If you go by the Nutrition Facts panel of an ordinary package of dates, they look more like sugar bombs than a healthy snack. But are they really as nutritionally valid as these the claims on their labels? Not by a long shot, dates could be one of the most powerful food.
When we apply the complementary lenses of modern scientific investigation and ancient wisdom, dates begin to look like both a holy- and a super-food of immense value.
Dates, of course, are in the palm tree family, and along with coconut and red palm, are some of the oldest cultivated plants known in the historical record; in fact, they are so old we don’t know where they first originated. They have provided life-sustaining nutrition in regions that are often sparse in edible resources, and are increasingly being researched as a powerful medicinal food that could reduce much suffering in malnourished and disease prone populations, especially in underdeveloped countries.
Even while scientific analysis of dates are beginning to reveal that they are actually densely packed with a wide range of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids, it should be emphasized that they are not just sources of energy and material building blocks for our body. They are also sources of biologically valuable (perhaps indispensably so) information. We can not analytically decompose a food into the minerals, vitamins, and macronutrients (e.g. lipids, fats, and protein), that we believe are responsible for its nourishing and life-sustaining properties, without losing quite a lot in the process. Foods contain hundreds, if not thousands, of physiologically important biomolecules, together which modulate the expression of thousands of genes in our body, as well as affecting our microbiome.
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If dates, which are a food type (namely, fruit) we co-evolved with for quite some time, are more than just a package of mainly simple carbohydrate (half fructose/half glucose) and mineral quantities of alphabetic vitamins and minerals, but also possess gene-regulatory energy and information, shouldn’t it perform a number of therapeutic effects? Indeed, the research now bears testimony to exactly this fact.
This ancient food may be one of the most powerful food!