What is Date Fruit?
Phoenix dactylifera, commonly known as date or date palm, is a flowering plant species in the palm family, Arecaceae, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Although its place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, it probably originated from the Fertile Crescent region straddling between Egypt and Mesopotamia. The species is widely cultivated across Northern Africa, Middle East and South Asia, and is naturalized in many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. P. dactylifera is the type species of genus Phoenix, which contains 12–19 species of wild date palms, and is the major source of commercial production.
Date trees typically reach about 21–23 metres (69–75 ft) in height, growing singly or forming a clump with several stems from a single root system. Date fruits (dates) are oval-cylindrical, 3–7 cm (1.2–2.8 in) long, and about an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, ranging from bright red to bright yellow in color, depending on variety. They are very sweet, containing about 75 percent of sugar when dried.
Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in Arabia from the 6th millennium BCE. The total annual world production of dates amounts to 8.5 million metric tons, countries of the Middle East and North Africa being the largest producers.
The benefits of dates include relief from constipation, intestinal disorders, heart problems, anemia, sexual dysfunctions, diarrhea, abdominal cancer, and many other conditions. Dates also help for a healthy weight gain. They are rich in several vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These delicious fruits contain oil, calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium, which are all beneficial for health. Some health specialists have said that eating one date per day is necessary for a balanced and healthy diet.
The massive health benefits of dates have made them one of the best ingredients for muscle development. People consume them in several ways, such as mixing the paste of the dates with milk and yogurt or as a bread spread for a delicious and healthy breakfast. The paste is beneficial for both adults and children, especially during a time of recovery from injury or illness.
According to a modern medical survey, it is now accepted that dates are useful in preventing abdominal cancer. People who follow Islam and observe fastings, break their fast by eating them along with water. This also helps avoid overeating of food once the fast is over. When the body begins to absorb the high nutritional value of the dates, feelings of hunger are pacified. Also, the nervous system can get a lot of help from consuming them, since they have significant amounts of potassium.
Dates are one of the best sweet and versatile foods that can regulate the digestive process. They can significantly boost energy levels in people within half an hour of consumption. The American Cancer Society recommends an intake of 20-35 grams of dietary fiber per day, which can be supplied through dates. It is also said that taking one date per day will help you maintain eye health all your life. They are commonly known to be quite effective in guarding against the problem of night blindness.
Dates contain oil, calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, magnesium, vitamin B6 and fiber. They have many health benefits which includes aids in digestion, heart health, reduces cancer risk , treats/ prevents anemia among others.
History Of Dates
Fossil records show that the date palm has existed for at least 50 million years. Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in eastern Arabia between 5530 and 5320 calBC.They are believed to have originated around what is now Iraq, and have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians used the fruits to make date wine, and ate them at harvest.
There is archeological evidence of date cultivation in Mehrgarh around 7000 BCE, a Neolithic civilization in what is now western Pakistan. Evidence of cultivation is continually found throughout later civilizations in the Indus Valley, including the Harappan period 2600 to 1900 BCE.
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In Ancient Rome the palm fronds used in triumphal processions to symbolize victory were most likely those of Phoenix dactylifera.The date palm was a popular garden plant in Roman peristyle gardens, though it would not bear fruit in the more temperate climate of Italy. It is recognizable in frescoes from Pompeii and elsewhere in Italy, including a garden scene from the House of the Wedding of Alexander.
In later times, traders spread dates around South West Asia, northern Africa, and Spain. Dates were introduced into Mexico and California by the Spaniards in 1765, around Mission San Ignacio. A date palm cultivar, probably what used to be called Judean date palm, is renowned for its long-lived orthodox seed, which successfully sprouted after accidental storage for 2000 years. The upper survival time limit of properly stored seeds remains unknown.
Types of Dates
There are several varieties of dates depending upon the cultivars. Some of the popular varieties of dates include the following:
1. Medjool: This variety has its origin in Morocco. These are large and extremely delicious with a rich toffee-like flavor.
2. Barhi: This variety is native to Basra in Iraq. These are round and mild amber to darkish brown in color (on ripening). They are gentle with thicker flesh and luxurious taste.
