Written by: RJ Miles
Palm trees are synonymous with paradise and relaxation. Corona beer has used this in their brilliant marketing campaign; with the beautiful serene beaches, a couple relaxing, and typically the symbolism of the palm tree, one can’t help but want to be on that same beach, beer in hand. While the trees certainly have aesthetic value, some species of palm trees provide us with an incredible superfood: the date. You may have noticed those brown clusters near the top of some of these trees, but many people don’t realize the health benefits that these little oblong beauties contain. Dates are a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, proteins, the vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, and folate; and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, sulfur, cobalt, fluorine, manganese, and boron.
While the fruit is chock-full of nutrients, recent research shows that non-nutrients referred to as phytochemicals in the date may be the most beneficial to our health. Phytochemicals are bioactive plant derived chemicals which may provide several health benefits when included in the diet. Dates are rich in several classes of phytochemicals including:
Carotenoids: carotenoids are precursors to vitamin A. Vitamin A is vital to vision, and also acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are biological compounds that protect the cell from free radicals. Free radicals are basically atoms or molecular compounds in the body that have unpaired electrons; which makes the compound unstable. The free radicals are very damaging to the cells and/or tissues of the body. Free radicals have been linked to several diseases such as cancer, heart disease, alzheimer’s, and parkinson’s disease. Antioxidants help protect against this by stabilizing the free radicals.
Phenolic Acids: These phytochemicals are considered to be very effective antioxidants. They act as free radical scavengers in the body. Research has also shown that phenolic acids have some anti-microbial properties, protecting the system from certain strains of bacteria.
Flavonoids: Flavonoids are also antioxidants, yet they also have anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, research in diabetic lab rats has shown that the flavonoids diosmetin 1 and diosmetin 2 can increase insulin excretion and stimulate the enzyme glycogen synthase. Essentially, the flavonoids found in dates help to maintain normal blood glucose levels. This is significant considering the prevalence of diabetes in the united states.
Thus, not only is the date palm nice to look at, it’s also looking out for your health. Adding the little powerhouse fruits that these trees provide to your diet could be beneficial to your overall health and well-being. What’s more? All Rbar products contain dates as the first ingredient! That’s what gives them that incredible sweet taste. So not only do Rbars help fuel your active lifestyle and help you #domore, they are also acting in many biochemical processes in the body to keep you healthy.
For more information on the date fruit research, check out the article below.
Al-Alawi, Reem A. et al. “Date Palm Tree (Phoenix Dactylifera L.): Natural Products and Therapeutic Options.” Frontiers in Plant Science 8 (2017): 845. PMC. Web. 21 Sept. 2017.