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Keywords:

  • date;
  • nutritional values;
  • medicinal activities

Abstract

Date fruit has served as a staple food in the Arab world for centuries. Worldwide production of date fruit has increased almost threefold over the last 40 years, reaching 7.68 million tons in 2010. Date fruit can provide many essential nutrients and potential health benefits to the consumer. Date fruit goes through four ripening stages named kimri, khalal, rutab and tamer. The main chemical components of date fruit include carbohydrates, dietary fibre, enzymes, protein, fat, minerals, vitamins, phenolic acids and carotenoids. The chemical composition of date fruit varies according to ripening stage, cultivar, growing environment, postharvest conditions, etc. The nutritional and medicinal activities of date fruit are related to its chemical composition. Many studies have shown that date fruit has antioxidant, antimutagenic, anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, anticancer and immunostimulant activities. Various date fruit-based products such as date syrup, date paste, date juice and their derived products are available. Date by-products can be used as raw materials for the production of value-added products such as organic acids, exopolysaccharides, antibiotics, date-flavoured probiotic-fermented dairy produce, bakery yeasts, etc. In this paper the chemical composition and nutritional and medicinal values of date fruit as well as date fruit-based products are reviewed. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry