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Nine Types of Dates To Feast On

Dates are the ideal foods to satisfy your sweet tooth—they are rich in fibre and antioxidants. Next time you go date shopping, here are the varieties of dates to look for.

By Hima
30 Jul 2022

Date palm is among the oldest plants cultivated on this planet. They are generally cultivated in hot and dry climates, and are prominent in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Even though there are over 200 types of dates in the world, only a few are well-known. For instance, varieties such as Aseel, Dhakki, Begum Jangi, Karabalian, and Halwai are varieties of dates famous in our neighbouring country Pakistan. While Suqaey, Sofry, and Ajwa are the varieties of dates popularly cultivated in Saudi Arabia. Let’s find out the famous Indian varieties of dates and their nutritional benefits.

 

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Important Types of Dates in India

Dates are popularly known as Kajur in India. Kajur is not only delicious but it is also loaded with nutrients and natural sugar. Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu are the major date producing states in India. India is also one of the largest importers of dates. In fact, dates are used in making many delicious dishes in India such as dates halwa, dates ladoo, dates burfi and many more. Let’s explore the varieties of dates used in Indian kitchens.

 

Medjool Dates

1. Medjool is known as the “Queen of Dates”, which is large in size and tastes like caramel.

2. Medjool is popular for its sweetness; it is usually dried but not dehydrated. So their texture is soft and sticky.

3. Medjool is high in potassium that helps our body regulate fluid balance, muscle contraction, and nerve signaling, shows a paper published in the Saudi Journal of Life Sciences, 2022.

4. It is also packed with fibre, magnesium, and copper, the minerals that help us maintain blood sugar levels.

5. Also, medjoor’s copper content will enhance the iron absorption in our body. Copper and iron together help in the formation of red blood cells in our body.

 

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Halwai Dates

1. Halwai dates are originally from Iraq and are amber coloured with a chewy texture that is similar to caramel.

2. Halwai dates are a rich source of dietary fibre that increases the fluidity of the stomach content thereby preventing digestion problems.

3. Helps support our immune system because Halwai dates contain high amounts of carotenoids (cancer fighting properties) and antimicrobial properties.

4. They are high in potassium that regulates blood pressure in our body and prevents stroke.

 

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Sharman Dates

1. Sharman dates, popularly known as sayer dates. They are semi dry dates with a soft texture and sweet taste.

2. They are one of the most nutritious as they have a high amount of proteins (2.77 per cent) , shows a paper published in Journal of Dairying, Foods, and HomeSciences, 2016.

3. This variety of date also has the highest amount of calcium and zinc, these minerals that play a crucial role in improving bone strength, immunity, sleep quality and teeth strength.

4. Sharman dates also contain antioxidants that scavenge free radicals in our body. By eliminating the free radicals, they reduce the risk of cell damage by oxidation.

 

Piarom Dates

1. Piarom dates have the sweet taste of toffee and caramel. They often have thin dark coloured skin attached to their flesh.

2. They are semi dry dates with brown to black coloured skin.

3. Piarom dates are very useful in regulating or maintaining blood sugar level and blood pressure due to their low glycemic index. (a measure of how quickly a type of food increases the blood sugar level)

4. Piarom dates have magnesium that is very effective for muscle relaxation by acting as a natural calcium blocker.

5. Piarom dates have high antioxidant properties that protect our body against free radicals (free radicals are molecules that are produced by our body when it breaks down food or when we are exposed to smoke or radiation) that play an important role in causing cardiovascular diseases among others.

 

Deglet Noor

1. Deglet Noor dates are semi-dry dates that are known widely for their sweet delightful taste.

2. These dates are sweet and delicate, varying from amber to dark brown.

3. Deglet Noor name means “date of light” as they look golden or lit up when held up to the sun.

4. These dates are excellent for cooking because they can be easily chopped or diced without getting mushy due to their dried nature and also because of their natural sweetness.

5. Deglet noor contains high amounts of fructose (a carbohydrate or a naturally occurring sugar in fruit). Due to the presence of fructose, they can be a healthy alternative for refined sugar in few desserts.

 

Mazafati dates

1. Mazafati dates are soft and fleshy. They have approximately 15-35% moisture content.

2. Mazafati dates are originally from Iran.

3. Mazafati dates are a good source of iron, showed a paper published in Journal of Food and Bioprocess Engineering, 2019.

4. They taste a little bit similar to Medjool dates with a hint of caramel.

5. Mazafati dates are loaded with vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium that helps to prevent osteoporosis, shows a paper published in IOPSciences, 2019.

 

Barhi Dates

1. Barhi dates are the most fragile dates. Their firm skin and flesh turn soft and golden brown when sorted. The fruit is very small in size compared to other dates.

2. Barhi dates have a syrupy flavour.

3. Yellow dates are rich in fibre, iron, potassium, B-vitamin, flavonoids, and antioxidants.

4. Barhi dates are originally from Iraq and are known to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL is a low density cholesterol that starts building in the blood vessels and blocks the smooth flow of blood) in our body, shows a paper in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2013.

 

Safawi dates

1. Safawi dates are chewy and wrinkled. Safawi dates are very flavoursome and sweet.

2. Safawi dates are originally from Madinah, Saudi Arabia and have a dark black cherry colour with hints of brown.

3. Safawi, due to their iron content, are best known to treat anemia and hypertension, shows a paper in the Journal of Food Processing and Beverages, 2015.

4. Safawi dates have choline (an essential nutrient that has a huge impact over acetylcholine and dopamine during neurotransmission) and vitamin B that play a crucial role in learning and memory during a child’s development phase.

5. Owing to their fibre content, Safawi dates improve digestion.

 

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Zahidi dates

1. Zahidi dates are well known for their nutty flavour that almost tastes like peanut butter.

2. Zahidi dates have a single seed enclosed by light brown skin and a thick golden inner flesh.

3. Zahidi dates have also come down from Iraq and have a positive effect on the liver and prevent liver fibrosis by helping in body detoxification, shows a paper in the Journal of Food Science, 2015.

Consuming these dates could improve digestion as well as improve memory and vision.

 

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Health Benefits of Dates

Dates are a good source of vitamin B complex, dietary fibre, minerals, phenolics, carotenoids, and antioxidants. Science Letters Journal ‘s study, 2019 explains that owing to these important functional compounds they are known to have several health benefits preventing several diseases. Here is a list of benefits of dates.

 

1. High intake of fibre that improve digestive health

2. An arsenal of disease fighting antioxidants

3. Excellent natural sweetener to satisfy sweet tooth or cravings

4. High energy rich snack

5. Improves brain and heart health with significant nutrient supply.

 

The bottom line is that dates are an easy way to give nutrition to your body. Know the type of dates you like and incorporate them in your diet to enjoy the health benefits they offer.

 

 

 

 

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