History of Dates
Wild dates probably evolved around 50 million years ago, as a way for date palms to get animals to eat their seeds and carry them to other places before pooping them out.
Date palms are palm trees, related to the palms that Africans got palm oil from. Date palms can live for up to two hundred years.
Wild dates probably first grew around the Persian Gulf, in what is now Iraq and Iran. When people first left Africa to travel along the coastline towards India, about 60,000 BC, they must have found and eaten wild dates.
By around 4000 BC
People in West Asia and Egypt, North Africa, and India, were already farming dates and eating a lot of them. Our word date comes from the Semitic words for dates, daqal or deqel.
People pollinated the dates by hand, climbing the date palms with male pollen and smearing it on the female flowers.
They harvested the dates during the summer, between June and September depending on the type of date.
People loved to eat dates because they are very sweet, and also a good source of potassium. When people didn’t have sugar, dates were a great dessert.
Dates are long oval fruits.
Each date has one big seed inside it. You can eat dates fresh, or dry them like raisins. Sometimes people coated dried dates with honey so they would last longer.
In Egypt, people also made dates into date wine, and they also used dates to sweeten their beer; in North Africa, people used the sap from the date palm to make palm wine.
Health Benefits Of Dates
Dates are often categorized as a laxative food. This is why they are so frequently eaten by people suffering from constipation.
In order to achieve the desired laxative effect of dates, you should soak some of them in water over night, then consume it in the morning when it becomes like a syrup, to get the most optimal results.
Dates have high levels of soluble fiber, which is essential in promoting healthy bowel movements and the comfortable passage of food through the intestinal tract, which can relieve symptoms of constipation.
2. Bone Health and Strength
The significant amounts of minerals found in dates make it a super food for strengthening bones and fighting off painful and debilitating diseases like osteoporosis.
Date contains selenium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
All of which are integral to healthy bone development and strength. Particularly as people begin to age and their bones gradually weaken. So eat your dates and give a boost to your bones!
3. Intestinal Disorders
The nicotine content in dates is thought to be beneficial for curing many kinds of intestinal disorders.
Continuous intake of dates helps to inhibit growth of the pathological organisms and thus, they help stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
In terms of digestive issues, dates contain insoluble and soluble fibers, as well as many beneficial amino acids which can stimulate the digestion of food and make it more efficient. Meaning that more nutrients will be absorbed by the digestive tract and enter your body for proper usage.
Dates have a high mineral content, which is beneficial for many different health conditions. But their impressive levels of iron make them a perfect dietary supplement for people suffering from anemia.
The high level of iron balances out the inherent lack of iron in anemic patients, increasing energy and strength, while decreasing feelings of fatigue and sluggishness.
One of the most interesting facets of dates is the presence of organic sulfur in them.
This is not a very common element to find in foods, but it does have a worthwhile amount of health benefits, including the reduction of allergic reactions and seasonal allergies.
According to a study done in 2002, organic sulfur compounds can have a positive impact on the amount of suffering people experience from SAR (Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis). Which affects approximately 23 million people in the United States alone.
Dates are a great way to somewhat stem the effects of those seasonal allergies through its contributions of sulfur to the diet.
6. Weight Gain
Dates should be included as a part of a healthy diet. They consist of sugar, proteins and many essential vitamins.
If dates are consumed with cucumber paste, you can keep your weight at a normal, balanced level, rather than over-slimming. One kilogram of dates contains almost 3,000 calories, and the calories in dates are sufficient to meet the daily requirements for a human body.
Of course, you should not eat just dates throughout the day. If you are thin and slim and want to increase your weight, or if you are trying to build your muscles to impress some girl. Or you have become weak due to a serious medical problem – you need to eat dates!
7. Energy Booster
Dates are high in natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Therefore, they are the perfect snack for an immediate burst of energy.
Many people around the world use dates for a quick afternoon snack when they are feeling lethargic or sluggish.
Often when you exercise in a gym, outside or even on a stretching machine at home, you feel exhausted, chewing few dates at such times helps you regain your energy immediately.
8. Beneficial for Pregnant Women
Dates also offer several benefits during pregnancy. Being rich in iron, dates prevent anaemia in the would-be-mother as well as the foetus.
They also cause an improvement in the uterus muscles, allowing it to enlarge in a smooth manner. Dates also improve the mother’s milk by providing adequate nutrition to it. They prevent haemorrhage soon after childbirth.
9. Nervous System Health
The vitamins present in dates make it an ideal boost to nervous system health and functionality.
Potassium is one of the prime ingredients in promoting a healthy and responsive nervous system, and it also improves the speed and alertness of brain activity.
Therefore, dates are a wonderful food source for people as they begin to age and their nervous system becomes sluggish or unsupported, as well as for people who want to keep their mind sharp.
10. Healthy Heart
Dates are quite helpful in keeping your heart healthy. When they are soaked for the night, crushed in the morning and then consumed, they have been shown to have a positive effect on weak hearts.
