Dates are a great winter food that come loaded with nutrients like Iron and anti-oxidants. But, they are also higher in calories, as compared to other dried fruits, and one is usually not advised to consume too many in one go. Diabetics, more often than not, are advised to steer clear of these chewy delights. Is there any truth to this? According to Dr. Mukta Vasistha, H.O.D, Nutrition and Dietetics, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, all of you, yes, each one of you can eat Dates! Not one, but at least two to three, depending on how great your blood sugar level is. But what about Diabetics? The reason why Diabetics are asked to avoid high-sugar and high-calorie foods is because these may shoot up their blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are regulated, in the human body, by Insulin, a hormone that is produced poorly by Diabetics. In the absence of adequate amounts of Insulin, the glucose in the body is not used up and levels of the same shoot up in the bloodstream of Diabetics.
What are Dates?
Phoenix Dactyliferous, commonly called date, comes from the family of flowering plants of the palm family. The fruit is grown on Date Palm trees in clusters under the palm tree’s fronds. These trees are easily found the in the Middle East where dates have been a staple for centuries. Dates are tricky to harvest and to ensure an abundant harvest, they are hand pollinated also.
Can Diabetics Eat Dates?
Ask any Diabetic and you will find that dates figure on their ‘ Do Not Eat’ list. That doesn’t have to be the case. According to experts, diabetics can also benefit from the high fiber content of dates. It is okay to eat 2-3 dates a day for diabetics so long as they exercise caution and maintain healthy eating habits overall.
On an average, a diabetic is allowed to get up to ten percent of total calories in his/her diet from sugar on a regular basis. Having 3 dates and also consuming other sugary delights from the supermarket will definitely shoot up the blood sugar levels. If you are careful in your eating choices and your daily routine also includes a 30-min scheduled exercise/activity then a couple of dates when the craving for sugar comes up may not be bad after all.
The nutrients present in dates are easily digestible. Every date palm consists of dietary fiber, iron, potassium, vitamin B, B6, A and K, tannins, copper, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin. All of them help in improving your body’s metabolism.
Dietary Fiber: It helps to reduce blood pressure and inflammation. Also, consumption of insoluble fiber helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Iron: Iron helps to produce healthy red blood cells which are responsible for carrying oxygen in your veins.
Potassium: Only diabetics suffering with some sort of kidney disease need to be careful while consuming potassium as high levels of it will result in the malfunctioning of their kidneys. As far as other diabetics are concerned, you don’t have to worry about this.
Vitamin B1: When it comes to diabetics, thiamine, that is, Vitamin B1 protects you from nerve damage that you may face because of diabetes.
Vitamin B6: This vitamin helps you to have a healthy nerve system and is useful in treating diabetic neuoropathy.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps you to retain your eyesight by fighting against diabetic retinopathy, a condition leading to loss of eyesight for the people suffering from diabetes.
Vitamin K: It activates proteins and calcium which helps in clotting of the blood.