Date Seeds: A promising source of oil with functional properties

Research Study: Date Seeds: A Promising Source of Oil with Functional Properties

Researchers: Abdessalem Mrabet, Ana Jiménez-Araujo, Rafael Guillén-Bejarano, Rocío Rodríguez-Arcos, and Marianne Sindic

 
  • It has been known for a long time that date fruits have several health benefits.
  • Incorporating dates into one’s diet can provide several benefits to overall health. 
  • People are now coming to understand the various functions of the oil from date fruit seeds. 
  • Date seed oil can be used to improve the hair and skin in addition to having other effects on one’s health.

Date fruits have long been known to be beneficial to health. Incorporating dates into one’s diet has been known to provide tremendous boosts to health. This can be done by eating the fruit directly or adding it to recipes. One can even use date syrup in place of sugar or sweeteners. 

Recently, more people are investigating the benefits of date seeds. Specifically, they are studying the oil derived from these seeds. They may potentially hold various health benefits. So what exactly is date seed oil?  Why is it a promising replacement for several existing oils?

Date seeds are known to contain proteins, carbohydrates, and dietary fibers. They are also rich in minerals (including potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and iron) and antioxidants like phenols. 

They also have long been known to have antioxidant, antiviral, and even antibacterial properties. Furthermore, date seeds themselves have been known to be rich in tocopherols, phytosterols, and phenolic compounds. 

In the oil industry, the date seed oil is now being sought as one of the most valuable forms of oil. This is due to the mentioned compounds that it contains. In fact, many are even looking to use date seed oil as a reliable substitute for other edible oils.

The Study:

Studies have shown that various aspects of date seed oil may make it a more effective alternative. They can be used to substitute for oils currently in use for dietary or even cosmetic purposes. One such study showed that Iranian date seed oils in particular had a high level of oleic acids in them. 

Oleic acids are a type of fatty acids naturally found in several foods. They have been noted to be beneficial to overall heart health. Not only do oleic acids have certain preventive effects against heart disease; it also has a low saturation level. This means that they may possibly reduce blood cholesterol levels as well.

Seed oil is also rich in tocopherols and tocotrienol, which are forms of vitamin E. These compounds have many uses in dermatological settings. Studies have shown that vitamin E protects the skin from sun-related damage. It may have anti-tumor and photoprotective properties too.  Date seed oil from Saudi Arabia was found to be high in tocopherols. Because of this, they may possibly have several skin benefits as a result. 

Another study found that seed oil had immense possibilities in both the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. This is due to its versatile nature and the gains it provides. The study noted that date seed oil can absorb UV radiation. Therefore, this oil can protect the skin against structural and DNA damage resulting from sunlight exposure. 

While conclusive trials have yet to be done, skin cultures in labs have shown promising results. They contain almost four times less damage to their genetic material when date seed oil was used. This is compared to the cultures where it was not used.

Another cosmetic use for date seed oil includes the prevention of hair loss. Date seed oil contains potent levels of linoleic acid. This compound is important as without it, skin can become brittle and dry. This usually results in an increase in hair fall. The human body does not produce linoleic acid on its own. Therefore, date seed oil can potentially be used to prevent hair fall due to dry skin.

Date seed oil is essentially produced as a waste product from the palm date industry. Because of this, it is interesting to note that scientists are looking into using it to develop biodiesel. This is all in an effort to be more resourceful and less wasteful. 

Conclusion

While date fruits have been known to have many benefits, the seeds of the fruits have long been neglected for their properties in many parts of the world. Oil made from extracting date seeds holds many benefits. They are good for skin and hair health. They also contain many micronutrients which help maintain overall health. Furthermore, researchers are still trying to determine if date seed oil might make for an apt biodiesel fuel source.

Written by:
Dr. Nimeshika Jayachandran
Physician and Medical Journalist
Reviewed by:
Registered Dietitian

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