There is not a more crucial time than this day and age to be eating more healthily. With the amount of toxins, pollution and waste in our atmosphere, we have spent too much time neglecting our bodies and environment. A great way to begin introducing healthy foods into your diet is by incorporating dates into it. Dates are a delicious, sweet fruit which supply the body with many essential nutrients required to maintain human health (Amanat et al., 2012). Four of many benefits of dates discussed in this essay include:
- high nutritional value
- tonic for labour
- fight diabetes
- prevents chronic diseases
High nutritional value
Date fruit has many properties but its most beneficial is that it is packed with all the best nutrients in only one simple food. They contain many important vitamins and minerals, including significant amounts of calcium, iron, and low in sodium (Amanat et al., 2012). In addition, to high levels of potassium, and magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium and small quantities of boron (Barreveld, 1993). Dates are so rich in nutrients they would be a good alternative for the malnourished in third world countries for their basic nutritional requirements and to ﬁght against deﬁciency related diseases and infections. Al-Showiman suggested that this fruit can be used as a supplement for iron deficiency without any side effects that occur with tablet supplements. Despite having little amounts of boron, it is still useful in fighting brain cancer and rheumatism (1998). Overall, dates are a great way to maintain health as they contain many natural vitamins and minerals.
Tonic for labour
Another significant advantage of dates are its incredible power of inducing labour. Women who are close to their due date are encouraged to eat dates because they help stimulate and strengthen the uterine muscles. Date fruit also supports the healing process postpartum by preventing bleeding because of its con-striciting properties (Amanat et al., 2012). Allah (SWT) recommended Maryam (mother of Prophet Jesus) to eat dates to relieve her delivery pains (Al-Qur’an, 19:23–26). To sum up, dates do not only hold nutritional value but also have medical benefits as its most common use is as a tonic for women who are close to giving birth.
Another medical use of dates is its ability to prevent and reduce the risk and effects of diabetes. Despite it being a sweet fruit, Vayalil (2012) stated that there are many misconceptions that dates are similar to sweets and its daily consumption would develop chronic diseases, although many studies have refuted this accusation. Weickert and Pfeiffer (2008) portrayed that its nutritional benefit of containing dietary fiber ‘contribute to a number of metabolic effects, which include improvement of insulin sensitivity, modulation of the secretion of certain gut hormones, and effects on various metabolic and inﬂammatory markers that are associated with metabolic syndrome’. In conclusion, consumption of rich dietary fiber dates helps fight diabetes.
Prevents chronic diseases
There is compelling evidence that suggest dates can prevent chronic diseases including cancer and different heart diseases. Ishruda and John (2005) observed that the preparations made from the extracted polysaccharides from dates exhibited a dose-dependent anticancer activity. Date fruit have been shown to contain antioxidant and antimutagenic properties (Al-Farsi et al., 2005), which has also been proven to prevent cancers. Moreover, dates are a rich source of hydroxyl pope folic acid and therefore eating dates can increase the body’s immunity and resistance to cancers (Amanat et al., 2012). Finally, several studies have been carried out that prove dates’ ability to prevent destructive illnesses.
Ultimately, date fruit is tasty, healthy and in many different ways significantly beneficial to man. Dates are a gift of nature to those unfortunately in third world countries without basic necessities, for general nutritional therapeutic diet and a potential emerging medicinal food because it is rich with many essential vitamins and minerals substituting supplements. Its complex properties help tonic labour, and postpartum bleeding, as well as reducing the risk of diabetes and chronic diseases.
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Al-Farsi, M., Alasalvar, C., Morris, A., Baron, M., and Shahidi, F. 2005b. Comparison of antioxidant activity, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and phenolic of three native fresh and sun dried date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) varieties grown in Oman. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 53: 7592–7599.
Al-Showiman, S.S. 1998. Al Tamr, Ghetha was Saha (date, Food and Health). Saudi Arabia: Dar Al-Khareji Press.
Amanat, A., Mostafa, W., Musthafa, M.E. and Sankar, D. 2012. Nutritional and Medicinal Value of Date Fruit. Dates: Production, Processing, Food, and Medicinal Values. 50. 361.
Barreveld, W.H. 1993. Date-Palm Products. Bulletin No 101. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Ishruda, O. and John, F.K. 2005. The anticancer activity of polysaccharide prepared from Libyan dates (Phoenix dactylifera L.). Carbohydrate Polymers 59: 531–535(s).
Vayalil, P. 2012. Date Fruits ( Phoenix dactylifera Linn): An Emerging Medicinal Food. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. 52. 249-71.
Weickert, M. O. and Pfeiffer, A. F. H. 2008. Metabolic effects of dietary ﬁber consumption and prevention of diabetes. J. Nutr. 138(3): 439–442.