A date fruit is the product of a palm tree native to Northern Africa and the Middle East, but now cultivated in most warms climates. In addition to being eaten fresh, the date fruit is dried and eaten whole as a snack or included in an assortment of desserts.
A full grown date palm, can reach 82 feet (25 meters) in height, with a spreading crown of greenish leaves. The date fruit grows in heavy clusters suspended under the leaves, and they are yellow in the early ripening stage. Some consumers enjoy date fruit in the next stage, full sized but crunchy, while others wait for dates to reach the ripe and soft stage. When the date fruit is allowed to sun dry on the tree, it is considered to be in the final stage of ripening.
The taste is sweet, like a mix of sugar syrup and honey, which is one reason the date is often used in dessert recipes.
The fruit is rich in dietary fiber, which prevents dietary LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut. It is also a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time and as well as binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon. anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties.
Dates contain many health benefitting phytonutrients flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins. Tannins are known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties.
They are a good source of Vitamin-A (contains 149 IU per 100 g), which is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. Vitamin A also required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Also rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants have the ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen free radicals and are found to be protective against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions; thus it offers protection against age related macular degeneration in elderly individuals
Dates are rich in potassium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that help controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
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