Antioxidant Properties of Date Varieties in Saudi Arabia: Analysis of Natural Antioxidants and Phenols

Medicinal plants like dates can help improve many conditions in modern life. Dates are rich in vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. 

They help prevent and treat several health issues such as phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and carotenoids. In particular, the antioxidant properties of date varieties have been shown to be beneficial for health.

There are more than 200 types of dates. This type of fruit ripens over five stages:

  • Hababouk: the earliest stage that lasts for about a month after fertilization
  • Kimri: the green phase that lasts for 9-14 weeks
  • Khalal: in which the dates get their color
  • Rutab: where dates become soft and ripe
  • Tamar: the dried version of dates 


Researchers analyzed five date varieties from Saudi Arabia to determine their phenolic compound concentration and antioxidant activity. The varieties studied were Barhi, Barni Al Madina, Khesab, Sukkary, and Ajwa.


Phenolic compounds are non-nutritive components of fruits and vegetables that play important roles in the body. They indicate the antioxidant power of the food and can help regulate blood sugar by affecting glucose absorption and uptake.

Antioxidants are vital because they remove free radicals. They may also protect against coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, aging, and diabetes.

Phenolic compounds were high in all five types of dates studied. Barni Al Madina comes on top of the list,  with 30 grams of its total weight as a fresh fruit containing 57.8 mg of phenolics. In contrast, Ajwa comes last with about 55.2 mg phenolic per 30 gm. 

Researchers found dates are the only fruit containing flavonoid sulfates with antioxidant properties. Dates also protect against cardiovascular diseases, ischemia, inflammation, and cancer. Moreover, they have an antimicrobial effect that can potentially help fight infections. 

The study also measured the antioxidant activity of these five types of dates. Again Barni Al Madina was on top, while Ajwa came last, but only with a slight gap from the rest.

Additionally, the ripening process increased the concentration of the phenolic compounds and changed their proportions.

Date fruit has a lot of potentials. They can help maintain good health, as well as prevent and mitigate several diseases.


Dates are nutritious fruits that have potential health benefits. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which may help support brain, digestive, and heart health.

Some specific health issues that dates may help prevent or treat include:

Digestive issues: 

Dates are high in fiber, which can help prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements. Fiber may also help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and preventing blood sugar spikes.

Chronic diseases: 

Dates contain various antioxidants that may help protect against chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune diseases by fighting free radicals that can cause cell damage.

Brain health: 

Studies have linked dates with improved brain function due to their antioxidant content.

Natural labor:

Dates may also help ease natural labor by promoting cervical dilation and reducing the need for induced labor 3.

Overall, the mechanisms by which dates may help prevent or treat these health issues include their high fiber and antioxidant content, as well as their potential to regulate blood sugar levels and promote healthy digestion.


In conclusion, dates are a nutritious and versatile fruit with a wide range of potential health benefits. Rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, they may help prevent and treat several health issues, including digestive problems, chronic diseases, and brain health. 

Research has shown that the antioxidant properties of date varieties are strong, with high levels of phenolic compounds and strong antioxidant activity. As a natural and delicious food, dates are a great addition to a healthy diet and can help support overall well-being.

Written by:
Nancy Elrefaey, MS, MBBS



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