The Healing Benefits Of Date Fruit
The common English names are dried dates, dates, date palm, etc. Date fruits are usually oblong, with varying sizes, shapes, colours, consistencies and quality.
The dried date fruits contains high percentage of carbohydrates (over 50 per cent sugar by weight), low in fat (0.3 per cent and protein (3 per cent), no cholesterol, but high in soluble dietary fibres, various minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, cobalt, copper, zinc, selenium, elemental fluorine, boron and sulphur) and over six vitamins, including Vitamins A, C, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), nicotinic acid (niacin), etc.
Date fruits also contain other phytochemicals, such as phenolic compounds (e.g. flavonoids), glycosides, sterols, cinnamic acids, tannin, saponins, etc.
Therapeutic Activities/ Properties Of Dates
Date fruits are considered as alkaline-forming, antioxidant, anti-aging, anticancer/antitumour, antipyretic, aphrodisiac, cardio tonic, demulcent, diuretic, estrogenic, expectorant, laxative, nervine, nervous rejuvenating tonic, immune booster and purgative.
Methods Of Preparation/Administration
In Nigeria, the dried and soft date fruits are sold out for consumption. However, in the northern part, they are added to the locally -brewed alcoholic beverage to help reduce the intoxicating power.
Date fruits may be seeded, chopped and spread on bread, cakes, pudding, cereal, ice cream, etc. Alcoholic beverages, strong liquor and vinegar can be made from fermenting date syrup or juice.
They can also be prepared and used in the form of milk infusion or milk decoction, syrup or paste. Date syrup is made by concentrating and filtering the juice and used as a sweetener.
Date fruits are highly nutritious; they give instant energy. The fruits are rich in Vitamins A, B and C, and minerals, such as calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus.
The milk infusion is recommended as a very high-energy and restorative tonic food for building up wasted muscles and regaining lost weight during convalescence from injury, fevers, anaemic conditions and other illness.
Date fruits milk infusion is also recommended for women in the post-partum and lactating periods.
Studies have shown that eating date fruits on a regular basis promotes longevity and reduces the risk of heart disease and cancers.
Date fruits have been known and used for hundreds of years for home/folk remedies.
Date Fruits As A Corrective Aid For The Reproductive Organs.
In traditional Arab medicine, date fruits are used to enhance fertility in both men and women.
Taking up to five dates fruits with a glass of warm milk early in the morning and at bedtime daily for 30 days serves as aphrodisiac for sexual debility, both in the young and the old.
It promotes sperms quality and quantity. Date fruit is best used for male infertility.
It increases the size of testes in men and the size the breasts in women.
Date Fruits As A Nutritive For The Nervous Systems.
Drinking a milk decoction of date fruits, made by boiling six date fruits in a cup of milk once daily helps in nourishing the nerves and energising the body generally.
Date fruits contain serotonin that affects the mood and emotion, therefore, the fruits are recommended in cases of debility, fatigue, neurasthenia, alcohol intoxication, alcoholism, paralysis, coma and diabetes insipidus.
Date Fruits As A Cancer Preventive
Dates fruits contain anthocyanins, which act as powerful antioxidants and anticancer or antitumour.
In addition, dates fruits are considered as alkaline-forming, immune-boosting and liver-nourishing.
All these therapeutic activities of date fruits make them very useful in preventing all kinds of cancers.
Studies have shown that people who consume large quantities of dates daily, especially on empty stomach, have low incidence of cancers (e.g. abdomen and colon cancers, testes, uterus, vaginal cancers, etc).
Date Fruits As A Digestive Aid
Dates contain good amount of soluble dietary fibre that acts as a good digestive aid and stimulates bowel movement.
Therefore, date fruits are recommended in all cases of digestive problems- constipation, indigestion, nausea, haemorrhoids, feeble spleens, peptic ulcer, and gastric complaints.
Date Fruits For Respiratory Diseases
Date fruits contain tannins that act as astringents for the respiratory tract. Drinking a milk decoction of date fruit by boiling up to seven date fruits in a cup of milk at bedtime for 30 days is recommended as a helpful remedy for the treatment of coughs, bronchial catarrh, asthma, tuberculosis, cold, flu, fevers, chest complaints, laryngitis, sore throat, etc.
Date Fruits For The Prevention Heart Diseases
Drinking a cup of cold infusion of date fruits (infusing up to12 mashed date fruits in a cup of water overnight) once a day helps to keep the heart healthy and strengthens a weak one.
It also lowers the levels of LDL or “bad cholesterol,” and therefore reduces the risks of heart attacks, strokes, etc.
There are other uses of date fruits. Due to its high magnesium content, date has anti-inflammatory properties and therefore good for chronic inflammatory conditions, like arthritis, allergic reactions, etc.
Date fruits are also useful in the treatment of water retention, oedema, cystitis, strangury, yeast infection (candidiasis), etc.
So far, there are no known side effects or hazards associated with the use of date fruits.
However, due to the high in sugar contents, diabetic patients should avoid them.