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

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.

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 studied five types of dates from different regions in Saudi Arabia. They had two targets. The first was to detect the concentration of phenolic compounds. The second target was to measure the antioxidant activity. The date types under observation were Barhi, Barni Al Madina, Khesab, Sukkary, and Ajwa. 

Phenolic compounds are non-nutritional components of fruits and vegetables. Yet, they have essential functions in the body. They show how powerful the fruit or vegetable is as an antioxidant. They may decrease dietary glucose absorption or encourage its uptake by the body cells. Hence, they reduce blood sugar.

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 potential. They can help maintain good health, as well as prevent and mitigate several diseases.

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PubMed Central

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