Dates grown in the Coachella Valley in California are found to be rich in bioactive compounds that may help maintain a healthy metabolism by using the body’s own natural systems, suggests a new study presented today at the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting in Chicago.
These findings were presented on Sunday, April 23, in the “Dietary Bioactive Components I” section of the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, which is being held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting. Faseb.J. Vol.31, Issue 1 Suppl 646.44.
“Dates are a healthy whole fruit due to the presence of specific compounds called polyphenols. Our work shows that these compounds target receptors known to lower triglyceride levels including FXR and PPARα, which may help to explain the reported triglyceride lowering effect of daily date consumption, previously reported in human subjects,” said Dr. Marie-Louise Ricketts, Ph.D., the lead author of the study. She said that these are novel findings and the first study aimed at investigating the mechanism of action of these bioactive compounds from whole date palm fruit.
FXR and PPARα are members of the nuclear receptor family of transcription factors, and are important in regulating triglyceride homeostasis. It is exciting to find that compounds present within dates are able to activate these receptors, an action which may contribute to the observed triglyceride lowering effect.
Dates are naturally sweet fruits, and are rich in pigments which have been linked to many health benefits. The date phenolic compounds are similar to those found in grape seed extracts which have also been shown to regulate triglyceride levels via these two receptors.
Elevated triglycerides are often associated with excess consumption of refined sugars, as well as a risk factor for metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
“We knew that eating 7 dates a day on a daily basis lowers triglyceride levels, but now through the research conducted by Dr. Ricketts, we are starting to learn more about the potential mechanisms by which this occurs at the cellular level and how the body uses these compounds to maintain a healthy metabolism,” said Rainey, co-author from the Date Research Institute.
This research is exciting because it may help to explain how consumption of dates can contribute to health, despite their high fructose content. American’s typically consume only half of the recommended servings of fruits a day and adding dates to your diet can help replace excess added sugars. Dates have a high sugar content, but have a low Glycemic Index of 41. They contain plenty of nutrients and are a good source of copper and dietary fibers, as well as potassium, B-Vitamins and 7 other minerals.
The Date Extract used in these studies was produced by Christian Krueger and Jess Reed at Complete Phytochemical Solutions, who are co-authors of the study along with Emilia Alfaro-Viquez from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who characterized the compounds present in the date extract. Additional details regarding the characterization will be presented on Tuesday April 25, 1 pm, Experimental Biology 2017.
Funding for this study was provided by the California Date Commission. The funders had no role in study design, experimentation, data analysis or decision to prepare and present the findings.
Media contact: Charlene Rainey (949) 497-6066 charlenejrainey(at)gmail(dot)com Date Research Institute