Dates are a surprisingly tasty and healthy fruit. Thanks to their useful properties, dates are called “pantry of nature” and in the Arab countries they are still called “bread of the desert”. Dates may be eaten fresh, dried, boiled or fried; they are used to make jams, jellies, stewed fruit and different drinks. Dates are often eaten instead of sweets with tea or milk. It is considered that this fruit is able to supply all nutrients that are necessary for a man.
On average, one date contains 23 calories. Due to the fact that the dates are low-calorie and contain a wealth of nutrients, they are recommended for use lieu of candy for everyone who is dieting or just trying to maintain normal weight. Dates consist of:
- a large amount of carbohydrates (44–88 %) and these carbohydrates contain much natural sugar (fructose and glucose that serve as a quick source of energy for our body);
- fat (0.2–0.5 %);
- 15 salts and minerals (copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, cobalt, sulfur, boron, etc. The amount of minerals in dried dates ranges from 0.1 to 91 % depending on the type of minerals);
- oil (0.2–0.5 %);
- 23 different amino acids not found in fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas);
- vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, niacin, and pantothenic acid which promote the digestibility of carbohydrates, regulate the blood glucose and the content of fatty acid;
- pectin (0.5–3.9 %);
- dietary fiber (6.4–11.5 %) which reduces the risk of certain cancers [2, 3, 7].
Dates also have fluorine, which protects the teeth from dental caries; selenium — an element that reduces the risk of cancer, strengthens our immune system and reduces the risk of heart disease. Dates contain no cholesterol.
Dates tone up, relieve fatigue and strengthen immunity. Due to the high potassium content, doctors recommend using dates to combat cardiovascular diseases. At heart failure, dates stimulate the activity of the heart, tonic, strengthen and restore strengths after a long illness. Dates help in paralysis of the facial nerve, with physical fatigue and diabetes. The high level of iron in dates fights iron-deficiency anemia.
Moreover, dates positively affect:
- development of root endings of the brain;
- intestinal tract;
- pregnancy .
Dates contain a valuable amino acid — tryptophan, which is a member of the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin in the body. These hormones increase the mood, stabilize psychic background, and melatonin is considered a hormone of sleep, so dates are used for insomnia as a mild natural hypnagogue.
Additionally, dates are beneficial to the organism, they:
- improve mental activity;
- increase working efficiency;
- release from waste, toxins and heavy metals;
- egest the excess liquid;
- relieve tension from the central nervous system;
- reduce blood pressure;
- relieve insomnia;
- improve mood and prevent the development of depression;
- prevent motion sickness;
- boost energy;
- reduce eye fatigue;
- give hair healthy, shiny and beautiful views;
- make the skin supple and elastic;
- give strength and beauty to nails;
- increase stamina and vitality [1, 4].
Despite numerous advantages, dates are high in fiber and calories. The consumption of too many dates can lead to weight gain or digestive trouble. Furthermore, dates have a high glycemic index (GI). Overconsumption of food with high GI can increase your chances of type-2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Dates should be avoided by patients with fructose intolerance .
In summary, it can be said that owing to their useful properties, dates are considered to be a source of eternal youth in the East. Dates positively affect the performance of the human body and improve brain activity and mood.
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2. Финики. http://www.calorizator.ru/product/nut/dates (accessed May 24, 2015).
3. Dates nutrition facts. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dates.html (accessed May 24, 2015).
4. Health benefits of dates — promoting heart, brain, and digestive health. http://naturalsociety.com/health-benefits-of-dates-7-reasons-eat-date-fruit/ (accessed May 24, 2015).
5. Health benefits of dates https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html (accessed May 24, 2015).
6. The side effects of date fruit. http://www.livestrong.com/article/484852-the-side-effects-of-date-fruit/ (accessed May 24, 2015).
7. Useful properties of dates. http://dietsru.altervista.org/lady/useful-properties-of31046_31046.html (accessed May 24, 2015).