3. Halawy: This variety is native to Iraq. These areincredibly sweet and small to moderate in size.
4. Dayri: Also known as the Monastery Date, these dates are lengthy, slim, black in color and gentle.
5. Deglet Noor: This is one of the best varieties available in Algeria and Tunisia. These are semi dry and not so sweet. They are mostly used in cooking.
6. Saidy: These are extremely popular in Libya and extremely sweet. They are mostly grown in hot weather conditions.
7. Maktoom: This variety is huge, thick skinned and reddish brown in color. They are gentle and moderately sweet.
8. Hayani: They are substantially grown in Egypt. These are gentle and dark red to black in color.
9. Migraf: Also known as Mejraf, they are popular in Southern Yemen because of their excellent quality. These are large and golden amber in color.
10. Iteema: This variety is native to Algeria and is extremely sweet. These are big, oblong in shape and mild amber in color.
Don’t just go by the size of the fruit. Dates are tiny powerhouses when it comes to health benefits. Make this delicious fruit a part of your daily diet and nourish your health and beauty!
Nutritional Value of Dates
Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals. It’s also a good source of energy, sugar, and fiber. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc can be found in them. They also contain vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
Nutritional Facts Of Dates
|PRINCIPLE||NUTRIENT VALUE||PERCENTAGE OF RDA|
|Total Fat||0.15 g||<1%|
|Dietary Fiber||6.7 g||18%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.805 mg||16%|
|Vitamin C||0 mg||0%|
|Vitamin K||2.7 µg||2%|
Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 282
- Fat 0.4 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 2 mg
- Potassium 656 mg – 18% RDA
- Carbohydrate 75 g – 25% RDA
- Dietary fiber 8 g – 32% RDA
- Sugar 63 g
- Protein 2.5 g – 5% RDA
- Calcium 3% RDA
- Iron 5% RDA
- Vitamin B-6 10% RDA
- Magnesium 10% RDA
Proteins and Fat:
Dates are low in proteins and fat but high in sugars, which mainly comprise of fructose and glucose. Date seeds have a higher content of fat (9 grams/100 grams) and protein (5.1 grams/ 100 grams) in comparison to the flesh.
Dates are moderate sources of vitamin A with 100 grams serving providing 149 International Units (IU) of this vitamin. They also contain adequate levels of B complex vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B6), niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin as well as vitamin K.
Dates are a rich source of minerals like selenium, copper, potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium and iron. They contain abundant amounts of potassium with 100 grams serving providing 696 mg or 16% of the daily recommended levels of this electrolyte. They are also an excellent source of iron, providing 0.90 mg in 100 grams serving which is 11% of the recommended daily intake.
Calories, Protein and Fat
Dried fruit, such as dates, contain more calories in a smaller volume than fresh fruit because a large amount of water has been removed. Eating just two small dates, which average about 1 to 2 inches long, gives you 133 calories. Be mindful of your portion size because it’s easy to overeat these sweet fruits, which may lead to weight gain over time. However, they are a fat-free food, making them a good alternative to high-fat desserts when trying to limit your daily fat intake. As with most fruits, dates are not a good source of protein with less than 1 gram per serving.
Most of the calories in dates come from the carbohydrates they contain. You’ll get 36 grams of total carbohydrate from eating two dates. Three of these grams come from dietary fiber, which helps regulate digestion and may aid in lowering cholesterol. Sugar accounts for 32 grams of the total carbohydrate in dates. Even though these are natural sugars found in fruit, dates are still considered a high-sugar food. You can use them to sweeten desserts or eat them to satisfy a sweet craving. If you have diabetes or problems with blood sugar control, be careful not to overeat dates.
Dates contain small amounts of almost every essential mineral. The ones of note are potassium, manganese and copper, which are present at 8 to 10 percent of the daily value. Your body relies on potassium to regulate fluid balance, heart beat, blood pressure and nerve impulses. Copper is used for the synthesis of connective tissues and helps maintain proper brain and red blood cell function. Manganese plays a part in forming bones, blood clotting factors and sex hormones, regulating energy metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar level and maintaining brain and nerve function.
