What Are Medjool Dates?
Native to Morocco, Medjool dates are one of the hundreds of varieties of dates. Known as “the fruit of kings,” they have a sweet, caramel taste and chewy texture. Medjool dates were originally eaten by royalty and thought to fend off fatigue.
Research shows these ancient energy-boosting claims may be true. They’re also high in vitamins and nutrients that can contribute to other health benefits. Medjool dates are now grown in warm climates globally.
Dates are available at most supermarkets and are easy to include in your diet. They're great as a snack, and their natural sweetness makes them a good substitute for sugar in the kitchen.
Medjool Date Nutrition
A serving of two Medjool dates contains:
- Calories: 110
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 31 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Sugar: 27 grams
Medjool dates are a good source of:
Medjool dates are also an excellent source of phytonutrients, plant compounds that may have health benefits. Studies show they can stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, prevent DNA damage, and improve hormone regulation.
Health Benefits of Medjool Dates
Medjool dates are a great way to sweeten up your diet while adding vitamins and minerals.
Sweet snacks often have little nutritional value and are loaded with “empty calories” from sugar and fat. But Medjool dates’ high fiber content helps you feel fuller for longer, which can aid in weight management goals.
Medjool dates are still high in calories, so too many can be a bad thing.
Research has found that Medjool dates can offer additional health benefits such as:
Lower risk of heart disease
Medjool dates’ soluble fiber content lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol. Fiber binds with this cholesterol and prevents its absorption into your bloodstream. This keeps cholesterol’s fatty deposits from building up in your arteries, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
Studies show that soluble fiber may also help control blood sugar levels and reduce blood pressure.
Research suggests that the antioxidants in Medjool dates may reduce triglycerides, a fat found in your blood. High levels of triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease.
Medjool dates also contain insoluble fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. Eating enough insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and inflammation in the digestive tract.
One study also found that insoluble fiber may help prevent colorectal cancer, but more research is needed.
Nervous system support
By weight, Medjool dates contain 50% more potassium than bananas. This essential mineral helps control heart rate, breathing, and muscular function. This benefit is particularly important because potassium deficiency is common as less than 2% of Americans meet the daily recommended value.
Low levels of potassium can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, and irregular or weakened heartbeat. Medjool dates can help you increase the potassium in your diet, supporting these nervous system functions.
The B vitamins in Medjool dates, such as pantothenic acid, folate, and niacin, help manage the metabolic processes that convert food to energy. Research shows this can help fight tiredness and fatigue.
Studies have also shown that dates may reduce sugar absorption in our bodies. This can help lower blood sugar levels, which can aid in weight management and reduce the risk of diabetes.
Potential Risks of Medjool Dates
The high levels of some nutrients in Medjool dates may cause problems for people with certain health conditions. Talk to your doctor to make sure that Medjool dates are a good addition to your diet.
Some potential health risks of Medjool dates include:
The fiber and nutrients in Medjool dates can help with weight management, but portion control is important. They are high in calories and should be consumed in moderation to avoid unwanted weight gain.
Medjool dates are an excellent source of potassium, which is lacking in most people’s diets. Because potassium is processed in our kidneys, people with kidney disease should follow their doctor’s advice regarding how much potassium they should consume.
Dried fruits often contain sulfites that act as a preservative and eliminate harmful bacteria. If you experience stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, or skin rash after eating dried fruits, you may have an allergy or sensitivity to sulfites and should avoid eating Medjool dates.
Sulfites in dried fruits may also worsen symptoms like wheezing for people with asthma.
Deglet Vs. Medjool Dates
These are the two most common types of dates.
Deglet dates have more fiber than Medjool dates, at about 8 grams of fiber. Medjool dates, which are larger, lose some of their fiber as they ripen. They have about 6.5 grams of fiber.
Both of these types of dates are packed with sugar.
On average, dates have about 65 grams of sugar per 100 gram serving. The type of sugar in dates changes as they ripen. Younger dates, like the Deglet, have more sucrose. As they ripen, the sucrose changes into fructose and glucose.
Other Types of Dates
There are several types of dates, but you’ll mostly see two on the shelf at your local market: Deglet Noor and Medjool.
Other kinds include:
Uses of Dates
Dates are a versatile fruit and can be found in a variety of forms including:
- Extruded, molded into specific shapes
- Macerated, soaked in liquid
Dates can be added to sweet treats or used to give something a sweet taste.
Dehydrated dates can be added to foods such as:
- Cereal and oats
- Ice cream and smoothies
- Cake, cookies, and baked goods
Dates can also be used to make:
- Wine and beer
- Sugar and syrup
- Paste and dip
- Food flavoring
Dates Vs. Figs
Dates and figs are small, sweet fruits that are often eaten as dried snacks. They are high in energy and calories, so eating even a few of them goes a long way.
Figs and dates aren’t just dried snacks. Like other fruits, they have natural sugars, fiber, and other vital nutrients. But unlike dates, figs aren’t rich in fiber. They have about half as much: less than 3 grams.
Despite their super-sweet flavors, figs aren’t rich in sugars. Dates have about 65 grams of sugar, but figs have only 16 grams. If you’re looking for a sweet-tasting but healthy snack, figs fit the bill.