Find out why dates are the healthiest natural sweetener. Learn more about Medjool dates nutrition, the health benefits of dates and how to use dates in recipes.
Dates are nature’s candy! They’re incredibly sweet and chewy with a rich caramel flavor. It’s no wonder dates are trending as one of the most popular natural sweeteners. Unlike the majority of other sweeteners that are refined or heavily processed, dates are 100% whole fruit.
I’ve partnered up with Joolies Organic Medjool Dates (my absolute favorite brand of Medjool dates) to bring this post to you. I love using dates whether it’s as a quick energy source, paired with nut butter for a filling snack or as a natural sweetener. My hope is that this post answers all the questions you may have about dates, including the nutrition, health benefits, why Medjool dates are my favorite natural sweetener and how to use them in recipes.
Are Medjool dates healthy?
The short answer: Yes! Medjool dates are healthy.
Dates are a whole food. More specifically, dates are fresh fruit. This may come to a surprise given most dates you’ve probably seen have a dry, flakey appearance. But once you’ve seen and tasted quality fresh dates (like Joolies) you know that dates a typically plump, chewy and stretch like caramel when pulled apart.
Medjool dates (and all other fruits) are incredibly nutritious. They’re packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals like B6, potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium. They actually have more potassium than a banana! (1)
While dates are a concentrated source of sugar, they’re considered lower glycemic than other refined sugars. The fiber in dates helps balance out the sugar preventing such a drastic blood sugar spike. This along with the additional nutrients make dates a great sugar replacement!
Medjool Dates Nutrition
Two Medjool Dates (about 48 grams):
Carbs | 36 grams
Fiber | 3.2 grams
Protein | 0.8 grams
Sugar | 32 grams
Fat | 0 grams
Calcium | 2% DV
Iron | 2% DV
Potassium | 7% DV
Copper | 19% DV
Vitamin B6 | 7% DV
Magnesium | 6% DV
Health Benefits of Medjool Dates
In addition to the various vitamins and minerals, dates have numerous antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that damage cells and are the root cause of numerous diseases. (2)
The most abundant antioxidants in dates include flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids. These antioxidants are associated with reducing inflammation and the risk for certain diseases including certain types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. (3) (4) (5)
Healthy Digestion and Balanced Blood Sugar
Dates benefit digestion and blood sugar thanks to their high fiber content. Medjool dates are a good source of fiber with about four dates providing almost 7 grams of fiber. Fiber is key for a healthy digestive system. It helps keep you regular as well as feeds your good gut bacteria. (6) (7)
In addition to digestive health, fiber can help support balanced blood sugar. Fiber slows down digestion and can help reduce a drastic spike in blood sugar that comes from sugar and carbohydrates. (8)
The fiber and antioxidants in dates are extremely beneficial for heart health! Fiber can help lower your LDL cholesterol, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. LDL cholesterol is the bad type of cholesterol that contributes to plaque build-up in the arteries. (9)
The high levels of the antioxidants carotenoids and phenolic acid in Medjool dates may be heart-protective. These antioxidants have both been studied for their beneficial effects on heart health. (10)
Prepare Women for Labor
As women reach 36 weeks of pregnancy, dates should become their best friend. Dates have been shown to promote and ease labor by promoting cervical dilation and lower the need for induced labor. They may also help reduce labor time. (11) (12) (13)
It’s thought that dates have compounds that bind to oxytocin receptors. This appears to mimic the effects of oxytocin in the body, which is responsible for labor contractions.
Why Medjool Dates Are My Favorite Natural Sweetener
If you’ve ever had a date, you know how incredibly sweet (and delicious!) they are. Dates are an incredibly concentrated source of sugar but all packaged together with fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants just as nature intended. For this reason, Medjool dates are my favorite natural sweetener.
While I recommend eating in a way that stabilizes blood sugar, meaning lower sugar and balanced with protein, fat, and fiber, it’s not necessary to hyper-focus on sugar in fruit. America doesn’t have a chronic disease epidemic because of fruit. We have a chronic disease epidemic because of all the added sugar, man-made ingredients and ultra-processed foods that are so far away from their wholesome, natural state.
