Dates are nutritional powerhouses packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They provide a wide range of potential health benefits. But when you blend them into a milkshake, does it still remain a healthy choice? Let’s take a detailed look at the nutrition facts.
Nutritional Content of Dates
Dates are high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Just a 100 gram serving provides:
- 277 calories
- 6.7 grams of dietary fiber (27% DV)
- 696 milligrams of potassium (20% DV)
- 54 milligrams of magnesium (14% DV)
- 0.4 milligrams of vitamin B6 (16% DV)
- 0.05 milligrams of vitamin B2 (3% DV)
- 0.066 milligrams of copper (7% DV)
- 0.29 milligrams of manganese (15% DV)
Dates also contain antioxidants like flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids that can help reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage. The combination of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants make dates a very healthy fruit choice.
Potential Health Benefits of Dates
Research has linked dates to the following potential health benefits:
- Improved digestion: The fiber in dates helps promote regularity and healthy digestion. One study found dates helped increase stool frequency in people with constipation.
- Reduced inflammation: Antioxidants in dates may help reduce inflammation throughout the body and lower the risk of inflammatory diseases.
- Lower blood pressure: The potassium in dates may help relax blood vessel walls and lower blood pressure levels.
- Reduced heart disease risk: Dates have been linked to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels and reduced oxidative damage to cells, both of which can lower heart disease risk.
- Better brain health: Dates provide key minerals like potassium and magnesium that support nerve function and may help improve memory and cognition as we age.
Nutrition Facts of Dates Milkshakes
When making a dates milkshake, the specific nutrition details will vary based on the ingredients and portions used. But in general, a dates milkshake made with 2-3 chopped Medjool dates, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup ice cream would provide:
|Nutrient||Amount||% Daily Value|
As you can see, while dates add useful fiber and potassium, blending them into a milkshake also introduces a lot more calories, fat, and sugar compared to eating the whole dates alone. A dates milkshake provides over 500 calories and 17g of fat per serving.
Potential Downsides of Dates Milkshakes
Here are some potential cons of dates milkshakes to keep in mind:
- High in calories and fat, especially from ice cream
- Large spike in blood sugar from added sugars
- Less fiber compared to eating whole dates
- Easy to consume excess calories and sugar in liquid form
Blending dates may cause a loss of some of the fiber found in whole dates. And pairing dates with high-sugar ingredients like ice cream introduces a lot of added sugar.
This large influx of calories and sugar from a dates milkshake can promote weight gain and increase diabetes risk for some individuals. For example, a milkshake made with 2 Medjool dates (about 66 calories each) and 1 cup each of milk and vanilla ice cream has around 530 calories. Compare that to just eating 2-3 dates alone at 132-200 calories.
Healthier Ways to Enjoy Date Milkshakes
You can make some simple modifications to still enjoy the flavor of dates in milkshakes while reducing calories, fat, and sugar:
- Use reduced-fat or fat-free milk instead of whole milk.
- Choose low-fat frozen yogurt or ice cream alternative instead of regular ice cream.
- Limit to just 1-2 chopped dates to reduce sugar content.
- Add hemp, chia, flax, or whey protein powder for extra nutrients.
- Use a natural sweetener like stevia instead of sugar.
- Throw in a handful of spinach for added vitamins and minerals.
- Top with sliced almonds, walnuts, or pecans for healthy fats and crunch.
- Blend with avocado for creamy texture and nutrients.
Focusing on more whole food, lower sugar ingredients can help provide a more balanced nutritional profile. But portions will still be important – a large milkshake can still pack in excess calories.
Overall, dates on their own are very nutritious and linked to many health benefits. But turned into a dates milkshake with ice cream, they end up providing more calories, fat, and sugar than the dates alone. While dates milkshakes can be an occasional treat, they may promote weight gain or blood sugar spikes if consumed frequently or in large portions. Making some simple ingredient swaps can help make dates milkshakes a bit healthier. But as with any treat, moderate portions are key.
Dates are an amazing healthy food full of fiber, potassium, antioxidants, and other key nutrients. But blending them into a milkshake introduces excess calories, fat, and sugar that is not as healthy. Dates milkshakes end up being high in calories and carbs compared to eating dates on their own. To lighten them up, use lower fat dairy and ice cream alternatives, limit added sugar, and focus on more whole foods like fruits, protein, and healthy fats. Overall, dates shakes can be enjoyed in moderation as part of an otherwise balanced diet, but they are lower in fiber and higher in fat and sugar content compared to whole dates alone.