Dates: A Power Food for Athletes

For the endurance athlete, or those with a physically demanding job, dates are an excellent power food. Though odd in its appearance, the date (Phoenix dactylifera), is a rich source of fast-acting, easily digestible carbohydrates in the form of natural sugars (66 g per 100g / 3.5 oz. serving). Athletes who train for triathlons, distance running, biking or swimming events can count on dates to provide a nutrient-rich source of sustained energy.

Dates contain vitamins A and K, as well as many of the B vitamins. The fruit is also full of minerals such as copper, selenium, magnesium and manganese, all of which have important health benefits. These specific minerals are essential to the function of our cells, particularly muscle cells, and need to be replaced after strenuous physical activity. Dates also contain antioxidants that help protect cells from oxidative damage. Just one serving provides seven grams of dietary fiber, which supports healthy gut function.

When eating dates, you may want to mix them with raw nuts and seeds for an on-the-go snack. Add chopped dates to yogurt or add them as a topping to brown rice cakes for a yummy, nutritious snack before training.

Resources “Dates: The Perfect Pre-workout Snack” Accessed 20 Feb 2019:

Chao, C. & Krueger, R. “The Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.): Overview of Biology, Uses, and Cultivation.” HortScience (August 2007) 42:5. 1077-1082. Full Text Article Accessed 4 Jan 2020:

Al-Shahib, W. & Marshall, R.J., “The fruit of the date palm: its possible use as the best food for the future?” Int J. Food Scie Nutri. (2003, Jul), 54:4, 247-59. Accessed 5 Dec 2019: (full text)

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