Dates are the fruit of the Date palm tree cultivated for thousands of years in the Mesopotamian region, between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. During the middle ages the Arabs introduced the date palm to the hot regions. The date palm is common in the Middle East and often referred to by Arabs as β€˜the source of life. This fruit (which is also found in the northern part of Nigeria), not only serves as a fruit but its tree trunk provides a sugary beverage when tapped and textile fibres to make garments and ropes.

Properties and indications

The most significant date nutrients are Sugars: dates are 66% sugar comprised primarily of glucose and fructose B group

Vitamins: these vitamins facilitate the utilization of sugars by the body cells. Dates provide significant amounts of these vitamins which contributes to their invigorating effect

Minerals: some of the minerals present include potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium

Vegetable fibre: these are predominantly soluble fibres in the form of pectin and gums although they also contain cellulose fibre

Dates have been traditionally used to relieve excessively dry cough and to fight bronchial colds. The most effective manner to use them for this purpose (respiratory disorders) is by boiling in milk first before consumption The invigorating effect of dates makes them useful in case of fatigue or weakness. They are particularly beneficial to adolescents, young athletes and lactating women.

IMAGE FROM: DECLAN MCCULLAGH PHOTOGRAPHY

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