Dates are edible fruits of the date palm tree that is thought to have originated from the Arabian Gulf. The date palm tree can grow up to 25 meters in height. Date palms trees have been cultivated since the ancient times with dates (fruits) used in making of wine and as food. Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the largest producers of dates in the world, with each producing over 1,000 metric tones annually. The US, Tunisia, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and UAE are other major producers.
Nutritional Value of Dates
Both dates and date leaves are eaten as food. Both have high nutritional value that is necessary for good health. Dates contain carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber, fat, protein, water, vitamins (A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, C, E and K), minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc. These are very important nutrients that your body requires for proper body development and growth.
Health Benefits of Dates
- Dates have a tonic effect and have been used since ancient times as remedy for treating intestinal disturbances in both adults and children. Clean and fresh dates are simply added into boiling milk to produce a nourishing and restorative drink. The drink has a negative effect on pathological organisms and therefore promotes the establishment of healthy bacteria within the intestines.
- Eating dates does not only prevent constipation but also treats the same. The resultant roughage has the effect of stimulating sluggish bowels, which leads to bowel movement. The laxative effect is achieved by soaking dates overnight in water and preparing it into syrup before drinking. The drink is also very effective in treating alcohol intoxication. In addition the drink is also a very good remedy for treating weak heart as it strengthens heart muscles.
- Studies conducted on drinks obtained by mixing dates and goat’s milk has established that such a drink increases sex libido in both men and women. The drink is very popular in areas where date palms are grown. The drink is obtained by soaking dates in fresh goat’s milk overnight before grinding the same in the milk the following day. The drink has also been found to be beneficial to pregnant women in the last trimester as it strengthens uterine muscles, which is important in dilating the uterus during delivery. This greatly helps to minimize bleeding.
- Eating of dates has been established to alleviate stress and depression in a great way. This is largely thought to be because of the laxative effect. It is very beneficial to breast-feeing women as it enriches milk. Because a breast-feeding mother passes some of the nutrients to her baby through breast milk, a baby is bound to receive vital nutrients necessary for proper development and growth.
Dates can readily be obtained either fresh or dried. Purchasing those that are sold in the open require great care. This is because they can be contaminated and therefore need to be properly cleaned before consumption. Cleaned dates can however be purchased from food stores and other outlets. Dates can be mixed with milk or other solutions or soaked and pounded to make syrup.