A few more weeks before we enter Ramadhan again, dates are being sold all over the country and various brands are available for sale and breakfasts for all Muslims worldwide.
The dates are the fruits of a palm tree of the genus Phoenix.
The Alimetarius Codex Commission has defined dates as products made from palm trees whose scientific name is Phoenix dactylifera Linn. Palm trees are among the oldest plants grown by humans and their fruits have been used as food in ancient times especially in West Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt. In the Quran, dates are mentioned twenty times, of which eight are mentioned separately and twelve are mentioned together with other fruits such as pomegranates, grapes and olive oil.
It is generally known that dates can be eaten directly by discarding the seeds. However, in the food industry, dates can be processed into various types of food products including jam, candy, concentrated juices, jelly, oranges, and syrup.
In addition, dates are also very popular in the manufacture of bread, biscuits, and chocolate products and can be a core product that can be mixed with coconut, honey, or vinegar. However, palm oil and dates coffee are a by-product of dates that can be made from dates.
Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) liked to eat dates. Saidina A'ishah RA said that at one time their house did not cook food for two months, but they only ate dates and drank water until one day the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said it was important to have dates in the house. Saiyidina A'ishah RA narrated that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said, "A family with dates will not hunger". (Hadith, Sahih Muslim, 5078).
The date is very synonymous with the month of Ramadan. As a result, during the month of Ramadan many local supermarkets import and sell dates at their supermarkets of various types and brands.
"The best food of a believer's vegetable is palm". (Hadith, Sunan Abu David 2338).
In the market, dates can be categorized into three types: khal, ruthob, and tamar depending on their level of maturity. Caliphate is a fresh, hard-cooked, crunchy date. Ruthob or wet dates are half cooked dates whose texture is crisp and soft. A tamarind or dry date is a fully cooked date. While raw dates are known as kimri.
Scientific studies have shown that most of the content of dates is sugar which is between 50 and 75%. The simple sugars in dates include glucose, fructose, mannose, maltose, rhaminose, and sucrose which are easy to use for rapid energy generation in the human body.
Sugar content in dates depends on the type of dates and maturity, but is generally higher than pomegranates and pineapple. Therefore, the absorption of date sugar in the human body is very fast between 30 and 45 minutes compared to rice which takes about 4 hours to digest. Thus, breaking the fast with the dates can provide immediate energy to the human body while also preventing fatigue.
Consuming dates in your daily diet can also prevent constipation, heart disease and lower bad cholesterol. The dates contain a percentage of insoluble fiber and a water content of between 10 and 20%. Insoluble fiber is very important to aid in the movement of impurities in the human digestive system and can prevent constipation. Meanwhile, water-soluble fiber is important for preventing heart disease, and preventing the increase of bad cholesterol in the blood.
In most dates, the percentage of soluble fiber is higher than that of water soluble.
Scientific studies have shown that dates can prevent anemia, a disease of red blood cells due to iron deficiency in foods. Dates contain high iron which is good for people with anemia. The dates are also considered a practical supplement for those with iron deficiency as they do not show side effects such as nausea, headache, or constipation as they do with iron tablets.
Dates are good for pregnant women. This is because, dates also contain potassium minerals and calcium.
Potassium content in dates is 2.5 times higher than other fruits. Potassium can maintain the contraction of the body and heart muscles, as well as regulate maternal blood pressure during fetal growth. In addition, calcium is important for the growth of the baby's teeth and bones in the uterus. In addition, dates contain vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid and vitamin A.
Although dates are not a good source of protein, they contain all twenty types of amino acids. However, the content of proline amino acids, aspartic acids, alanine, glycine, valves and leucine is higher than that of other amino acids. All of these nutrients support the need for pregnant women to provide adequate nutrients to the mother and baby.
In general, dates provide many health benefits to humans. The dates should not be seasonal foods that are taken during the holidays and fasting during the month of Ramadan. The nutrient content of dates depends on the type of date and the level of maturity. However, as smart consumers, daily intake of dates should be modest so that health benefits can be maximized.
Author: Dr. Nur Huda FaujanPensyarah Kanan Fakulti Sains dan Teknologi