Health Benefits Of Medjool Dates, Nutrition Facts, And Recipes

Written by Varsha Patnaik , MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Diet & Nutrition Coach

Medjool dates, otherwise known as the “King of dates”, are native to Morocco and commonly found in the U.S. These are one of the most exquisite varieties of dates known for their soft and dense texture, big size, and remarkably sweet caramel-like flavor. Usually consumed as a natural sweetener or as a part of the Mediterranean diet, medjool dates can be eaten fresh or dried. Here, in this article, let’s delve deeper into the nutritional facts and health benefits of medjool dates along with ways to include them in your diet.

What Are Medjool Dates?

Medjool dates are a premium variety of dates that are known for their large size and sweet, caramel-like flavor. They are oval-shaped, with a dark brown color and wrinkled skin. Like all date varieties, medjool dates also have a pit in the middle, surrounded by soft, nutrient-dense flesh.

While they are native to Morocco, medjool dates are also grown in the warm regions of the U.S, South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Fresh medjool dates usually have a soft, moist, and dense texture as these are harvested early in the ripening season. Medjool are usually sold fresh or dried, but not dehydrated, which makes them soft and sticky. As the sugar content gets concentrated as they dry, they tend to become sweeter as they age.

Going further let’s have a detailed look at the nutrient content of medjool dates.

Medjool Date Nutrition Facts

With 66.5 calories in one medjool date, they are a great energy booster. As per the USDA, a single medjool date can provide you with the following nutrition (1):

Carbohydrates18 g
Sugars16 g
Dietary Fibre1.6 g
Protein0.4 g

One medjool date also provides you with many important minerals like:

Potassium167 mg
Calcium15.4 mg
Phosphorus14.9 mg
Magnesium13 mg
Iron0.216 mg

Though medjool dates are not that rich in proteins or fats, they are a great energy booster owing to their sugar content. They are also high in dietary fiber, calcium, and potassium. Medjool dates contain a significantly higher amount of calcium than other common varieties of dates and have twice as much potassium as one banana (2), (3).

Further ahead, let’s read about the sugar and calorie content of medjool dates.

Calorie And Sugar Content

Dried fruits, including dates,  raisins, prunes, and dried apricots are more nutrient-dense and contain more calories per serving than their fresh counterparts because of their less water content (4). Dates are a concentrated source of natural sugars like fructose and glucose. They provide instant energy as 100g of date flesh can provide an average of 314 kcal (5).

Dates have a low glycemic index and have not been found to alter blood sugar levels significantly (6), (7). People with diabetes might still need to be careful about their intake of dates in excess as these are packed with fructose and high calories (8).

Having said that, let us now explore the various health benefits of medjool dates.

Medjool Dates Health Benefits

Medjool dates are a natural sweetener and a healthy snack option. Let’s explore its health benefits further below.

  • May Help Keep Your Heart Healthy

Medjool dates are a good source of dietary fiber. Just 2 dates can provide you with over 3g of fiber. Fiber helps keep your LDL cholesterol in check and prevents clogging of your arteries, thereby reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (8), (9).

A test-tube study reported that medjool and a few other date varieties helped lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol and prevented plaque buildup in the arteries. Accumulation of plaque might clog the arteries blocking the blood flow, resulting in increased risks of stroke or heart attack (10), (11).

  • Supports Healthy Digestion

Medjool dates being high in fiber, help promote healthy digestion and regular bowel motions. Sufficient fiber intake in your daily diet aids stool formation and eases constipation (12). In a study that was conducted, 21 people who ate 7 dates (168 grams) per day for 3 weeks, reported significant improvement in their bowel movement frequency (13).

  • High In Antioxidants

Medjool dates contain several antioxidants that can protect your cells from oxidative damage that might lead to chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and brain ailments (14).

The antioxidants in Medjool dates include carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, which have been widely studied for their anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and brain-protective properties (15), (16). Dates are also reported to have the highest amount of antioxidants when compared to other dried fruits like prunes and figs (17).

  • May Support Bone Health

Medjool dates contain a decent amount of potassium, manganese, calcium, and copper, all of which are vital in maintaining your bone health (18), (19).

With the above health benefits, and given their sweet taste and texture, let’s look at some practical ways to incorporate dates into your diet.

How To Add Medjool Dates To Your Diet

Often sold with other dried fruits, medjool dates can be found in the market all year round. These are usually sold pitted. If not, you can slice them lengthwise to remove the pit and enjoy the flesh of the dates. With their natural sweetness from fructose, they make for a healthy alternative to sugar.

To use it in place of sugar, you need to make a paste of the dates by blending them with water.

