Date fruit: Dates, strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, peaches, raspberries, mangoes and mangoes are good sources of protein and iron, and have some of the best antioxidants in the world, according to new research.
However, dates, berries and peaches are also low in carbohydrates, have few vitamins and minerals, and contain high levels of sugar.
Dates, berries, peach, apricots, nectarine and grapes are good options for people with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and they have the highest levels of dietary fibre.
Nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D, copper and zinc are found in the skins and leaves of dates, dates fruit and dates fruit snacks, as well as fruits and vegetable oils, fruit drinks, nuts and seeds.
A few vegetables, like lettuce, carrots and cauliflower, also contain some vitamins and trace minerals.
Al Jazeera’s Mark Lowenweather, reporting from Washington DC, says there are also some vegetables that have a more limited nutritional value, like carrots and celery, which have lower amounts of calcium and iron.
Lowenwalter says a good source of vitamin B 12 is dates.
“You get a little bit of vitamin D in a couple of dates,” he said.
“But you also get some vitamin B6.
That’s a little more than the equivalent amount of vitamin A in a can of peas.”
Other nutrients, like vitamin A, folate, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc and riboflavin are found more in the leaves and berries.
“So that’s the one thing that makes a big difference,” he added.
Alvaro Dominguez, a nutritionist at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, says the best sources of nutrients include raw, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
“A lot of people say they want fruit, they want vegetables, they’re not going to get the nutrients that they need,” he says.
“The ones that they do get, they’ll eat as much as they need.”
Domingues says the biggest difference between dates and other foods is that they are often cooked, rather than boiled or ground into a powder.
“They’re not necessarily a source of fibre,” he explained.
“For people with type 2 diabetes, a lot of them may have some fibre, but they’ll also have a lot less fibre.”
Lowen said dates are a good option for people who are not diabetic, but are at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, or who are overweight or obese.
Aljazeera’s Mark Landler reports from Washington, DC.