Date fruits are well known for their nutrient value and traditional importance. This iconic fruit grows in the regions of North Africa and West Asia. It is the keystone species of oasis agrosystems and produces sugar-rich and nutritious fruits (1). For more date benefits can check “Health benefits of Dates (Phoenix dactylifera L.)“. Well this article is all about the Best dates in the world and some of their health benefits.
Best dates in the world and their major differences
There are various important date varieties grown around the world. Some varieties like Ajwah, Anbara, Hayany Deglet Noor, Dayri Halawi, Khadrawy, Khlas, Medjool, Rotab, Rotbin, Sukkari, Safawi, Zahidi, and many more (2).
1. Ajwa or super date
Ajwa dates are a combination of the dry and soft variety and are mildly sweet. It has a prune-like texture and is black with very fine wrinkled lines. Ajwa dates benefits are as follows.
- Ajwa date is an excellent source of dietary fiber, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and folic acid.
- It manages diabetes and fights against cancer.
- Improve gut health and promote good digestion.
- Treat and prevent anemia, and infections and improve fertility.
- Reduce the chance of cesarean section and be healthy for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and babies.
- Consumption of Ajwa dates reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Protect against tissue damage induced by many other toxins.
2. Medjool or queen of dates
Medjool dates are fleshy, soft, large, and sweet with an attractive appearance, consumed soft or dry. The other name of this date is Hallawi dates. The Health Benefits of Medjool date are the following (3).
- Fresh date soaking in water is an excellent remedy for alcoholic intoxication.
- Reduce obesity by minimizing the appetite.
- Helps in the contraction of the uterus during childbirth.
- Natural sugar of date is good for young children.
- treats constipation.
- Date serum is good for the heart.
3. Deglet Noor or Date of the light
Deglet Noor is the more popular date that turns from amber to deep brown. It is a delicate and distinctive semi-dry date with soft, reddish-white pulp and a medium level of fiber (4). The Health Benefits of Deglet Noor are as follows (5).
- The Deglet Noor variety has higher sucrose but lowers simple sugar (fructose and glucose).
- Deglet Noor date seeds are rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
- Date seeds consist of a trace amount of selenium.
- Selenium is very important as it is associated with the infertility treatment of males and females.
- Also acts as an antioxidant, thus Deglet Noor helps in detoxifying the body to make the liver and other organs healthy.
- This variety is rich in fiber and thus recommended for use in confectioneries.
- Also contains a large proportion of phytosterols. Used for years to cure hormone-related health challenges.
- Again the extracts from the Deglet Noor date variety were able to protect against hepatotoxicity and oxidative destruction in rat liver sub-chronically exposed to dimethoate.
Barhi is small, sweet, soft, and the most fragile of dates. It has a caramel and brown sugar taste, crunchy and smooth in texture with amber to golden brown color. This date is best to consume fresh due to its firm flesh (6). The Health Benefits of the Barhi date are as follows (7).
- Barhi is rich in fibers and thus helps in digestion and the regulation of sugar levels and cholesterol.
- Full of antioxidants thus reduce the risk of certain types of heart disease and cancer by blocking oxidative stress.
- These dates are also nutrients and minerals rich like potassium, iron, and vitamin B.
These are crispy in texture and sweet like caramel in taste. Sukkari dates are golden, soft, and can be consumed fresh as well as in dry form. The health benefits of Sukkari dates are as follows (8).
- Sukkari dates (SKD) contain carbohydrates, protein, fats, fibers, and minerals.
- These dates are rich in potassium which is the most abundant mineral, with a high concentration of essential amino acids in its protein.
- Also contained phytochemicals and carotenoids with high nutritional and therapeutic properties.
Safawi is semi-dry, has a soft texture, and has black color dates. They look like the Ajwa dates. The health benefits of Safawi dates are as follows (9).
- Treats constipation
- Good for the heart and lowers the cholesterol level.
- Treats anemia
- Due to being rich in fiber, it helps in curing diarrhea.
Zahidi is oval-shaped, semi-dry, has yellow to brown dates, and has a firm texture. It has meaty flesh with a nutty and buttery taste. This date is medium-sized and sweet, with thick glossy skin as well as smooth consistency.
Khudri has dark brown wrinkled skin with a dry & sweet taste.
Being a tissue culture specialist, especially in date palm varieties, this article is close to my heart as dates are beautiful fruits with so many cultural, traditional, and medicinal values. They look very simple but are very complicated fruits and difficult to grow especially in vitro (lab conditions). The more I deep dive into this fruit the more I become fascinated.