Nutfruit Blog

Inspiring you to add nuts and dried fruits into your diet

19 December, 2019 Lifestyle

Dates: A Friend for Your Digestive Health



Constipation is a condition in which there is difficulty in emptying the bowels. It could be a chronic condition for many people all over the world and following a low-fiber diet may be one of the causes[1]. Does this sound like you? Then, eat dates!


Why Dates Are Good for Your Health

Dates are high in fiber, which may help prevent constipation and improve your digestive health[2,3]. And not only that, dates are also high in potassium and a source of copper[4,5]. Of all dried fruits, dates contain the highest amount of folate, also known as vitamin B9.
 

Trivia About Dates

The date tree is a desert tree so, as you would expect, the Middle East and North Africa are the major date producing regions in the world. Saudi Arabia leads the ranking of date production followed by Iran, UAE, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.
Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is one of the oldest fruit crops cultivated in the arid regions of the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa and the Middle East. Although it is not known exactly where date palms originated, it was probably in what is now the country of Iraq. Did you also know that during Ramadan, the daily fast is broken by a light meal called iftar, usually consisting of dates and water[7].


How Dates Can Be Eaten
 
Unlike other fruits, dates can be consumed at every stage of maturity: the Kimri stage (the fruit is young, green and has a hard texture), the Khalal or Bisr stage (maximum size and weight, yellow, purplish-pink, red or yellow-scarlet color, and firm texture), the Rutab stage (soft texture, less astringent, sweeter and darker color), and the Tamer stage (highest sweetness and lowest astringency, dark brown color and soft texture)[8]. Besides, dates can also be the raw material for by-products such as date sugar and date paste.
 
References:
[1] World Gastroenterology Organisation: http://www.worldgastroenterology.org/guidelines/global-guidelines/constipation/constipation-english
[2] Souli, A., Sebai, H., Rtibi, K., Chehimi, L., Sakly, M., Amri, M., & El-Benna, J. (2014). Effects of dates pulp extract and palm sap (Phoenix dactylifera L.) on gastrointestinal transit activity in healthy rats. Journal of medicinal food, 17(7), 782-786.
[3] Fathallah, N., Bouchard, D., & de Parades, V. (2017). Diet and lifestyle rules in chronic constipation in adults: From fantasy to reality…. Presse medicale (Paris, France: 1983), 46(1), 23-30.
[4] USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release April, 2018.
[5] Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods.
[6] Chao, C. T., & Krueger, R. R. (2007). The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.): overview of biology, uses, and cultivation. HortScience, 42(5), 1077-1082.
[7] Sun Maid (2011). Raisins & Dried Fruits. Serving the Word Since 1912. http://www.sunmaid.com/book/
[8] Hui, Y. H. (2006). Handbook of fruits and fruit processing. John Wiley & Sons.
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