Dates - a superfood not to be missed

Dates - a superfood not to be missed

Not only for diabetics and expectant mothers...

There is very little talk about the health benefits of eating dates, so when I mention prevention and supportive treatment of type 2 diabetes at the top of the list, most of the general public is really surprised. Hard to believe? Aren't dates "full of sugars"? So how could they be suitable for diabetics?!?! As with other raw ingredients, we can find the solution of this "mystery" primarily in the fact that all studies (and practical usage) relate to the whole dates and date pastes, not to the separate components, i.e., incriminated sugars.

In the case of dates, it is a mixture of fructose, glucose and some varieties of sucrose. Besides sugar, we find also fibre (7g per 100g of dates) which slows down the absorption of sugars and, above all, the complex mix of vitamins and minerals (see the table below) that, synergistically with natural sugars, play a major role in the prevention and supportive treatment of diabetes.

Nutritional content of dates (in 100g)

Nutrient

Content

% DDD

Folic acid (folate)/vitamin B9

15mcg

4%

Niacin/vitamin B3

1610mg

10%

Panthotenic acid/vitamin B5

0,805mg

16%

Pyridoxine/vitamin B6

0,249mg

19%

Riboflavin/vitamin B2

0,060mg

4,5%

Thiamine/vitamin B1

0,050mg

4%

Vitamin A

149IU

5%

Vitamin C

0mg

0%

Vitamin K(-1)

2,7mcg

2%

Sodium

1mg

0%

Potassium

696mg

16%

Calcium

64mg

6,5%

Copper

0,362mg

40%

Iron

0,90mg

11%

Magnesium

54mg

13%

Manganese

0,296mg

13%

Phosphorus

62mg

9%

Zinc

0,44mg

4%

 

In addition to the above mentioned ability to regulate blood glucose, which is why dates are beneficial to diabetics, dates can do much more. As suggested in the title, it is naturally beneficial during child births because dates help with the following:

  • improving cervical dilation
  • increasing the likelihood of natural (spontaneous) labour
  • shortening of the delivery period
  • lessening the need to use prescription drugs

Other health effects of consuming dates, which are supported by additional studies, include:

  • the supportive treatment for the healing of the mucous membrane of the small intestine
  • prevention of osteoporosis
  • support of proper blood flow
  • prevention of (colorectal) cancer
  • support of neurological activity
  • reduction of the risk of myocardial infarction

Briefly let’s review the varieties of dates available and their quality. Rather than looking at specific locations, let's look at the entire climate zone where dates are grown. The zone stretches from Northwest Africa (Algeria, Tunisia) to Afghanistan. Each specific region then has its own predominant variety of dates. In the westernmost regions you will primarily find the Neglet Noor variety, in the middle of the region you will find the popular Medjool and in the east the Aseel variety, which is typical for Afghanistan. Each variety has its typical and unmistakable flavour.

EU BIO logoWhen purchasing dates, you should pay particular attention to the quality - it is a good idea to buy dates that have the EU-Organic logo and that are raw – haven't been treated by heat. A large part of the vitamins listed in the nutrient overview above are thermally unstable and the treatement at 70 ° C (the usual temperature at which dates are treated), lowers the content of beneficial nutrients in the dates.

And now for the best news. For the production of its Lifebars, Lifefood only uses raw dates from a EU-Organic certified grower of a variety that is among the TOP 5 varieties with the most beneficial health effects! The variety of the date is called Sukkari from Yogi & Yousef. The history of the cooperation with this Saudi-Arab company dates back to 2013 when these two gentlemen offered, through a crowdfunding service, an opportunity to invest into a new harvesting method.

The owner of Lifefood eventually agreed to receive dates from them instead of the standard profit share. And both Lifefood and Yogi & Yousef grew together. Below you can find the latest of the crowdfunding videos where, among other things, Yogi mentions cooperation with Lifefood.

Funding pitch for date harvest 2016 by Yogi & Yousef from Yogi and Yousef on Vimeo.

 

The author of the article was inspired, among others, by the following studies:

  • Effects of date consumption by healthy subjects on serum glucose and lipid levels and on serum oxidative status: a pilot study( Phoenix dactylifera L., Medjool or Hallawi Variety)(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19681613)

  • Date fruit consumption at term: Effect on length of gestation, labour and delivery.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28286995)

  • The role of nutrients in bone health, from A to Z.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17092827)

  • Beneficial effects of date palm fruits on neurodegenerative diseases(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4994443/)

  • Dates protect against heart disease(https://www.israel21c.org/dates-protect-against-heart-disease/)


The author of the article is Martin Novotný, a nutritional specialist.


DatleE-shop Raw Organic Pitted Dates