Superfood Series A-Z: Dates

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Eating fresh fruit is generally recommended over munching on dried fruit. A cup of dried fruit contains less water and more sugar than a cup of fresh fruit. However, dried fruit still boasts several nutritional benefits; more specifically, think about adding dates to your diet.

One Medjool date (pictured above) packs anywhere from 25 to 65 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrates.If you are trying to gain healthy weight to enhance your performance, eat up! Eating three to five dates for dessert or as a snack is a great, convenient way to sneak in some calories and extra carbs. However, it's not recommended as a pre-workout snack because of its high fiber content.

By eating dates, you can knock out some of your daily portions of B vitamins—which are important for energy production—as well as vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid. Dates are loaded with dietary fiber, important for digestion and, well, feeling full.

According to an article in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, dates are an "almost ideal food, providing a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits." Dates contain more than 15 minerals, including potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc (a best friend to the body's immune system). They also contain antioxidants beta-carotene, lutein and polyphenols, an anti-inflammatory; and they have fluorine, which helps protect teeth from decay.

Deglet Noor dates, which are commonly chopped up and thrown into store-bought trail mixes, have about 150 calories per cup but contain nearly four times less sugar than Medjools—yet they have similar nutritional value (when compared by weight).

Consider adding dates to your diet for a healthy and delicious boost of energy and vitamins.

Other "D" Superfoods
Dark Chocolate
Dandelion Greens

Read up on superfoods A-C.

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