You already know that fruit plays an important role in any healthy diet, serving up natural sugars in a world full of chemically processed, ‘added’ variations of the sweet stuff. But there’s one fruit that arguably reigns king in the realm of long-lasting energy (via complex carbs), healthy fiber (to slow down sugar’s absorption), antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals: the ancient Medjool date.
Dates—the fruit of the date palm tree, an indigenous plant to the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—have been around for more the 5,000 years. And the Medjool date—a larger, softer, sweeter variation grown in the United States’ Southwest—has some serious benefits for athletes.
Medjool dates pack at least 15 minerals, 23 amino acids, healthy fats, and fiber, research finds. Consequently, Medjool dates have enough fuel to energize your day and workout, boosting both performance and recovery.
Medjool dates are versatile—you can eat them whole, blend them in smoothies, or make a syrup—and work well in a ton of different meals and foods. Here are seven easy ways to fit them into your diet.