If you are looking to boost your potassium intake, pile on the dates. Your body needs this essential mineral for normal body growth, to build proteins and muscle, to metabolize carbohydrates and to control your acid-base balance. The RDI for potassium is 4,700 milligrams per day for adults and 5,100 milligrams for nursing mothers. A cup of chopped Deglet Noor dates contains 964 milligrams, or 20.5 percent of the RDI for adults.
Magnesium aids protein synthesis, blood glucose control and muscle and nerve function in your body, and it helps regulate blood pressure. Men aged 19 to 30 require 400 milligrams per day, while males 31 and above require an additional 20 milligrams daily. Women of the same age groups require 310 milligrams and 320 milligrams, respectively. Pregnant mothers need more magnesium, and they should consult a doctor to determine their body needs at different stages of pregnancy. Consuming a cup of chopped dates provides your body with 63 milligrams of magnesium. That amounts to at least 15 percent of the RDI for men and 20 percent for women.
Dates are an excellent source of dietary fiber, providing 11.8 grams per cup. Your digestive system requires dietary fiber to function well. Though not considered a nutrient, dietary fiber protects you against constipation and can help lower your blood cholesterol. Men between 19 and 50 years of age should aim for 38 grams per day, while men 51 years and older need 30 grams daily. Women in the same age groups require 25 grams and 21 grams, respectively. Pregnant women need 28 grams of dietary fiber daily, while lactating mothers should consume 29 grams. Dates are also a good source of vitamin B-6. A cup of Deglet Noor chopped dates contains 0.24 milligrams, or at least 14 percent of the RDI. Both men and women 19 to 50 years old require 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B-6 per day. Men over 51 require 1.7 milligrams of B-6, while women over 51 should get 1.5 grams daily.
Health Benefits of Date Fruit
1. Strengthens Bones
Dates contain selenium, manganese, copper and magnesium which are essential for strengthening bones and fighting off painful and debilitating diseases like osteoporosis.
2. Treats Anemia
Dates have an impressiv level of iron make them a perfect dietary supplement for people suffering from anemia. The high level of iron in dates balances out the inherent lack of iron in anemic patients, increasing energy and strength while decreasing feelings of fatigue and sluggishness.
3. Cure Allergies
Dates contain organic sulfur which helps in the reduction of allergic reactions and seasonal allergies. According to a study done in 2002, organic sulfur compounds can have a positive impact on the amount of suffering people experience from SAR (Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis)
4. Aids in weight gain
Dates consist of sugar, proteins and many essential vitamins. They also contain calories that are sufficient to meet the daily requirements for a human body. One kilogram of dates contains almost 3,000 calories.
5. Heart Health
Dates contain potassium which is a vasodilator and helps resuce stress on the blood vessels thereby reducing the risk of stroke and other heart-related diseases. Furthermore, they are suggested as a healthy and delicious way to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body, which is a major contributing factor to heart attacks and stroke.
6. Treat Diarrhea
Potassium in dates is effective in controlling diarrhea. They are also easy to digest, which further helps alleviate the unpredictable nature of chronic diarrhea. The soluble fiber in them can also help relieve diarrhea, by providing bulk to the bowel movements and promoting normal, healthy functioning of the excretory system.
7. Maintain Nervous System Health
The vitamins present in dates make it an ideal boost to nervous system health and functionality. Potassium is one of the prime ingredients in promoting a healthy and responsive nervous system, and it also improves the speed and alertness of brain activity. Therefore, they are a wonderful food source for people as they age and their nervous system becomes sluggish or unsupported, as well as for people who want to keep their mind sharp.
8.Treat Intestinal Disorders
The nicotine content in dates is thought to be beneficial for curing many kinds of intestinal disorders. Continuous intake helps inhibit the growth of the pathological organisms and thus, they help stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines. In terms of digestive issues, they contain insoluble and soluble fibers, as well as many beneficial amino acids which can stimulate the digestion of food and make them more efficient, meaning that more nutrients will be absorbed by the digestive tract and enter your body for proper usage.
9. Relieve Constipation
Dates are often categorized as a laxative food. This is why they are so frequently eaten by people suffering from constipation. In order to achieve the desired laxative effect of dates, soak some of them in water overnight, then consume in the morning when they turn into a syrup to get the most optimal results. They have high levels of soluble fiber, which is essential in promoting healthy bowel movements and comfortable passage of food through the intestinal tract, which can relieve the symptoms of constipation.
