates, dietary fibers, minerals and vitamin B complex.
Dates fruits, fresh or dried is a good choice for energy as snack or part of a meal. Dates are naturally sweet as it contains fructose, glucose and a little sucrose. It is high in simple sugars that will give the body high level of heat energy which can be easily broken down as glucose into the body. 40 grams of dates or 6 medium dates will provide you 110 calories (2.75 calories per gram of dates), 30 grams of carbohydrates (of which 25 grams is natural sugar) and 1 gram of protein. The 30 grams carbohydrates will give you 11% of your carbohydrate need for a 2000 calorie diet and It can be compared to eating 2 slices of white bread or a ¾ cup of white rice. Dates also contain protein. Although it is not as high as protein from meat sources, but it has the highest content compared to any fruits.
Dates are also a good source of fiber; According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 40 grams of dates will provide you 3 grams of dietary fiber. With 6 dates a day, you’ll be able to reach 12% of your goal for fiber in a 2000 calorie diet. Fiber can help you regulate your bowel movement and maintain bowel health. Studies have also found that a high-fiber diet likely lowers the risk of colorectal cancer.
Even though dates are known to have high sugar content, they are low in glycemic index. Dates have a low Glycemic Index (GI) of 42. The International Table of Glycemic Index updated the date GI values in the scientific journal article 2008 Diabetes Care. The low glycemic index of dates means it is slowly digested by our bodies, keeping energy levels even throughout the day. Slow release of energy ensures you have enough strength to perform well during any activity.
Dates also contain the 6 essential B vitamins. B vitamins support metabolism and contribute to the body's ability to produce energy. 40 grams of Dates will provide you 2% DV for thiamin, 4% DV for Riboflavin, Niacin and Vitamin B6. 6% DV for Pantothenic acid and 8% for Biotin.
Dates also contain minerals important for maintaining good health such as Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, Calcium and Iron.
In conclusion, Dates are a great sports snack since it can provide you with 100% natural sugars that can be easily broken down as energy. This energy will be released slowly due to the high fiber content and low GI of dates. On top of all of this, Dates are also rich in vitamins and minerals that is vital in maintaining good health.
USDA, National Nutrient Database
A.B.M. Sharif Hossain , 2015. Dried Dates Fruit and its Biochemical and Nutrient Content: Uses as Diabetic Food. Asian Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 7: 90-95.
EatRight.org - Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Atkinson, F. S., Foster-Powell, K., and Brand-Miller, J. C. – 2008 International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Loads. Diabetes Care 31:2281-2283