Much has been written on the health benefits of dates and there is now scientific evidence for much of the traditional folklore surrounding these benefits. Date fruit pulp is rich in phytochemicals, naturally occurring bio-active nutrients, and antioxidant activity, namely carotenoids, phenolic acid, phytoestrogens and polysterols.
In other words, more vitamins and minerals than your typical sugar or sweetener.
Including dates in finished products can contribute towards clean and clear labels with claims such as 100% natural, refined sugar free, no added sugar, high fibre, raw, and can be reflected in shorter ingredient declaration which is what consumers are looking for.
Dates have a high sweetness index and as they are sweeter than sugar less can be used contributing to sugar reduction. Containing only naturally occurring sugars, dates as an ingredient can help develop a clean and clear label with sugar related claims such as: refined sugar free, no added sugar, reduced sugar and low sugar. They can also add flavour and colour without the need for added colours and flavours, thus creating a clear ingredient label.
Dates are naturally high in fibre with each 100g serving providing 27% of the RDA for an adult female. With health guidelines encouraging consumers to eat less sugar and more fibre, dates can aid product development to meet these needs. They have also been shown to have a GI index below 55 classing them as a low GI food.
There is a growing trend towards a plant based diet. Dates are a natural, non cooked fruit which add binding, sweetening, colour and flavour benefits and are the perfect base for raw, plant based product development.
Our body produces antioxidants to defend itself and neutralise or mop up free radicals. We can help this process by increasing our dietary intake of antioxidants.
What makes dates special is their distinctive blend of minerals that act as a metabolic catalyst, helping turn the delicious sugars into energy.
In addition, research has linked dates to antimutagenic activity, reduction of high blood pressure, antibacterial and antifungal effects, anti-inflammation and gastrointestinal protective activity.