Dates are the fruits grow on the palm tree Phoenix dactylifera. The tree is believed to originate in the lands on the banks of Nile and Euphrates Rivers of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Date palm is now grown extensively for its edible fruits under warmer climates across all the continents.
The fruit is oval to cylindrical in shape, 3–7 cms long, and 2–3 cms diameter, and ripe dates range from golden-yellow, amber, bright-red to deep-brown depending on the cultivar type.
Wonderfully delicious, dates are one of the most popular fruits packed with an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are required for normal growth, development and overall well-being.
Fresh dates compose of soft, easily digestible flesh and simple sugars like fructose and dextrose. 100 g of mejdool dates hold 277 calories. When eaten, they replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly. They are rich in dietary fiber, which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut.
They contain health benefiting antioxidants known as tannins,
and are moderate sources of vitamin-A (contains 149 IU per 100 g), which is known to have antioxidant properties and essential for vision.
Dates are an excellent source of iron, carry 0.90 mg/100 g of fruits (about 11% of RDI) and they are an excellent sources of potassium. 100 g contains 696 mg or 16% of daily-recommended levels of this electrolyte.
Date fruits are also rich in minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Calcium is an important mineral that is an essential constituent of bone and teeth, and required by the body for muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve impulse conduction..
Further, the fruit has moderate levels of B-complex group of vitamins as well as vitamin K. It contains very good amounts of pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin.
Another study reported the most prominent health benefits of dates is that containing 23 types of amino acids, some of which are not present in the most popular fruits. Unsaturated fatty acids include palmitoleic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids. The study concluded that dates could be considered a nearly ideal food, with a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits .