Red dates (红枣) (scientific name: Ziziphus jujuba), aka jujubes, aka Chinese dates, are also called “the king[s] of nuts” (百果之王) for their high nutritional value. In addition to smelling sweet and being soft and moist, red dates are regarded as a superfood. Their vitamin C content is 80 times higher than grapes and apples. They also have an abundance of vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. Red dates can help protect the liver and stimulate white blood cells, therefore boosting immunity. Their high vitamin content and antioxidative power can also suppress cancer-causing cells and lower cholesterol.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, red dates raise yang energy in the body to strengthen the spleen and stomach, replenish qi, nourish and regenerate blood and calm the mind. They are often added to more toxic herbal remedies to counteract side effects such as stomach upset from the medicine.
I am often told that red dates are especially good for women. Since red dates can enrich and replenish blood, women often eat red dates to recover the blood that’s lost during that special time of the month. Because red dates can re-balance the body’s qi, they can also help women conceive.