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EDITORIAL
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 161

Date palm fruits as functional foods


Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, P. O. Box: 34, PC: 123 Al Khoud, Muscat, Oman

Date of Web Publication10-Jul-2013

Correspondence Address:
Nejib Guizani
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, P. O. Box: 34, PC: 123 Al Khoud, Muscat
Oman
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2231-0738.114830

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How to cite this article:
Guizani N. Date palm fruits as functional foods. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2013;3:161

How to cite this URL:
Guizani N. Date palm fruits as functional foods. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2013 [cited 2020 Aug 10];3:161. Available from: http://www.ijnpnd.com/text.asp?2013/3/3/161/114830

Today, research in nutritional science is focusing on the concept of optimal nutrition with the objective to optimize the daily diet in terms of nutrients and non-nutrients that favor the maintenance of health. This focus is also followed by consumer's behavior. In fact, consumers are now more interested in the relationship between diet and health. This nutritional shift is greatly motivated by many factors including the demographic changes, specifically the aging of the population, the higher life expectancy and the desire for an improved quality-of-life. Moreover, an increase in life-style related diseases, combined with constantly rising health-care costs, have stimulated research to identify or produce food with functions that can improve health and well-being and reduce the risk or delay the onset of major diseases. Numerous epidemiological and experimental studies suggested that dietary intake of active phytochemicals such as flavonoids and phenolic compounds may reduce the risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, etc., which are the world's leading cause of mortality. Thus, it is important to have a clear idea of the major phenolic families of which fruits and vegetables are comprised and the levels contained therein. It is in this context that the concept of functional food has emerged globally.

Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is widely planted in hot and dry climate regions of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Date palm fruit is an important food resource in Oman as it plays a vital role in the economic and social lives of its population. Date palm fruit contains large amounts of dietary fiber and are thought to be a good source of some minerals and minerals. United States Department of Agriculture nutrient database reported that dates are good sources of minerals (Se, Cu, K and Mg), vitamins (C, A, B6, B9, B2, B3). Furthermore, dates can be considered to be a good source of total phenolics and natural antioxidants (such as anthocyanins, ferulic acid). The phenolic compounds and the selenium present in date fruits imparts antioxidant activity.

Consumption of dates is believed to be strengthening for the body, to prevent the premature greying of hair, wrinkle formation and to give the skin a lustrous healthy look. The date kernels have also been reported to exhibit anti-aging properties and to reduce wrinkling of skin in women. Date palm fruits and its pits have been used in the various traditional and folk systems of medicines. Dates are traditionally used to treat hypertension and diabetes in the south eastern Morocco. Dried dates are also of use in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. The fruit pulp is regarded to be antitussive, expectorant, demulcent, laxative, diuretic and restorative.

Thus, dates are promising ingredients for functional foods intended for health benefit. However, there is not yet enough scientific evidence to support a wide range of health claims regarding functional date foods. Bioactive date compounds, their characterization and utilization in functional foods and clinical assessment of antimicrobial properties for human health are among the major targets to show date palm fruits as functional foods.




 

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