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General details

Phoenix dactylifera or the date palm is a palm in the genus Phoenix, cultivated from oasis in Africa to Western Asia and supposedly originates in the fields around the Persan Gulf. The plant reaches 15-25m height, with leaves of 3-5m lenght, each with about 150 leaflets. The trees will start bearing fruit after 4-8 years and will produce commercial harvest after 7-10 years. Mature date palms can produce between 68 and 176kg of dates per harvest.
The date is the fruit produced by the Phoenix dactylifera palm and tastes sweet, as a result of the 70% sugar content. The dates ripen in 4 stages, known all over the world by their Arabic names: kimri (unripe), khlal (full-size, crunchy), rutab (ripe, soft), tamr (ripe, sun-dried).


Symbolically speaking, the date palm is associated with endurance and is regarded in the Arabian world as the Tree of Life. In Egypt, the date tree is reasonably linked with male fertility. The dates are important traditional fruit in Iraq, in Arabia and North Africa. They are mentioned over 50 times in the Bible and around 20 in the Koran. In the Islamic world, dates with either yoghurt or milk are traditionally consumed after sun-set during the Ramadan.

Biological effects

5 stoneless dates weigh around 100g and have 28 calories. From 100g of dates, 75g are carbohydrates, out of which 80% sugars. Date fruit contain vitamins A, K and B7, along with folic acid. In 100g of dates there are 700mg Potassium, as well as traces of Calcium, Phosphorous and Magnesium.

Dates, both fresh or dried can be eaten out-of-hand, or may be stuffed with almonds, wall-nuts, lemon peel or oranges. Date nut bread, a type of cake, is very popular in the United States, especially around holidays. Vinegar obtained from dates is a common product in the Middle East. Recent innovations include chocolate covered dates and sparkling date juice, used in some Islamic countries as a non-alcoholic version of champagne. In Israel date syrup is used while cooking chicken and also for sweet and desserts.

The fruit help fight constipation, intestinal disorders, weight gain, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Their nicotinic content is beneficial for the treatment of any type of intestinal disorders. Regular intake of dates helps maintain control over the growth rate of pathological organisms and therefore helps maintain a normal intestinal flora.

The calorific value of dates and the easily assimilated energy they provide make them an ideal food for those suffering from diseases that cause anemia and chronic fatigue. The Magnesium content of dates tones muscles and delays aging, avoiding food waste accumulation. Dates exert a beneficial action on the prostate and kidneys.

Moreover, dates are recommended during the last weeks of pregnancy and help maintain heart’s health. Due to the high content in Potassium, dates help maintain the health of the nervous system.

From where I stand, we shall not forget that aside all of above advantages, there are disadvantages to dates as well. Being sticky, the adhesive surface of the dates can capture impurities. This means that we have to be careful at the packaging and storage of the dates. Moreover, as a result of the high sugar content, it is recommended to brush one’s teeth after eating dates, to prevent tooth decay.