Everything you need to know about dates, the fruit of the desert

Estimated read time 9 min read


Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, which is native to North Africa and the Middle East. Dates grow in bunches on trees that can reach over 30 feet tall. Dried dates have been eaten for thousands of years, but fresh ones are much better for you—and they taste better too! Here’s everything you need to know about this sweet treat!

They’re the fruit of the date palm tree

Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, which is native to the Middle East and North Africa. The date palm is one of the oldest cultivated trees in the world, dating back to prehistoric times. It can grow up to 50 feet high and live for over 200 years!

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The largest producer of dates today is Saudi Arabia; however, most commercially-grown dates come from countries such as Morocco, Jordan, Iran and Tunisia.

Dates grow in bunches

Dates grow in bunches on the date palm tree, which is a fruit not a vegetable. There are several varieties of dates, including Deglet Noor (the most popular), Barhee, Medjool and Khadrawy. Dates are grown in many countries across the globe including Qatar, Algeria, Brazil and Pakistan to name but a few.

Dates have a lot of sugar, but they’re also rich in fiber and nutrients

But before you go running for the hills, dates are also a good source of potassium, magnesium, and iron. They’re also rich in B vitamins and vitamin A (beta-carotene), as well as calcium.

Why are they so good for you? Dates are high in fiber—about 5 grams per date—which helps keep your body regular and may lower your risk of heart disease. They’re also naturally sweetened with fructose (fruit sugar) instead of sucrose or other types of sugar that spike blood sugar.

They come in different varieties

Dates come in different varieties and can be eaten fresh, dried or even canned. The most common varieties include the Medjool, Deglet Noor, Halawi and Khadrawi. Each variety has its own unique flavor and texture; they also have slightly different health benefits.

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For instance:


Medjool dates are sweeter and softer than other varieties of dates. They are also the most expensive variety.

A single medjool date contains roughly 84 grams of sugar—more than your daily recommended allowance! However, it’s not just any kind of sugar—the majority of this nutrient comes from natural sugars called fructose (about 47%) and glucose (about 33%). Imagine having an ice cream sundae for breakfast every morning instead of cereal!

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Barhi dates are by far the sweetest of all the different kinds of dates. They’re also crunchy, but not in a stale way—more like an apple that’s been sliced up and left out for a few days. The texture makes it easy to eat one after another, which means you could be snacking on these things all day long without feeling any ill effects. This type of date is great for your heart because it lowers cholesterol, and it’s good for your digestive system because it helps prevent constipation and diarrhea. It’s even good for your skin because it contains antioxidants that keep you from getting wrinkles or sunburns (which are caused by oxidation on our skin). Barhi dates can be found at Getit.qa as well as specialty grocery stores like Getit Mart (which has an entire section dedicated to dried fruits).

Deglet Noor

These dates are rich in potassium, magnesium and iron. They also contain more fiber than other types of dates and have been reported to have a high antioxidant content.

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In terms of heart health, deglet noor dates have been shown to lower blood pressure, which could be beneficial for those who suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure).


Dates are an excellent source of fiber, which is important for keeping your digestive system on track. They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, folate and iron. Plus they have a high concentration of antioxidants that can help protect your cells from the damage caused by free radicals.


Zahidi dates are a great source of fiber and potassium. They also contain iron, calcium and antioxidants.

The Zahidi date is the most common type of date sold in supermarkets. The tree that produces it grows up to 20 feet tall and produces an abundance of fruit year-round in warm climates like Saudi Arabia, North Africa and Spain.

Dates don’t come cheap—they’re one of the more expensive fruits to buy at the grocery store—but they’re worth it when you consider what else you’ll be getting: Some studies show that consuming dates rich in carbohydrates can help control blood sugar levels after meals or snacks (which will make them easier to digest). Plus their natural sugars are slowly absorbed into your bloodstream instead of flooding all at once like some other sugary treats might do (think soda).

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Zahidi dates have an average weight of about 3 ounces (100 grams) each one contains about 210 calories and contains 10 percent moisture content with high levels of sugar content ranging from 17-22%.

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Honey dates are a sweet, sticky treat that is rich in fiber and vitamins. They are high in potassium and iron, which help you to stay healthy. Honey dates also have calcium and magnesium to keep your bones strong.

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Khadrawi dates are a variety of dates from Morocco. They’re known for their sweetness and stickiness, making them quite sticky to eat! These dates offer many benefits to your body, making them a great choice for your heart, teeth and digestive system.

Khadrawi dates are very rich in potassium, an essential mineral that helps you maintain normal blood pressure as well as assists with nervous system function. They also contain calcium which keeps bones strong by aiding in their formation while magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels. All of these nutrients help support your overall good health by helping prevent high blood pressure and osteoporosis (a condition where bones become weak or brittle).


Halawy is a sweet, soft and creamy type of dessert that’s made from flour and water. It’s got lots of potassium and iron, which are important for your health.

Halawy can be served warm or cold. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even serve it topped with cinnamon!


Dayri dates are a sweet, chewy fruit that have a mild flavor. They’re rich in copper, iron and potassium, as well as fiber and antioxidants.

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While Dayris are not very sweet compared to other types of dates (they tend to be less than 10 percent sugar), they’re still tasty on their own or added into recipes like smoothies or oatmeal.

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In general, you should eat more whole foods such as fruits and vegetables that will provide more nutrients than processed foods with artificial ingredients like high fructose corn syrup.

You can eat dates even if they’re not completely ripe

You can eat dates even if they’re not completely ripe. Most people think that dates are only good when they have turned into a deep purple color, but this isn’t necessarily true. If you want to eat fresh dates, you should go for the lighter-colored ones because they’ll be softer and sweeter than their darker counterparts.

Dates are great in salads or served on top of cake as an accompaniment to ice cream or whipped cream. You can even use them to make your own marinade for meat!

Fresh dates are better than dried ones

If you’re looking to purchase dates, fresh ones are your best bet. That’s because dried dates have a higher sugar content and less nutrition. Fresh dates are delicious, but they also provide more fiber—which means they’ll help lower bad cholesterol levels—and vitamins A and C than the dried variety. If you can’t find them fresh at your local grocery store or farmer’s market, look for “energy” or “gourmet” dates on the shelf instead of commercially packaged ones that might be labeled as something else (like dried fruit).

Dates are also an excellent source of iron, which helps boost energy levels; copper, which aids in blood cell production; potassium; magnesium; phosphorus; zinc and selenium (the latter two prevent cellular damage from free radicals). They really do pack a punch when it comes to nutrients!

Dates are a healthy way to get your sugar fix

Dates are a good source of fiber, which can help you feel less hungry between meals. Dates are also rich in sugar and other nutrients, making them a great calorie-dense snack.

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Dates contain potassium, calcium and magnesium, which may reduce your risk for heart disease2. They’re also high in phosphorus3—a nutrient that helps keep bones strong and healthy.


There are many different varieties of dates, and they’re all delicious. If you have never tried them before, take this opportunity to do so! Dates are nutritious and easy to eat, so the next time you need a quick snack or an alternative dessert, reach for one of these sweet treats instead.

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