Healthy nibbles

DATE

DATE

DID YOU KNOW?
The date tree is a desert tree so, as you would expect, the Middle East and North Africa are the major date producing regions in the world. According to the latest FAO estimates, Egypt leads the ranking of date production followed by Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Oman, UAE and Tunisia.2
Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is one of the oldest fruit crops cultivated in the arid regions of the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa and the Middle East. Although it is not known exactly where date palms originated, it was probably in what is now the country of Iraq.
Dates are an important food and income source for local populations and play a crucial role in the economy, society and environment.1 DATE
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BENEFITS
Nutrients
Dates are high in fiber and potassium and a source of copper.3,4
Digestive health
Their high content in fiber (100 g of dates contain around 8 g of fiber) may help our digestive health and also help prevent constipation.
Folate
Of all dried fruits, dates contain the highest amount of folate (19 mcg/100 g).
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FUN FACTS
During Ramadan, the daily fast is broken by a light meal called iftar, usually consisting of dates and water.5 }
Unlike other fruits, dates can be consumed at every stage of maturity: the Kimri stage (the fruit is young, green and has a hard texture), the Khalal or Bisr stage (maximum size and weight, yellow, purplish-pink, red or yellow-scarlet color, and firm texture), the Rutab stage (soft texture, less astringent, sweeter and darker color), and the Tamer stage (highest sweetness and lowest astringency, dark brown color and soft texture).6
References:

1)    Chao, C. T., & Krueger, R. R. (2007). The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.): overview of biology, uses, and cultivation. HortScience, 42(5), 1077-1082.
2)    FAO (2014). Production of Dates: top 10 producers. http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home.
3)    USDA Food Composition Databases. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28 slightly revised May, 2016: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list.
4)    Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32006R1924&from=en.
5)    Sun Maid (2011). Raisins & Dried Fruits. Serving the Word Since 1912. http://www.sunmaid.com/book/
6)    Hui, Y. H. (2006). Handbook of fruits and fruit processing. John Wiley & Sons.