Nutrition information for dates and tips on how to select, store and prepare them.

In traditional ancient diets, a bowl of dates was offered on the table at each meal as a sign of hospitality from the host to his guest. A date would often accompany a cup of coffee or tea which were consumed unsweetened so the date could provide the desired sweetness and complement the drink. The custom continues today in many cultures.

How to Select

Choose dates that are shiny, uniformly colored and not broken.

How to Store

Store dates at room temperature in an airtight container for several months or refrigerate for up to a year.

Nutrition Benefits

Dates are a great source of dietary fiber (1/4 cup provides 12% of the daily value for fiber). Dates are also one of the best natural sources of potassium and provide 8% of your daily potassium recommendation and 6% of your daily manganese recommendation in a ¼ cup. Eating dates will enrich your body with minerals like phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. Date also is a rich source of a variety of B-complex vitamins – thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid as well as folic acid, vitamins A and K. It should also be noted that dates have a high sugar content and even if your sugar is coming from a fruit source, you should be careful not to overdo it. The following nutritional data outlines some of the key nutrients found in dates, and is based on a 100g serving of the fruit:

Fiber – 6.7 grams. 27% RDA.

Potassium – 696 milligrams. 20% RDA.

Copper – 0.4 milligrams. 18% RDA.

Manganese – 0.3 milligrams. 15% RDA.

Magnesium – 54 milligrams. 14% RDA.

Vitamin B6 – 0.2 milligrams. 12% RDA.

Check out the USDA Nutrient Database for a full nutritional profile of dates.

Antioxidant Quality of Dates

Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), dates are higher in total polyphenols than any of the most commonly consumed fruits or vegetables. The reason for this is due to a harsh desert environment (where dates are grown), which causes polyphenols to provide protection from oxidative stress to the palm’s fruit.

Other Attributes of Dates

Dates are the lowest moisture whole fruit with only 30% moisture. This makes them the only naturally “dehydrated” fruit.
Dates have a long shelf life and do not require refrigeration.
Dates have a natural balance of many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and potassium. These minerals work in harmony to lower blood pressure on a daily basis.

Data from California Date Commission

Taken on fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/dates