All About Dates: How Dates Are Made And What Are The Health Benefits
This article deals with Date fruits and how Dates are made. It has a thorough explanation of the Dates harvesting process and then a detailed analysis of the health benefits of dry Dates fruit.
Dates are mysterious tropical fruits. There are a lot of facts that most of us do not know about Dates, for example, what is a Date, Dates scientific name, how Dates are made, how Dates grow, what kind of dry fruit is a Date, Dates processing method and the list goes on.
All these answers are discussed below.
What are Dates?
The term Dates has a Greek origin that means ‘fingers’ in English, which reminds us of the peculiar shape of the fruit. Dates are tropical fruits that grow on Date palm trees. Its scientific name is Phoenix Dactylifera, and they are from the Arecaceae family. They are not only tasty, but also one of the healthiest fruits known worldwide.
They fall under the dry fruits category and are very nutritious. Dates also play an important role in the Middle Eastern cultural heritage.
Dates have a high amount of natural sugar. Interestingly, dried Dates contain a higher level of calories compared to fresh Dates. Because of these high calories, it is preferred by most of us as an instant energy booster.
They are cultivated primarily by local farmers. Then they export it all around the world. They are harvested in a clustered pattern. Because of its high nutritional value, they are a great choice to run our day with. It helps us during long trips and fasting.
What do Dates look like?
They are the fruits of Date palm trees. Fresh Dates fruits have smooth skin, and if the skin is wrinkled, it is dry. Fresh Dates are comparatively smaller, and the color varies from bright red to bright yellow. When they are dry, they turn into dark reddish-brown.
Types of Dates fruit
There are numerous types of Dates available in the market. They are used in different recipes as well.
Some of them are:
It is the softest and most fragile with a syrupy cover. It has firm flesh, and its color changes from amber to a golden-brown.
It is very sweet and soft. The skin color is red, and then it turns brown and later black.
It has an authentic flavor. The skin color turns from amber to dark brown with ripening. The name means, ‘Date of the light’ and it has a sweet, delicate taste.
It is also called Halawi. ‘Halawy’ means sweet, and its sweet honey-like flavor makes it different from other Dates. It has a golden brown color.
It is also named Khadrawi as it does not have an overly sweet flavor. It has firm flesh and is light brown.
It has a fibrous texture and is very delicious and rich in flavor. The skin turns from amber to reddish-brown as it gets ripe. The skin of this Date is very moist, and it is great for eating fresh.
It has a sweet, nut-like flavor. It can also be baked, so some people call it the bread Date. It has golden-brown skin.
It is semi-dry and has a sweet sugar-like flavor. The flesh is meaty and full of syrup and has smooth and glossy golden yellow-colored skin. It can also be baked or cooked.
How Dates are made?
Date palm trees are different from other trees. They are either male or female. The female tree grows flowers, and the male trees make pollen. No birds or bees help in the pollination, so the harvesters have to hand pollinate them. The detailed process of the cultivation of the date or how dates are made is discussed below:
- As the sheath on a male tree starts to open, it is cut and tied together. Then it is left for drying, and as soon as the pollen dries, it is poured into an air-tight container.
- As the female tree flowers, the collected pollen is hand pollinated. Each female tree needs to be pollinated at least thrice.
- After a few months, the fruits bud and the thinning process starts. In this process, 60% of the Dates are removed from each strand, so that the remaining of them can grow larger and the airflow becomes better.
- Later in the year, they are covered with a muslin bag to remain safe from insects and birds. The bag also catches the ripen Dates.
- At the time of harvest, all the ripe Dates are collected and taken to the Date processing house for sorting.
- Most Dates are usually ripe by then, but some need more heat for ripening. All the yellow Dates are sorted and left for ripening. We must keep in mind that they ripe at their own pace.
- Next Dates dry fruits are cleaned and sorted according to their sizes and quality.
- Then they are all packed and moved to the cold storage until they get sold.
So, this is how Dates are made and sold in the market.
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Nutritional Value of Dates
Since you now know it’s made, you must also know that dates are packed with calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fibers.
The nutrient components of a 100 gram of Dates
- 277 calories
- 75 grams of carbohydrates
- 7 grams of fiber
- 2 grams of protein
- 20% of potassium
- 18% of copper
- 14% of magnesium
- 15% of manganese
- 5% of iron
- 12% of vitamin B6
All these make Date fruit a great source of energy and nutrition. There are uncountable health benefits of Date fruits. Regular Date fruit consumption can be great for one’s health.
All the health benefits of Dates
It has all the essential vitamins and fibers that can benefit our health. They are also rich in carbohydrates and fiber, making them one of the most liked dry fruits around the world.
The fiber present in Dates aids healthy bowel movement. They also prevent various intestine-related issues.
Antioxidants remove the chances of free radicals that can damage our cells. Dates contain the maximum amount of antioxidants compared to any other dry fruits. Carotenoids, Flavonoids, and Phenolic acid, all these antioxidants help in improving the condition of one’s heart, prevents cancer and reduces the sugar level in blood.
Improves neural heath:
The presence of IL-6 can be dangerous to one’s neural heath. It reduces the IL-6 level and lowers the risk of any type of neural damage. Consuming it regularly also reduces anxiety and boosts one’s memory.
Helps in pregnancy:
Eating Dates during pregnancy helps women in delivering naturally. Nowadays we do not see many natural deliveries. Consuming it can make the whole process smoother and easier.
The beta D-glucan present in Dates works as an anti-tumor agent in our bodies. So incorporating it as a part of our daily diet can reduce the chances of tumors, and thus we will be at a lower risk of getting affected by the deadly disease cancer.
Keeps us safe from infections:
They can fight against certain harmful bacteria. It also has some properties that can prevent pneumonia and E-coli.
They can increase the production of insulin in our blood and reduce the absorption of glucose. When the absorption of glucose reduces, the blood glucose level also goes down; this reduces the risk of diabetes.
Smooth regulation of inflammatory agents plays a great role in keeping us healthy. The antioxidants present in it help the activities of inflammatory factors.
Good for kidneys:
They have such properties that can keep our kidneys healthy. It reduces the plasma creatinine in the kidney and improves its overall health.
Treats infertility in men:
They have some wonderful components that can treat infertility in men. All the vitamins, minerals, and fibers present in it can improve the sperm count of men.
They are rich in micronutrients like manganese, copper, and selenium. They improve our bone health. So, people who are suffering from bone issues must include Dates to their regular diet.
Strengthens the nervous system:
The high level of potassium and the low level of sodium in the Dates maintain our neurological health. It also lowers down the chances of hypertension and anxiety. It also reduces our blood pressure.
Great for skin:
They contain a high amount of vitamin C and D, which nourish our skin and make it glow. They also tighten our skin and work as anti-aging components.
Reduces hair fall:
The iron that is present in it is great for our hair. Iron regulates the blood flow in our bodies and makes sure that our scalps get the needed nourishment. The flow of oxygen also helps our hair grow faster.
Good for our eyes:
They are rich in Vitamin A, which is great for our eyes. So, it can cure night blindness.
Great source of vitamin:
Dried Dates contain Vitamin, B1, B2, B3, and B5. All these vitamins are very essential for our bodies.
So, after understanding how Dates are made and all their benefits, we should undoubtedly add date fruit to our daily diet and enjoy good health.