Jujube fruit, more commonly known as the Chinese date, has been around since 1000 AD, and it’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat all sorts of ailments like insomnia, fatigue, and indigestion.

More recently, jujubes have become popular in Western countries as a healthy snack food that you can easily take with you on the go or enjoy at home.

These fruits are rich in various nutrients and offer many different health benefits. Find out everything you need to know about jujube fruit nutrition and health benefits here.

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jujube on brown background

What is jujube Fruit?

Jujube fruit (Ziziphus jujube), also known as Chinese date, Chinese jujube, or red date is a sweet slightly tart fruit that comes from a small shrub (jujube tree), belonging to the buckthorn fruit family. It’s closely related to other medicinal plants including shrubs and vines.

It’s believed to have originated from south Asia, specifically north India, Lebanon, and China where it has been cultivated for more than 25000 years. In fact, it has traditionally been used as an alternative remedy to improve sleep and reduce anxiety.

It has also been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to regulate energy, moisten intestines, and improve digestion.

Today jujube has become popular around the world and its cultivation has spread to other tropical areas, including Africa and South America.

This tree produces red or yellow fruits with a seed-containing pit. They are oval-shaped and around 1-inch long (similar to an olive or a small date in size).

The fruit is green when unripe and red or purplish brown with a slightly wrinkled skin (like dates) when mature.

The fruit is typically enjoyed as dried but can also be eaten fresh. 

The traditional consumption methods of jujubes include steaming, roasting, and stewing. They are usually eaten plain or added to other dishes. In addition to being enjoyed as dried fruit, it is commonly served in juice form or added to ice cream and desserts.

Jujube Nutrition

Like many dried fruit, jujube is a great source of vitamin C, iron, fiber, and phytonutrients. It’s also low in calories and offers other vitamins and minerals essential for good health.

According to USDA, half a cup serving (50 grams) of dried jujube offers about:

  • Calories:140
  • Carbohydrates: 36 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Manganese:  15 milligrams, or 650 percent of the daily requirement
  • Vitamin C: 109 milligrams, or 121 percent of the daily requirement
  • Iron: 2.5 milligrams, or 14 percent of the daily requirement
  • Copper: 0.1 milligrams, or 13 percent of the daily requirement
  • Phosphorus: 34 mg, or 5 percent of the daily requirement
  • Potassium: 108 milligrams, or 4 percent of the daily requirement

Raw jujube

 100 grams of raw jujube fruit provides approximately:

  • Calories: 79
  • Carbohydrates: 20 grams
  • Protein: 1.2 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 10 grams
  • Vitamin C: 69.0 milligrams, or 115 percent of the daily requirement
  • Manganese: 0.1 milligram, or 4 percent of the daily requirement
  • Potassium: 250 milligrams, or 7 percent of the daily requirement
  • Copper: 0.1 milligram, or 4 percent of the daily requirement
  • Iron: 0.5 milligram, and 3 percent of the daily requirement

Fresh jujube also contains small amounts of other nutrients including vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Health Benefits of Jujube Fruit

It’s rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells from free radical damage. They play a role in the body’s defense system and can help prevent diseases like cancer.

Jujube fruits are rich in various antioxidant compounds, including vitamin C, polysaccharides, and flavonoids, both of which can play an important role in disease prevention and health promotion.

In one study, flavonoids in jujube fruit were shown to fight liver inflammation and oxidative stress associated with acetaminophen in mice.

Boosts immunity

Having a strong immune system is important for many reasons. It can help you stay healthy during cold and flu season, protect you from other diseases, including autoimmune diseases, even prevent cancer, and help you recover from illnesses faster. A strong immune system can also help you stay healthy throughout your life.

In one lab study, jujube extract was shown to boost natural killer cells, which are key immune-boosting cells that attack and destroy pathogens.

Another lab study found that polysaccharides ( a form of sugar with antioxidant properties) in jujube can help reduce inflammation and neutralize free radicals that may otherwise compromise your immune system.

Jujube fruit is also rich in lignans, a phytonutrient with antioxidant properties. Lignans have been shown to increase immune cell production and the rate at which these cells deactivate harmful free radicals

Improves sleep

There are many health benefits of sleep. For example, getting enough sleep can improve your mood and make you more alert during the day. It can help you lose weight, reduce inflammation, and lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Getting a good night’s sleep is also important for your overall mental and physical well-being.

However, most people don’t get the needed amount each night.

Whether it’s difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep consuming foods like jujube can enhance the length and quality of your sleep.

In fact, jujube fruit and its seed extract have traditionally been used as a remedy for sleep conditions like insomnia. This is because they contain compounds like flavonoids, polysaccharides, and saponins, that have been shown to alleviate depression, promote a sense of calm, and act as a natural sedative, thus helping one to fall asleep.

Boosts brain function

Jujube fruit can protect brain cells from damage and boost memory. Jujube extract can even prevent age-related cognitive decline according to lab studies.

One such study found that jujube extract can help in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Improves digestion

Jujube is high in fiber, an essential nutrient for a healthy digestive system.

It helps move food through the digestive system and cleans the gut. This prevents constipation, promotes regularity, and eases the passage of food through the intestines. Fiber also stimulates the production of stomach acids, which help to break down food. 

