Date Varieties: Khesab

Dates are well known for their nutritional value and various health benefits. They come from the date palm tree, which is native to North Africa and the Persian Gulf regions. 

It is one of the oldest cultivated plants for food. In fact, there are more than 200 varieties of dates available in the world. Khesab, also known as Khasab, is one of those varieties.

Khesab and Its Difference to Other Varieties

Appearance

Dates are available in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Depending on the variety, they are usually shaped like an oval cylinder. They can range from 1 to 3 inches long and are bright red to bright yellow in color. 

Khesab is a very common date variety in the UAE. It is usually eaten as a soft fruit instead of sun-dried. Khesab dates are usually smaller than other date varieties, at around 1–1 ½ inches long.

 

Nutrition

Like all dates, Khudri dates have many health benefits. There have been various studies that focus on the nutritional benefits of the Khesab date variety.

  • Researchers studied three varieties of dates, including the khesab variety. The dates are low in fat and protein but rich in sugars. They also contained a good amount of dietary fiber and minerals. Out of the three, the Khesab variety has the lowest total sugar content. They contain around 6–8 g of dietary fiber per 100 g of date fruit, and 84–94% of insoluble fiber. The major minerals found in this variety are potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. 
  • Another study analyzed the antioxidant activity in 22 varieties of dates. Khesab and two other varieties had the highest levels of antioxidant activity.
  • The amount of phenolics (a type of antioxidant) in 5 date varieties were studied. They found that Khesab dates had 56.9 mg of gallic acid equivalent (phenolic compounds) per 30 g of date flesh. This was more phenolics than in the Sukkari and Ajwa varieties but less phenolics than in Barhi and Barni varieties. 

Khesab Dates and Their Health Benefits

Dates are a good source of essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Seventy percent of the carbohydrates in dates come in the form of simple sugars.

Dates are great for disease prevention. This is due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activity. Recent studies have shown that dates are an excellent source of phenolics, which are powerful antioxidants. Dates also contain other antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, carotenoids, and flavonoids.

Khesab dates are high in phenolic compounds, which are active antioxidants. They play an important role in fighting free radicals. Free radicals can build up in cells and cause cell damage. This can then increase the risk of cancer and other diseases.

Because dates are a good source of antioxidants, they may be used as a functional food for the management of diseases caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a major contributor to chronic diseases, and antioxidants can decrease this oxidative stress. Because of their antioxidant activity, dates are helpful in the prevention and treatment of various chronic diseases. This includes high blood pressure, heart disease, constipation, diabetes, and cancer.

Shopping For and Storing Khesab Dates

How to Shop for Khesab Dates:

The quality of a date is influenced by many things, such as size, color, texture, defects, and decay. Choose plump khesab dates that are wrinkled but not shriveled. They should be firm but not hard, which is an indication that they have lost a lot of moisture. This will result in longer shelf life.

 

How to Store Khesab Dates:

Ripe and mature sun-dried dates can be eaten throughout the year. As with most fruits, dates will lose moisture the longer they are stored. The phenolic content also decreases with age, so it is best to eat dates when they are the freshest. At 32°F (0°C), slightly under-ripe dates will keep up to 10 months. Meanwhile, fully mature dates will still be good for 5 to 6 months. Freezing can extend the storage life much longer.

Khesab dates are easy to store and eat throughout the year. They taste sweet and provide many nutritional and health benefits. Create a habit of eating khesab dates as a snack or as part of a meal.

Summary

Khesab dates are one of many varieties of dates. They are slightly smaller than other date varieties, but they are especially high in phenolics, a powerful type of antioxidant. Because they are high in phenolics and other antioxidants, they are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases. Khesab dates can be enjoyed as a snack or cooked into a meal.

Scientific Information

  • Insoluble fiber – a type of dietary fiber that adds bulk to the stool and helps move food more quickly through the digestive tract

  • Phenolics – a type of antioxidant found in plants, especially fruits and vegetables. They are important in promoting health and preventing disease. 

  • Free radicals – molecules that attack and damage cells in the body

  • Oxidative stress – stress in the body caused by having too many free radicals. Oxidative stress is linked to many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, inflammatory diseases, and some cancers.
Written by:
Lindsay Delk, RD
Registered Dietitian
Reviewed by:
Registered Dietitian

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