Medjool dates are a great natural sweetener and can easily replace the more common refined sugar options. They’re a more nutrient-dense option with numerous health benefits. This is why I recommend opting for dates in place of other sweeteners, especially in nut milk, lattes, baking, or if you just need to kick a sugar craving.
How to use Medjool dates as an alternative to sugar?
The easiest way to add to replace sugar with dates is by simply chopping and adding them straight into your dish. You can add them to oatmeal or salads for a touch of sweetness.
Another option is blending the dates into a liquid. This is great for sweetening baked goods or beverages like nut milk, lattes, hot chocolate, and smoothies. You can throw a few in your breakfast cereal or oatmeal or chop them up for a sweet addition to a salad.
On their own, dates make a great sweet snack, especially when a sugar craving hits. I find that a bite or two of a date hits the spot when I’m craving something sweet after a meal. You can eat them plain stuff them with nut butter, feta, or even dark chocolate!
Think of this as maple syrup but made from dates! You can use date syrup in place of your typical liquid sweeteners. This works especially well in baked goods! You can also use it to top pancakes and waffles or add it to your chia pudding or plain yogurt if you want a touch os sweetness.
Joolies just launched their date syrup and I could not be more excited! First of all, it’s delicious. But I’m extremely impressed by their commitment to sustainability. Joolies date syrup is made from the not-so-perfect dates that don’t meet the quality standards for their date boxes. They upcycle the “ugly” dates into date syrup, meaning less food waste!
This option works well in baking! When dates get blended with water, it creates a sticky, caramel-like paste. It’s much thicker than date syrup since it contains the whole date, including the fiber. Date paste works well as a sweetener and binder in baked goods like cookies and energy bites.
To make a date paste, blend 2 cups of pitted Medjool dates with 1 1/4 cups of filtered water (you may need slightly more depending on how soft your dates are). Date paste can replace liquid sweetener 1:1 in recipes. However, just be aware that it can change the texture slightly.
Date sugar is an excellent alternative to refined sugar. Unlike other granulated sugars that go through heavy processing, date sugar is simply ground dried dates. This works best in recipes that call for granulated sugar and can replace it 1:1. Again, just be aware that it can change the texture slightly.
The Best Medjool Dates
Joolies Medjool dates are truly unlike any other dates I’ve had. They’re plump, chewy and soft enough that you can easily pull them apart and watch them stretch like caramel. They’re a pantry staple of mine and the only one I recommend. Trust me you’ll notice the difference once you try them!
I also appreciate that Joolies is a company with integrity and they value health and wellness. The company is on a mission to help people everywhere eat better, improving their overall quality of life. Joolies prides themselves on being USDA organic certified. They’re actually the only Medjool dates certified glyphosate free (meaning no chemicals are used in the growing process!). This doesn’t come cheap, so I have major respect for companies who make this a priority.
Joolies is committed to quality and sustainable farming practices. They handpick which allows them to pick the highest-quality, perfectly ripe fruit. They’ve spent nearly two decades farming at the Kohl Family Farm in the Coachella Valley, California, where the rich, sandy soils provides for the crops with minimal intervention. This means no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides are used!Use the code NOURISHED20 for 20% off your order!
Medjool dates are healthy any my favorite natural sweetener. Unlike other sweeteners, dates are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are associated with numerous health benefits.
When it comes to sugar, there are times and certain situations where lower sugar diets (including sugar from fruit) is necessary. You may even find that you feel better eating this way! But for the majority of the population, fruits like dates are not an issue.
I recommend using Joolies Medjool dates or date syrup as your go-to sweetener of choice when possible. You can also satisfy a sugar craving with a date or two. I find these peanut butter stuffed dates always hit the spot!
This post was sponsored by Joolies dates. This is a company and product I love and always have stocked in my pantry. Thank you for supporting brands that help keep Nourished by Nutrition going!
This article really helped for my project using date as a sweetener in tea