In addition, fiber can help lower cholesterol and feed good gut bacteria, which helps maintain healthy gut flora.

Moreover, studies show that jujube may fight inflammation in the digestive system, which may help strengthen the stomach and intestinal lining. This prevents damage from various factors, including injury, ulcers, and harmful bacteria.

A great source of vitamin C

Fifty grams of Jujube provides more than your daily recommended amounts, making it a great vitamin C alternative.

Vitamin C is a nutrient with numerous health benefits. It can help improve your immune system and protect you from diseases. It can also help to promote better absorption of other nutrients, including iron.

Additionally, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Vitamin C has also been shown to maintain healthy and strong joints. It’s also an essential nutrient for hair and skin health and can promote wound healing.

Boost iron levels

Dry jujube is a good source of iron and if taken regularly, it may help increase your levels.

Iron is an essential mineral for the body. It helps make hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. In addition, iron promotes the production of red blood cells, supports nerve function, and maintains muscle tissue. Because of its importance, getting enough iron in your diet is essential.

You get most of your iron from food, but you can also get it from supplements. However, unless prescribed by a doctor, supplements may cause iron overload, which may cause other health issues.

So it’s always good to stick to food sources unless otherwise. Incorporating jujube into your diet, in addition to other iron-rich foods can help keep your levels within the required range.

Lowers blood pressure

Jujube fruit is a great source of lignan, a polysaccharide that has been shown to lower blood pressure. The fruit also contains magnesium and potassium, which helps control blood pressure. Additionally, the fruit contains antioxidants that can prevent damage to the arteries.
Finally, jujube offers a good amount of fiber, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Surprising Ways to Add Jujube Fruit to Your Diet

Adding jujube fruit to your diet in new and creative ways can really help increase your intake of vitamins, fiber, and minerals, so you’re sure to be healthier overall. Here is how you can start enjoying them today.

Eat it fresh

Jujubes are among the most refreshing fruits in the world. With a distinctively sweet and juicy apple-like flavor, fresh jujube can be enjoyed as a healthy snack throughout the day.

Use it as a topping on yogurt or ice cream

One way you can enjoy jujube fruit is by using it as a topping on yogurt or ice cream. The jujubes give a burst of flavor and will add some sweetness without using sugar.

Simply slice dry jujube into two or three pieces, then cover with water and let them sit overnight or for a few hours to soak up enough liquid to make them plump and juicy before you can use them.

Make jujube juice

There are many ways to enjoy jujube fruit, and one of the best is to make jujube fruit juice. Jujube juice is a great way to get more nutrients and antioxidants into your diet. It is also a delicious way to start your day.

Besides,  it’s a healthy refreshing snack that is perfect for on-the-go situations or after lunch or dinner.

Add the jujubes to a blender with water and blend until smooth. Strain out the pulp to obtain your juice. You can refrigerate the juice for later use or drink it right away. 

In oatmeal

If you’re looking for a way to enjoy jujubes without worrying about the sugar content, try eating jujubes in oatmeal. Oats provide a moist environment where the jujubes can soften and blend seamlessly with the other flavors. Add jujubes to your morning oats for a sweet and satisfying breakfast or snack.

In salads

When jujubes are eaten in salads, they add sweetness and juiciness, perfect for adding depth and flavor to the dish. They can also substitute for other sweet fruits in salads, such as mango or pineapple.

To get the most out of jujubes in salads, try mixing them with different greens and spices. For example, try mixing them with chopped kale, fresh mint, and pepper flakes for a spicy salad. Or try mixing them with baby spinach leaves, roasted almonds, and lemon juice for a more classic salad recipe.

Jujube smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to get your fruit and veg fix in one go, and they’re easy to make. Simply blend together some jujube fruit, yogurt or milk, and whatever else you like (nuts, seeds, berries, etc.), and you’re good to go!

Baked goods

Baked goods are a great way to enjoy the flavor of jujube fruit and get some added nutrients. There are several different recipes that you can try, such as cinnamon buns, muffins, and danishes. You can also mix jujube fruit with other fruits to create amazing desserts.

Possible side effects

Consuming normal food amounts of jujube fruit is safe for most people, but overconsumption may result in some side effects, including bloating, constipation, drowsiness, diarrhea, and reduced appetite.

Some sensitive people may also experience allergic reactions.

Also, certain groups of people, like those with underlying medical conditions, especially those taking medications like antidepressants, may want to avoid it as the effects of this fruit may cause drug interaction.

If you have diabetes, jujube may also impact your blood sugar levels.

Final Thoughts

Jujube is a fruit with a long history of being regarded as medicinal in ancient Chinese medicine.

What’s more, the health benefits of jujube fruit have been well documented in scientific studies.

Some of the most common ones include promoting better sleep, improving digestion, strengthening the immune system, boosting brain health, preventing cognitive decline, and fighting inflammation.

Jujube also contains antioxidant properties that protect the body against damage from free radicals.

Overall, the health benefits of jujube fruit are numerous and well documented. If you are looking for a healthy snack or beverage option, jujube fruit should be at the top of your list.

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