The fruits of date palms pack a nutritional punch. At the same time they contain insignificant amounts of fat and have no cholesterol. The most common dates in the United States are the Medjool and Deglet Noor varieties, which boast relatively equal nutritional values. Dates boost your energy while pacifying your hunger, and your body benefits from their health-promoting nutrients.
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A cup of chopped Deglet Noor dates contains 110 grams of carbohydrates. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 report recommends that 45 percent to 65 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates. Considering a typical calorie requirement of 2,000 calories a day for a moderately active adult, the recommendation for carbohydrates translates to 225 to 325 grams. Carbohydrates, an essential macronutrient, are your body’s main source of energy.
If you are looking to boost your potassium intake, pile on the dates. Your body needs this essential mineral for normal body growth, to build proteins and muscle, to metabolize carbohydrates and to control your acid-base balance. The RDI for potassium is 4,700 milligrams per day for adults and 5,100 milligrams for nursing mothers. A cup of chopped Deglet Noor dates contains 964 milligrams, or 20.5 percent of the RDI for adults.
Magnesium aids protein synthesis, blood glucose control and muscle and nerve function in your body, and it helps regulate blood pressure. Men aged 19 to 30 require 400 milligrams per day, while males 31 and above require an additional 20 milligrams daily. Women of the same age groups require 310 milligrams and 320 milligrams, respectively. Pregnant mothers need more magnesium, and they should consult a doctor to determine their body needs at different stages of pregnancy. Consuming a cup of chopped dates provides your body with 63 milligrams of magnesium. That amounts to at least 15 percent of the RDI for men and 20 percent for women.
Dates are an excellent source of dietary fiber, providing 11.8 grams per cup. Your digestive system requires dietary fiber to function well. Though not considered a nutrient, dietary fiber protects you against constipation and can help lower your blood cholesterol. Men between 19 and 50 years of age should aim for 38 grams per day, while men 51 years and older need 30 grams daily. Women in the same age groups require 25 grams and 21 grams, respectively. Pregnant women need 28 grams of dietary fiber daily, while lactating mothers should consume 29 grams. Dates are also a good source of vitamin B-6. A cup of Deglet Noor chopped dates contains 0.24 milligrams, or at least 14 percent of the RDI. Both men and women 19 to 50 years old require 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B-6 per day. Men over 51 require 1.7 milligrams of B-6, while women over 51 should get 1.5 grams daily.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Basic Report: 09087, Dates, Deglet Noor
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- Fitday: Proteins, Fats, and Carbs: How to Balance Your Diet
- MedlinePlus: Potassium in Diet
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B-6