Usually, 2 cups of pitted dates with about 1 ¼ cups of water would give you the desired consistency. You can then use this to make smoothies, cakes, energy balls, and other sweet dishes. Apart from that, you can add dates to your diet in any of the following ways:

  • Add them to sauces and milkshakes.
  • Chop and add as a topping on oatmeal or cereals.
  • Drizzle as a sauce over salads.
  • Stuff them with peanut butter or cheese.
  • Use them in pies, brownies, and tarts.
  • Sweeten any homemade nut milk.
  • Chop and add to balance any savory dish.
  • Have 2-3 dates as a pre-workout energy snack.
  • Eat as a natural dessert any time of the day.

You can keep the dates pitted and sealed in airtight containers in a cool dry place like your kitchen pantry or even in your refrigerator.

While dates make for a healthy snack and sugar substitute when eaten in moderation, there could be some possible risks associated with excess consumption of dates.

Potential Risks Of Medjool Dates

Medjool dates have high levels of certain nutrients like fructose and potassium that might be of concern to people with certain health conditions like allergies or kidney problems. You must talk to your health practitioner before adding dates to your diet. Below, let’s take a look at some of the possible risks of having medjool dates in excess.

  • Weight Gain

The fiber and nutrients in medjool dates might help with weight loss and management by keeping you feeling full for longer. However, dates are very nutrient-dense and high in calories and should be eaten in moderation to avoid any unwarranted weight issues (5).

  • Kidney Problems

Medjool dates are a rich source of dietary potassium. As potassium is processed in our kidneys, people with chronic kidney disease, hyperkalemia (high levels of serum potassium), or any prior kidney-related health concerns, should consult their doctor before including dates regularly in their diet (20).

  • Allergies

Dried fruits often contain sulfites as preservatives. Some people might have or develop allergies to dates and other dried fruits because of their sulfite sensitivity (21). If you experience any of the known symptoms of allergy like stomach pain, bloating, skin rashes, wheezing, or diarrhea, after consuming dried fruits, you might be sensitive to sulfites and should refrain from having medjool dates.

Now that you are aware of the health benefits and side effects of having medjool dates, let’s help you with a few date recipes for relishing this superfood.

Medjool Date Recipes

  1. Creamy Chocolate Date Mousse

Image:

Medjool Date Recipes

Shutterstock

Ingredients

  • medjool dates (pitted) – 8-10
  • light coconut milk (canned) – ½ cup
  • water – ¼ cup
  • avocado (ripe, peeled) -1
  • cocoa powder (unsweetened) – ¼ cup
  • chocolate chips (semi-sweet, melted) – ¼ cup

Instructions

  1. Chop the medjool dates into small pieces.
  2. Blend the chopped dates along with coconut milk, and water in a blender until well combined and smooth.
  3. Add in the avocado, cocoa powder, and melted chocolate chips.

Blend until smooth and creamy.

  1. Pour the mixture into four small ramekins or bowls.
  2. Leave them in the fridge to chill overnight or for at least 1-3 hours.
  1. Date, Walnut, And Dark Chocolate Cookies

Image:

Date, Walnut, And Dark Chocolate Cookies

Shutterstock

Ingredients

  • walnuts (finely chopped) – ½ cup
  • medjool dates (diced, pitted) – ½ cup
  • dark chocolate chips  – ½ cup
  • whole wheat flour – 1 cup
  • all-purpose flour – ½ cup
  • baking soda – ½ teaspoon
  • egg replacer – 1-½ teaspoon
  • margarine spread (soft and dairy-free, at room temperature) -½  cup
  • vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
  • honey – 2 tablespoons

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Take the margarine, honey, and vanilla in a small bowl and mix well.
  3. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and egg replacer in another bowl.
  4. Add the dry flour mixture to the margarine mixture.
  5. Mix and combine well to form a crumbly dough.
  6. Stir in the chopped dates, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
  7. Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls and line them 3 inches apart on a baking sheet
  8. Bake them for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Summary

Medjool dates are nutrient-dense natural sweeteners that are high in calories. These are rich in fiber and antioxidants and offer many health benefits. Being sweet and easy to blend, you can reap the benefits of medjool dates in your daily diet in many ways. People with prior health concerns related to high levels of blood sugar, potassium, and heart or kidney issues should consult a certified nutritionist or dietician before including them in their diet regularly.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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  2. PITTED DEGLET NOOR DATES
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  13. Impact of palm date consumption on microbiota growth and large intestinal health: a randomised controlled cross-over human intervention study
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  16. Protective effects of flavonoids against Alzheimer\’s disease-related neural dysfunctions
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  17. Dried fruits: excellent in vitro and in vivo antioxidants
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  18. The role of nutrients in bone health from A to Z
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  19. Dietary potassium intake is beneficial to bone health in a low calcium intake population: the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28093633/
  20. Hyperkalemia
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470284/
  21. Adverse reactions to the sulphite additives
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4017440/
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