Nutritional Benefits of Date Fruit
Written by: Dr. Hadeel Ali Ghazzawi
Lecturer at The University of Jordan. Nutrition and Food Science Department. (21/09/2014)
- Date Fruit
- Promoting Health
- Adults & Children
- Daily Vitamins
- Therapeautic Properties
- Low (GI)
- Proven History
A Brief History
Date Fruit (DF) may be considered as a gift of nature to the people.
Date palm is one of the oldest trees cultivated by man. Date fruits have been ascribed to have many medicinal properties when consumed either alone or in combination with other herbs. Fruit of the date palm served as the staple food for millions of people around the world for several centuries.
In recent years, an explosion of interest in the numerous health benefits of dates had appeared. On the basis of available documentation in the literature on the nutritional and phytochemical composition, it is apparent that the date fruits are highly nutritious and may have several potential health benefits.
Owing to its high nutritive values and potential health promoting activities, date fruit may be considered as an emerging and potential candidate for the development of health-promoting foods.
Date is a fruit of high nutrient value compared to any other fruits commonly consumed by human.
Nutritional Impact on Adults & Children
Date fruit is a potential nutritional therapeutic diet for infants, adults and patients with metabolic syndrome and against the development of related diseases such as diabetes, CHD, stroke, etc.
The antioxidant activity and anti-hypocholesterolemic (lowering blood cholesterol) effect of DFs have been proved. Studies showed that a consumption of 100 g/day of dates for four weeks does not alter body mass index and glucose while significantly reduced serum triacylglycerol and VLDL after consumption of dates. These studies have also shown that dates reduced the oxidative stress by 33%.
Date fruits have also been reported to have several other health benefits such as laxative property that is good for hypertensive patient, protective effects against chemical induced toxicity, neuro-protective effects, anti-ulcer effect and fungal and bacteria infections treatment. There are also potential medical nutritional therapies for Cardio-, Cerebro-Vascular Diseases and cancer preventive diet.
Daily Vitamins & Mineral Intake
It is an energy-rich food containing high concentrations of healthy carbohydrates and several essential nutrients such as minerals, amino acids, and vitamins that are required to maintain human health. Consumption of DFs would contribute significantly to the daily requirement of many of these components such as carbohydrates and minerals such as Fe, Mg, Ca, Zn, P, Cu, Se, I, etc. Dates are also a reasonable source of vitamins such as niacin, B6 and folate. Therefore, daily consumption of DF may be a good alternative for the treatment of deficiency related diseases such as anemia, goiter, rickets and osteomalacia.
Moreover, DF is a potential nutritional therapy for osteoporosis, arthritis and other diseases related to bone metabolism, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cataracts and age spots, by supplementing minerals such as Ca, Cu, Se and P for the body’s needs.
Low GI (Glycemic Index)
Although dates are sugar-packed, many date varieties are low Glycemic Index diet. Low glycemic index diet is the best diet choices for pre-diabetic, diabetic people and who are trying to lose weight while feeling full. Sugars and fibers in date fruit take longer time to raise the blood glucose in comparing with high glycemic index food such as candies. When taking Mabroom date fruit in the breakfast it will give the feeling of fullness and satiety as long as the brain freshness of simple sugar awakening.
The natives of Middle East and Northern Africa admire date fruit for its nutritional and pharmacological properties. Date is mainly consumed to meet the daily energy requirement. Accordingly, DF consumption may serve as a single food source providing the benefits of both fruit and cereals to meet the daily nutritional requirements.
Therefore, DF consumption would be a good alternative for the malnourished infants and adults for their basic nutritional requirements and to fight against deficiency related diseases and infections.
1. PRAVEEN K. VAYALIL;
“Date Fruits (Phoenix dactylifera Linn): An Emerging Medicinal Food.” Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 52:249–271 (2012).
2. Ismail, B., Haffar, I., Baalbaki, R., Mechref, Y., and Henry, J.
Physicochemical characteristics and total quality of five date varieties grown in the United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Food Science And Technology. 41(8): 919–926 (2006).