Dates from Paradise – Ajwa datesAdmin
Ajwa dates are a soft, luscious and fruity date variety, with a fine texture, from Saudi Arabia. They are cultivated in Madina Tayyiba. In fact, Ajwa dates are the most famous variety of dates from this region and for very good reasons, as you will see below.
Historical evidence around Arabia and North Africa suggests that dates have been consumed in the area for over 8,000 years. Dates have since been exported to other areas of the world such as Pakistan, India, Italy, South America and even along the western coast of North America.
The date trees themselves can grow 12 inches per year up to a height of 100 feet. To produce a large amount of dates, they are usually manually pollinated. Each tree is either a male or female tree. Pollen is carried from the male tree and dusted over the female trees, allowing them to produce fruit.
The dried Ajwa date is a very dark brown, almost black in colour, rich in many nutrients. It remains quite soft and juicy and also retains its sweet, fruity flavour. These are some of the reasons that Ajwa dates are most sought after around the world.
The taste has been described as moderately sweet and smooth, with a “melt in your mouth” quality to them.
But the taste is not the only benefit you get from Ajwa dates. Ajwa dates are packed with nutrients and can even be thought of as a powerpack of nutrients. For its size, it contains a lot of beneficial nutrients and vitamins. Ajwa dates contain protein, carbohydrates, dietary fibre and healthy fats. As far as vitamins, they are literally packed with vitamins A, B6, C, E and K. They also contain carotenoids which are part of the vitamin A family and great for eyesight. Other vitamins contained include folate, niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. Did I mention that even with all of these packed in, they still contain beneficial minerals as well? Wait for it….
Ajwa dates contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosophorus, sodium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Now it is easy to see why travellers in the desert used to sustain themselves on dates and water alone, sometimes.
It will come as no surprise that with its contents of nutritious substances, vitamins and minerals, Ajwa dates have benefits that are more than skin deep for one’s overall well being. A recent review article , has summarised some of these scientifically proven benefits of the Ajwa date.
Here are some of the proven benefits:
- Improves Digestive Health, Relieves Constipation – fibre found in Ajwa dates help to clean out the gastrointestinal system, allowing the colon to work at greater levels of efficiency. Ajwa dates, specifically, reduces risks of bowel inflammation (colitis), colon cancer, and haemorrhoids.
- Boosts Heart Health – In addition to promoting colon health, fibre is also known to boost heart health.
- Anti-Inflammatory – Ajwa dates are rich in magnesium – a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Ajwa dates, in particular, have some of the highest anti-inflammatory properties, similar to commercial drugs like aspiring or ibuprofen.6
- Reduced Blood Pressure – Magnesium has been shown to help lower blood pressure – and again, Ajwa dates are full of this mineral.
- Reduced Stroke Risk – Researchers found stroke risk was reduced by 9% for every 100 milligrams of magnesium a person consumes per day.2
- A Healthy Pregnancy and Delivery – A study has shown that consuming Ajwa dates in late pregnancy helps with labour progression and less need for artificially inducing labour and/or caesarean section.3
- Boosting Brain Health – Some studies, such as one found in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that sufficient vitamin B6 levels are associated with improved brain performance and better test scores.
- Bone Health and Strength – The significant amounts of minerals found in Ajwa dates make it a super food for strengthening bones and fighting off painful and debilitating diseases like osteoporosis.
- Intestinal Disorders – The natural nicotine content in dates is thought to be beneficial for curing many kinds of intestinal disorders.
- Anaemia – Ajwa dates have a dark colour when dried, owing to their high mineral content. However, their impressive levels of iron make them a perfect dietary supplement for people suffering from anaemia.
- Energy Booster – Ajwa dates are high in natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Therefore, they are the perfect snack for an immediate burst of energy. However, the sugars found in Ajwa dates are even more beneficial, especially for those with type 2 diabetes.
- Maintaining healthy weight – Dates should be included as a part of a healthy diet. They consist of sugar, proteins and many essential vitamins.
- Nervous System Health – The vitamins present in Ajwa dates make it an ideal boost to nervous system health and functionality. Potassium is one of the prime ingredients in promoting a healthy and responsive nervous system, and it also improves the speed and alertness of brain activity.
The Ajwa date is also specifically mentioned by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and as such, Muslims take it as having these benefits:
- The Messenger (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, “Whoever has seven Ajwa dates every morning he will not be harmed on that day by poison or magic.” Sahih al-Bukhari (5445) (5768) (5769) (5779).
- The Messenger (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, “Ajwa dates are from paradise and they are healing for possession.” Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 31, Hadith 3453and Tirmidhee (2068) classed as hasan Saheeh and it was authenticated by Shaikh al-Albaani
- The Messenger (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, “Whoever has seven dates between the two areas (the east and west of Madina) as soon as he wakes up every morning, he will not be harmed on that day by poison and magic until the evening.” Sahih Muslim 2047 ( Book 23, Hadith 5080).
- A’isha reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “The ‘ajwa’ dates of ‘Aliya’ contain healing effects and these are an antidote in the early morning.” Sahih Muslim 2048 (Book #023, Hadith #5083).
They do say that good things come in small packages and this is never more true than with Ajwa dates, so why not enrich your home, your diet and your health with this powerpack nutritional food?
Buy your Ajwa dates here.
- Ajwa Dates Article on http://www.askislampedia.com/home/-/wiki/English_wiki/Ajwa+Dates[accessed June 2016]
- Larsson SC, Orsini N and Wolk A. Dietary magnesium and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011: 022376.
- Al-Kuran O, Al-Mehaisen L, Bawadi H, Beitawi S, Amarin Z. The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2011;31(1):29-31.
- http://naturalsociety.com/health-benefits-of-dates-7-reasons-eat-date-fruit/ [accessed June 2016]
- http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html [accessed June 2016]
- http://www.healthymuslim.com/articles/ipgbfzokh-ajwa-dates-contain-cancer-preventing-property.cfm [accessed June 2016]
- Mallhi TH, Qadir MI, Ali M, Ahmad B, Khan YH, Rehman A. Review: Ajwa date (Phoenix dactylifera)- an emerging plant in pharmacological research. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2014 May;27(3):607-16.