The date fruit goes a long way back in ancient times and is believed to have originated somewhere around the Persian Gulf, from what is now known as Iraq. Dates refer to the fruits of the date palm tree. From the time it was discovered till date, dates were known to have healing powers and were used as remedies in an era before the onset of science and technology.
These numerous health benefits have now been scientifically backed up following so many research and observations. Asides from its numerous amazing health benefits, dates are very delicious. Egyptians were known to have made wine with dates.
Through trade, dates traveled to different cities around the world. Today, it continues to be one of the most important ingredients in Middle Western cuisine. There are, at least, 30 varieties of date around the world and they all fall under the three broad types – soft, semi-dry, and dry and the differentiation is made according to the glucose, sucrose and fructose content. Some of the varietals are:
- Zaghloul, which is found exclusively in Egypt and has a dark red skin, crunchy in texture, and is longish in structure. It is also very sweet.
- Khadrawy, which is popular among the Arabs and it is a soft and dark date.
- Sukkary, from Saudi Arabia. It has a dark brown skin, a soft flesh and is uniquely sweet. The Sukkary is one of the most expensive variety of dates.
Here are a few reasons to consume dates regularly:
- Healthy Digestive System: Dates promotes digestion, treats constipation, diarrhea and treats intestinal disorders as well.
- Promotes Digestion: They are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, and this plays an important role in promoting healthy bowel movements and comfortable passage of food through the digestive tract. They also contain many beneficial amino acids which can stimulate the digestion of food and make it more efficient. That is, more nutrients will be absorbed by the digestive tract and enter your body for proper usage.
- Treatment of constipation: Dates are awesome laxative food and this makes them highly beneficial for those suffering from constipation. Just soak them in water overnight and eat them in the morning like syrups for the best result.
- Treatment of Diarrhea: diarrhea is caused due to several factors. Ripe dates contain potassium, which helps in managing looseness of the bowels and are effective for the treatment of diarrhea. The soluble fiber in dates also provide bulk to the bowel movements, promoting a healthy functioning excretory system.
- Treats intestinal disorders: dates have a substantial amount of nicotine content which is thought to be beneficial for curing many kids of intestinal disorders. Continuous intake helps inhibit the growth of the pathological organisms and thus help stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
- Healthy Bone: dates contain significant amount of minerals such as magnesium, manganese, copper and selenium and all of these are required for healthy bones. They contribute to healthy bone development and strength and are useful in curing diseases like osteoporosis. This is beneficial particularly as people age, their bones gradually weaken.
- Treatment of Anemia: anemia is a disease condition characterized by low level of red blood cells in the human body and is caused by iron deficiency. Dates are the perfect home remedy for treating anemia as they contain an impressive amount of iron. The high level of iron in dates balances out the inherent lack of iron in anemic patients, increasing energy and strength while decreasing feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. Regular consumption of date boosts iron level in the blood and not only does this cure anemia, but also increases strength and vitality. Plus, it is great for blood purification as well.
- Promotes healthy weight gain and muscle building: dates consist of sugar, proteins and many essential vitamins and is perfect for healthy weight gain. If you are underweight and are looking to add a few extra pounds, consuming dates is a very good option to consider. Also, if you are trying to build your muscles, or you have become weak due to some medical problems, you need to eat dates. Many body builders are advised to consume dates to help build muscle and maintain muscle strength. Consuming dates with cucumber paste helps to maintain normal healthy weight without causing mal-nourishment.
- Treatment of allergies: organic Sulphur, which is rarely found in other foods, but is of considerable amount in dates, has several health benefits. One of these benefits is the reduction of allergic reactions and seasonal allergies. They are a great way to stem the effects of those seasonal allergies through their contributions to sulfur in the diet.
- Energy booster: dates contain a high amount of natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. They are the perfect snack for an immediate supply of energy. Chewing dates can help you regain your energy during workouts and on a stressful day when you feel exhausted and need that healthy energy boost.
- Maintain nervous system health: dates contain vitamin which boosts the health and the functionality of the human nervous system. Dates also contain lots of potassium and little sodium and these keep the nervous system in order. Its potassium content helps increase the speed and alertness of the brain. Therefore, dates are a wonderful food source for people as they age as it helps as their nervous system becomes sluggish or unsupported. It is also recommended for people who want to keep their minds sharp and alert.
- Reduces cholesterol: dates contain very little fat and are free from cholesterol including them in small quantities in your daily diet can help keep a check on cholesterol levels.
- For a healthy heart: mentioned above, dates contain high quantities of potassium which have shown to reduce stroke and other heart-related diseases. When soaked overnight, crushed and ate in the morning, they have a positive effect on weak hearts. They also help reduce LDL cholesterol in the body, which is a major contributing factor to heart attacks and strokes. When taken constantly, dates can therefore improve the overall health of the heart.
- Treats sexual weakness and increases sexual stamina: dates are a great natural aphrodisiac. According to a 2006 study by Bahmanpour, it was found that dates contain high levels of estradiol and flavonoid, which increases sperm count and motility, as well as increasing testes size and weight. They were also found to increase sexual stamina and reduces sterility.
- Prevents night blindness: according to studies, when dates are ingested, it reduces the frequency of night blindness. It also works when the leaves of the date palm tree are ground into a paste and rubbed on or around the eyes. This solution is commonly used in rural areas where dates grow and are used as alternative medicine.
- Prevent Abdominal Cancer: research has shown that consuming dates works to reduce the risk and impact of abdominal cancer. They work as a tonic and in some cases, they work better than traditional medicines. As they are natural, they are also free of the various side effects that come with some common drugs.
- Dental health: dates contain fluorine, which removes plaque from the teeth, therefore preventing tooth decay. It also strengthens the tooth enamel. Tooth enamel, which is made up of hydroxyapatites, becomes resistant against tooth decay when it comes in contact with fluorine.
- Beneficial for pregnant women: dates contain iron and help prevent anemia in the expecting mother. It also strengthens the muscles of the uterus, allowing it to enlarge in a smooth and safe manner. It improves the mother’s milk quality, making it healthier for the born child. It also helps prevent post-natal hemorrhage.
- Beautiful and healthy skin: dates contain lots of nutrients to help give you a beautiful and healthy skin. Some of the amazing skin benefits of dates are:
- Anti-ageing effects: the vitamin c present in dates resists oxidation and prevents the accumulation of melanin inside the human body, therefore reducing the occurrence of wrinkles. Dates also help detoxify the body, counteracting the harmful radicals in the body. This also helps prevent premature ageing of skin.
- Maintenance of healthy skin: the flavonoids and vitamin c present in dates can improve skin elasticity and enrich subcutaneous tissues, making the skin the skin smooth and tender. They also contain vitamin B5, which helps prevent stretch marks and other skin conditions.
Healthy hair: dates are abundant in vitamins which is essential for the maintenance of a healthy hair. Deficiency of these vitamins, especially vitamin B5 can lead to problems like hair loss, split ends, and brittle hair.
Dates carry a tremendous amount of nutritional values and should be consumed constantly. However, one should be picky when buying dates. Because their surface is very sticky, they attract various impurities. It’s advised to only consume the ones that are processed and packaged properly. Be sure to wash them thoroughly before eating to help remove impurities present on the surface.