Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2012 ;52(3):249-71. PMID: 22214443
Date fruits (Phoenix dactylifera Linn): an emerging medicinal food.
Date palm is one of the oldest trees cultivated by man. In the folk-lore, date fruits have been ascribed to have many medicinal properties when consumed either alone or in combination with other herbs. Although, fruit of the date palm served as the staple food for millions of people around the world for several centuries, studies on the health benefits are inadequate and hardly recognized as a healthy food by the health professionals and the public. In recent years, an explosion of interest in the numerous health benefits of dates had led to many in vitro and animal studies as well as the identification and quantification of various classes of phytochemicals. On the basis of available documentation in the literature on the nutritional and phytochemical composition, it is apparent that the date fruits are highly nutritious and may have several potential health benefits. Although dates are sugar-packed, many date varieties are low GI diet and refutes the dogma that dates are similar to candies and regular consumption would develop chronic diseases. More investigations in these areas would validate its beneficial effects, mechanisms of actions, and fully appreciate as a potential medicinal food for humans all around the world. Therefore, in this review we summarize the phytochemical composition, nutritional significance, and potential health benefits of date fruit consumption and discuss its great potential as a medicinal food for a number of diseases inflicting human beings.