Date fruits grow on date palm trees that are indigenous to the Middle East and Northern Africa. However, they are now cultivated in several other regions of the globe. People in the Middle East include date fruits in several cuisines. Even the cuisines of Mediterranean region (Greece and Italy) incorporate date fruits. While most markets sell dried dates throughout the year, fresh dates are only available at specialty stores and only during the season.
A completely mature date palm tree (botanical name Phoenix dactylifera) may grow up to a height of 25 meters (82 feet) and has a branching crown comprising green hued leaves. The fruits of this species emerge in heavy clusters that hang below the leaves. They are green when unripe or 'kimri' (as called in Arabic), while their color changes to yellow when they begin to ripe. Several people like to consume the crunchy, full-sized fruits (known as 'khalal' in Arabic), while there are many other who enjoy eating the fully ripened and soft fruit (called 'rutab' in Arabic). The final stage of ripening of the date fruits, which is also known as 'tamr', occurs when they are left to dry out in the sun while still on the trees.
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Various types of date fruits are grown and these include the in demand Black Sphinx date and the ordinary varieties like medjool and noor dates. The natural sugar content of date fruits may be more or they may taste like concentrated honey subject to the type of the fruit. While fruit dries up, its sugar concentration will become denser, while the fruit itself will have a damp flesh, eventually forming crystals of natural sugar on the external surface of the fruit. It is important to note that date palm fruits that have already formed sugar crystal on their exterior are not the best for consumption, because their flesh will not only be parched, but also have a leathery texture.
The date palm tree has been cultivated for several thousand years now and is perhaps among the oldest trees crops grown. It is a good idea to pack dates in bags, which makes it easier for travelers to carry. This plant has the aptitude to grow and survive even in the most unfavourable conditions and it not only provides food for humans, but also fodder for animals. In addition, it also provides shelter and the date palm may also be used in the form of fuel. As mentioned earlier, many people consume date fruits as a whole or slice them for eating them as desserts. Frequently, people in the Middle East stuff date fruits with sweet or some tasty fillings and serve them with meals. Two popular date fruit desserts include dates filled with marzipan and dates and mascarpone. In the Middle East, people often use date fruit to prepare a paste that may be blended with different fruits and made into candies or used for decorating foods.
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When you are purchasing dates, it is advisable that you opt for those that are fleshy and have a uniform color. All date fruits enclose a solitary elongated seed, but the shape of the seeds may differ from being oblong to rotund, subject to the cultivar. Ensure that the date fruit you are purchasing does not have a parched or shrivelled appearance and does not have any sugar crystals on its external surface. If the date fruits are fresh, they will remain well for about two weeks provided they are stored in a refrigerator.
Date fruits provide us with numerous health benefits since they are loaded with natural fibers. It encloses several natural substances, such as iron, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and oil, which are highly beneficial for our health. It is believed that consuming one date every day is essential for a healthy and balanced diet.
In addition, date fruit also encloses a number of vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3 as well as vitamin B5. Some of the health benefits provided by date fruit are briefly discussed below.
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Chemical analysis of date fruit has revealed that it encloses as many as 20 dissimilar types of amino acids that promote the digestive process. These amino acids make dates very easy to digest and provide the body with the necessary energy quickly (in roughly 30 minutes) to perform different physical activities. In addition, eating dates just before breaking a fast prevents one from eating excessively. Hunger in humans is attributed to a dearth of sugar in the bloodstream. Therefore, eating dates, which contain plenty of natural sugars, helps to appease hunger, while providing the requisite nutriments to the body. This is helpful for people in avoiding excessive consumption of foods after fasting.
Dates enclose an elevated amount of potassium - a mineral that is necessary for the health of our nervous system. Studies have disclosed that ingesting elevated levels of potassium (roughly 400 mg) may possibly help in diminishing the chances of having a stroke by as much as 40 per cent. In addition, dates also have a lower content of sodium, which helps to avoid high blood pressure.
The iron content of date fruit is relatively high, making it a wonderful home remedy for iron deficiency. People who are anemic would benefit by consuming dates many times every day with a view to enhance the intensity of iron in the bloodstream. Owing to the high vitamin content, dates are also helpful in preventing problems related to night blindness.
