Chinese Jujube Fruit: Is It healthy?

Medically Reviewed by Zilpah Sheikh, MD on December 15, 2023
4 min read

Jujube fruit has been eaten and used in traditional medicine for over 3,000 years. Today, it is popular all over the world.

Jujube fruit (Ziziphus jujuba) is also known as the Chinese date, jujube, or red date. The plant is native to China and has been grown in the U.S. for more than 175 years.

The jujube fruit ranges in shape from round to pear-shaped. It may be as small as a cherry or as big as a plum. It has a thin, edible skin and whitish flesh. When ripe, the fruit turns dark red. After turning fully red, the fruit begins to wrinkle and soften, but it is still edible.

Jujube vs. dates

While it may also be known as the Chinese or red date, the jujube fruit is not a date. It's a species of ziziphus in the buckthorn family. 

The date palm tree belongs to the arecaceae family and grows in Southwest Asia, North Africa, Australia, Mexico, South America, southern Africa, and the U.S.

Jujube fruit is high in vitamins and minerals and low in calories.

A 100-gram serving (about three fruits) contains:

  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Protein: 1.2 grams
  • Potassium: 250 milligrams
  • Vitamin C: 69 milligrams (about 77% of the recommended daily value)
  • Iron: 0.48 milligrams

Jujube calories

There are 79 calories per 100-gram serving of jujube.

Jujube fruits have been used in traditional medicines for thousands of years. More research is needed to clarify its effects on people.

High in antioxidants. Jujube fruits are a rich source of compounds such as flavonoids, polysaccharides, and triterpenic acids. Some of these compounds have antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants are substances that may prevent or delay types of cell damage, including damage caused by chemicals called free radicals. You’re exposed to free radicals from air pollution, cigarette smoke, and sunlight. Your body also makes free radicals during normal metabolic processes.

May improve sleep. Chinese jujube is used in traditional medicine to help promote sleep. Early research suggests that this may be due to the antioxidant properties of the fruits.

May help with digestion and constipation. Jujube has high fiber content. A 100-gram serving of dried jujube has 6 grams of dietary fiber.

You should aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day. A diet that’s high in fiber has many benefits, including:

  • Prevents constipation
  • Makes you feel full for longer, which can help you with weight loss
  • Helps improve your blood sugar levels
  • Reduces your risk of diseases like colorectal cancer
  • Lowers your cholesterol, which lowers your risk of heart disease

Jujube fruit extract may also help to relieve constipation. A small study found that those who took liquid jujube extract had improved constipation symptoms compared to those who took a placebo.

May boost immunity. Jujube fruit may be able to boost your immune system, as it’s rich in vitamin C.

Depending on the size of the fruit, eating one to three jujube fruits will meet the daily vitamin C recommendations of 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women.

One of the traditional medicinal uses of jujube is as a laxative. While there’s been little research on its laxative effect on people, you may want to be careful with the amount of jujube fruit that you eat.

Experts say that you may also want to avoid eating the fruit if you take antidepressant drugs like venlafaxine. It may interact with such drugs.

Early animal studies have found that jujube extract may interact with some seizure medications, such as carbamazepine, phenobarbitone, and phenytoin.

Talk to your doctor if you’re taking any of these medications and also want to eat this jujube fruit or its extracts. 

You can eat jujube fruit raw. Fresh ones are sweet and have an apple-like texture.

The fruit is also commonly found dried. These dried Chinese jujubes are known as red dates. The dried fruits can be eaten directly, but they’re also often cooked into soups and tea. Dried red dates can be used in place of raisins or palm date fruits in cakes and other desserts.

Jujube fruits can also be roasted, smoked, soaked in liquor, candied, juiced, and made into jams and spreads.

Jujube tea is a a type of tea made from dried jujube fruit. Like eating the fruit on its own, putting it in tea may ease constipation, boost your immune system, and help you sleep.

Jujube tea nutrition

This type of tea has vitamin C, polyphenols, potassium, iron, and B vitamins.

How to make jujube tea

You can make a tea with only dried jujube fruit, or add spices and other ingredients like cinnamon and ginger.

Jujube candy is a chewy fruit-flavored treat that you can find at your local movie theater, supermarket, or candy shop. While they were initially made with jujube fruit, today, you won't find any of this fruit in the candy.

People have eaten jujube fruit and used it in traditional medicine for thousands of years. High in vitamins and minerals and low in calories, it's rich in antioxidants and may offer health benefits like better sleep, digestion, and potential immune system support. You can enjoy it fresh, dried, roasted, juiced, or in different recipes. If you take medicine for depression or seizures, talk to your doctor before eating jujube fruit.