Dates are also a rich source of potassium, which studies have shown to reduce the risk of stroke and other heart related diseases.
Furthermore, they are suggested as a healthy and delicious way to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body. Which is a major contributing factor of heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke. Therefore, when taken twice a week, dates can seriously improve the overall health of the heart.
11. Healthy Hair
Dates are abundant in vitamins, particularly vitamin B5, which is vital for the maintenance of healthy hair.
Deficiency of this vitamin can cause hair problems like hair loss, brittle hair and split ends. Consumption of dates can help minimize these problems.
12. Sexual Weakness
Studies have shown that dates are even beneficial for increasing sexual stamina. Soak a handful of dates in fresh goat’s milk over night, then grind them in the same milk with a mixture of cardamom powder and honey.
This mixture becomes a very useful tonic for increasing sexual endurance and reducing sterility caused by various sexual disorders. The science behind this phenomenon is largely due to traditional usage which stimulated formal research.
In 2006, Bahmanpour studied the effects of date palms and their oil on sexual functioning and found that the high levels of estradiol and flavonoid components of dates are what increase sperm count and motility. As well as promoting increased testes size and weight.
So, if you are looking for a masculine boost, eat some dates, because they are a great natural aphrodisiac!
13. Night Blindness
The benefits of dates are extensive, and are commonly employed to fight off various conditions affecting the ear, nose, and throat.
When the leaves of the date palm are ground into a paste and rubbed on and around the eyes, or when dates are ingested orally.
It has been shown to reduce the frequency of night blindness, and this solution is commonly used in rural areas where dates grow as an alternative medicine.
Dates are commonly used as a remedy for alcoholic intoxication. Dates provide quick relief and have a sobering effect in case you feel as though have consumed an uncomfortable amount of alcohol.
They can also be used the following morning to prevent severe hangovers. Again, they should be rubbed and soaked overnight for the best results.
Ripe dates contain potassium, which is known as an effective way of controlling diarrhea.
They are also easy to digest, which further helps alleviate the unpredictable nature of chronic diarrhea.
The soluble fiber in dates can also help relieve diarrhea, by providing bulk to the bowel movements and promoting normal, healthy functioning of the excretory system.
16. Anti-ageing Benefits
Dates are a rich source of antioxidants, which can effectively counter the harmful free radicals in the body, thus preventing premature ageing of skin. Vitamin C, in particular.
Helps to decrease the occurrence of wrinkles by resisting oxidation and preventing the accumulation of melanin inside the human body.
17. Abdominal Cancer
Research has pointed towards dates being a legitimate way to reduce the risk and impact of abdominal cancer.
They work as a useful tonic for all age groups, and in some cases, they work better than traditional medicines, and are natural, so they don’t have any negative side effects on the human body.
They can be quickly and easily digested for a quick boost of energy.
Although dates carry tremendous nutritional values, great care should be taken in their selection because their surface is very sticky, which often attracts various impurities.
Therefore, you should only consume dates that are processed and packaged properly. Also, make sure to wash them thoroughly before you eat them. As this will help remove the impurities present on the surface.
Dates Nutrition Value of Dates
Dates are a powerhouse of nutrition comprising of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre but no sodium at all. The chart given below shows that dates are nutrient dense as well.
Dates are high in calories with 100 grams of date flesh providing up to 314 calories.
Proteins and Fat
Dates are low in proteins and fat but high in sugars, which mainly comprise of fructose and glucose. Date seeds have a higher content of fat (9 grams/100 grams) and protein (5.1 grams/ 100 grams) in comparison to the flesh.
Dates are moderate sources of vitamin A with 100 grams serving providing 149 International Units (IU) of this vitamin. They also contain adequate levels of B complex vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B6), niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin as well as vitamin K.
Dates are a rich source of minerals like selenium, copper, potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium and iron.
They contain abundant amounts of potassium with 100 grams serving providing 696 mg or 16% of the daily recommended levels of this electrolyte. They are also an excellent source of iron, providing 0.90 mg in 100 grams serving which is 11% of the recommended daily intake.
Preparation and serving method
High-quality dates handpicked directly from the fruit bunch and sold as a premium variety in the markets. On a commercial scale, most are harvested by cutting the entire cluster, fumigated, cleaned, graded, packed, stored under refrigeration, and released to markets according to demand.
Here are some serving tips:
- Dry and soft dates are usually eaten out of hand without any add-on.
- Pitted dates can be stuffed with fillings such as almonds, walnuts, candied orange and cream cheese.
- They can also be chopped and added to fruit salad and in a range of sweet and savory dishes.
- Dates are also being used to prepare juice and Jallab (a type of syrup popular in the Middle East and made from dates, grape molasses, and rose water).
Date fruit allergy is a rare occurrence. The fruits are safe to eat in infants and the pregnant woman.
However, in some sensitized individual to birch family pollen, exposure to date palm pollen may elicit cross-hypersensitivity reactions. For the same reason, avoid any food preparations that contain date palm products in these people.