Dates are the edible and sweet fruit from the date palm. The tree probably first grew in Egypt and/or Mesopotamia, and individuals in the Middle East and the Indus River Valley have been eating dates for thousands of years. There are many types of dates, and they all have a single pit. Ripe dates can range from yellow to red, depending on the type. They similarly vary in length; some varieties are nearly three inches long. Dates can be eaten fresh or dried; most individuals in the United States eat dried dates. Dates can be pitted and stuffed with ground nuts, cream cheese, or marzipan. They can also be used in baking, and they can be made into vinegar or alcohol.
A 3.5-ounce (one hundred grams) serving of dates contains roughly seven grams of fiber, and fiber can help prevent constipation. It does so by helping the digestive tract form stools. The World Journal of Gastroenterology described a 2012 study in which researchers analyzed earlier studies of the effects of fiber on constipation. They found dates and other sources of fiber caused the participants to have more regular bowel movements. Fiber also makes individuals feel full longer, so they are less likely to overeat. One-quarter cup of dates provides twelve percent of an individual's recommended daily intake of fiber.