Israeli Dates Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease, Study Shows
All nine varieties of dates grown in Israel and found on any supermarket shelf have characteristics that make them better than other varieties at helping protect those who consume them against cardiovascular diseases.
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The research was published in the prestigious Journal of Agriculture Food Chemistry.
Aviram and his team, including Dr. Hamutal Borochov-Neori of Southern Arava Research and Development, have been studying the health benefits of dates for some time.
The most effective varieties are the yellow Barhi, Deri, Medjool and Halawi. The other date varieties are Amari, Deglet, Noor, Hadrawi and Hayani.
There are about 20 date varieties growing in various parts of the world, including North Africa and Arizona in the US, but the Israeli varieties growing in the Jordan Valley and the Arava (and in Jericho in the Palestinian Authority) are the best, said Aviram.
Aviram told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that it doesn’t matter if dates are eaten fresh or dried, but consuming silan – date syrup – can offer little improvement to healthy cardiovascular systems.
As silan is a sweet concentrate that does not contain fibers, it is far from the real thing.
A study the researchers published in the same journal four years ago showed that eating three dates a day does not raise blood sugar levels in healthy people, but it does reduce blood triglycerides and even “improves the quality” of blood cholesterol by reducing its oxidation. These effects reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and other vascular diseases, they said.
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Aviram said, however, that since dates contain a lot of sugar, they are not recommended for diabetics, and that they will not reduce blood sugar levels in this group.
He said that eating a small amount of pomegranate may slightly reduce blood sugar in diabetics but is not recommended as a regular regimen.