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Fluorine is an important constituent of date fruit. Fluorine is a vital mineral that helps to inhibit the process of tooth decay in the early stages. In addition, this mineral is also said to prevent the formation of plaque, as it fortifies the tooth enamel. Nevertheless, there is a common misconception that tooth enamel possesses the magical power to undo decaying of tooth. The fact is that tooth enamel contains hydroxyapatites, which forms hydroxyfluoroapatites when exposed to fluorine. It may be noted that hydroxyfluoroapatites are resilient to decomposition. This obviously denotes that although fluorine is effective in preventing the teeth from decaying any further, it does not have the capability to undo the process or reverse the damage already done to the teeth.
Date fruit is said to possess laxative properties. Hence, consumption of dates is useful for individuals enduring constipation. In order to make use of the laxative attribute of dates, you should soak the fruit in water for the duration of one night. Consume the soaked date fruits when you wake up in the morning in order to avail their laxative effect.
Dates are also useful for overcoming sexual problems, because these fruits are effective in enhancing the sexual stamina of the body. In order to increase your sexual endurance or staying power, you need to soak some date fruits in goat milk all night and pound the soaked dates in the same milk, add a blend of cardamom powder and honey and consume it in the form of a tonic that increases sexual stamina.
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Date fruits are also loaded with about 29 grams of different naturally occurring sugars like glucose, fructose and sucrose. In addition, they enclose roughly 31 grams of carbohydrates and about three grams of dietary fiber. Hence, though tiny in size, the date fruit may roughly be illustrated as a dry fruit that perks up the body's energy levels.
The date fruit is a wonderful home remedy for intestinal disorders like intense constipation and bloating, which are commonly experienced by women during pregnancy. In addition, as dates contain high amounts of iron, they are also beneficial for anemic people, especially mothers and babies having insufficient iron in their bloodstream. It is said that dates also help in enhancing memory as well as intelligence in the fetus. This fruit also strengthens the muscles of the uterus and, thereby, makes childbirth easier.
Date fruit is considered to be an important element of all healthy diets, because this fruit encloses high levels of natural sugars, proteins, fats and several vitamins that are necessary for our good health. People who are slimming excessively will benefit if they take dates in combination with cucumber paste. It has been found that one kilogram of date fruit provides as much as 3,000 calories, which itself is enough to address the entire everyday needs of our body.
In addition to the health benefits offered by date fruits that have already been discussed above, they are also considered to be effective for treating problems related to the intestines. The nicotinic content of dates prevents the growth of pathological microorganisms. Dates are also helpful for enriching breast milk as they provide numerous nutrients that are useful for an infant's health. Precisely speaking, the date fruit is a wonderful food source that provides us with all the necessary nutriments, facilitates digestion of food and, at the same time, supplies us with loads of energy.
The nicotinic constituent of dates is believed to be effective for treating all types of disorders related to the intestines. Consuming dates on a regular basis facilitates in preventing disease-bearing microbes, thereby facilitating in the increase of friendly or 'good' bacteria present in the intestines.
To a certain extent, dates are also useful for sustaining the good health of the heart. If you are enduring a feeble heart, you will benefit by consuming dates soaked in water and pounded on the subsequent morning. Consumption of dates at least two times every week in this manner helps to strengthen the heart.
Ripened date fruit encloses substantial levels of potassium, which is helpful for checking diarrhea. Dates are easy to digest and facilitate in dealing with problems related to diarrhea.
Date fruit is also said to be an exceptional medication for easing inebriation due to alcohol consumption. In fact, consuming date help to relieve alcohol intoxication quickly. In order to obtain the maximum benefits of consuming dates, they need to be rubbed as well as soaked in water for a full night.
It has also been found that dates are effective for treating cancers of the abdomen and they act as an effective stimulant for people belonging to every age group. Besides being easy for the body to absorb, dates also provide additional as well as quick energy when required.
Despite the fact that dates are loaded with valuable nutrients, you need to exercise sufficient caution while choosing them, as they have a clammy surface that draws a variety of contaminations to them. Therefore, it is advisable that you only consume dates that have been processed and appropriately packaged. In addition, you should ensure that you wash these fruits meticulously before eating them. This will be useful in getting rid of all the impurities contained by them.