10. Relieve Intoxication
Dates are commonly used as a remedy for alcoholic intoxication. They provide quick relief and have a sobering effect in case you feel as though you have consumed an uncomfortable amount of alcohol. They can also be used the following morning to prevent severe hangovers. Again, they should be rubbed and soaked overnight for the best results.
11. Promote Weight Gain
Dates should be included as a part of a healthy diet. They consist of sugar, proteins, and many essential vitamins. If dates are consumed with cucumber paste, you can keep your weight at a normal, balanced level, rather than over-slimming. One kilogram of dates contains almost 3,000 calories, and the calories in them are sufficient to meet the daily requirements for a human body. Of course, you should not eat just dates throughout the day. If you are thin and slim and want to increase your weight, or if you are trying to build your muscles to impress some girl, or you have become weak due to a serious medical problem – you need to eat dates!
12. Boost Energy
Dates are high in natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Therefore, they are the perfect snack for an immediate burst of energy. Many people around the world eat dates for a quick afternoon snack when they are feeling lethargic or sluggish. Often when you exercise in a gym, outside or even on a stretching machine at home, you feel exhausted. Chewing few dates at such times helps you regain your energy immediately.
13. Treat Sexual Weakness
Studies have shown that dates are even beneficial for increasing sexual stamina. Soak a handful of dates in fresh goat’s milk overnight, then grind them in the same milk with a mixture of cardamom powder and honey. This mixture becomes a very useful tonic for increasing sexual endurance and reducing sterility caused by various sexual disorders. The science behind this phenomenon is largely due to traditional usage which stimulated formal research. In 2006, Bahmanpour studied the effects of date palms and their oil on sexual functioning and found that the high levels of estradiol and flavonoid components of dates are what increase sperm count and motility, as well as promoting increased testes size and weight. So, if you are looking for a masculine boost, eat some dates, because they are a great natural aphrodisiac!
14. Prevent Night Blindness
The benefits of dates are extensive and are commonly employed to fight off various conditions affecting the ear, nose, and throat. When the leaves of the date palm are ground into a paste and rubbed on and around the eyes, or when they are ingested orally, it has been shown to reduce the frequency of night blindness, and this solution is commonly used in rural areas where dates grow and are used as an alternative medicine.
15. Prevent Abdominal Cancer
Research has pointed towards dates being a legitimate way to reduce the risk and impact of abdominal cancer. They work as a useful tonic for all age groups, and in some cases, they work better than traditional medicines. Since they are natural, they don’t have any negative side effects on the human body. They can be quickly and easily digested for a quick boost of energy.
Although dates carry tremendous nutritional values, great care should be taken in their selection because their surface is very sticky, which attracts various impurities. Therefore, you should only consume the ones that are processed and packaged properly. Also, make sure to wash them thoroughly before eating, as this will help remove the impurities present on the surface.
16. Dental Health
Dates contain fluorine, an important chemical element that inhibits tooth decay by removing plaque as well as strengthening the tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is made up of hydroxypatites which becomes resistant against tooth decay when it comes in contact with fluorine.
Skin Benefits of Date Fruit
The rich nutritional value of dates makes them beneficial for your skin too. Some of the amazing skin care benefits of date palm fruits are given below.
17. Maintenance of Healthy Skin
Red dates are loaded with vitamin C and flavonoids, which can improve the elasticity of your skin and enrich the subcutaneous tissues, thus making your skin tender and smooth. Dates also contain vitamin B5 which helps in preventing skin problems like stretch marks.
18. Anti-ageing Benefits
Dates are a rich source of antioxidants, which can effectively counter the harmful free radicals in the body, thus preventing premature ageing of skin. Vitamin C, in particular, helps to decrease the occurrence of wrinkles by resisting oxidation and preventing the accumulation of melanin inside the human body.
Hair Benefits of Dates
Hair follicles also require adequate nutrition for their proper growth and maintenance. Regular consumption of dates can be beneficial for your hair.
19. Healthy Hair
Dates are abundant in vitamins, particularly vitamin B5, which is vital for the maintenance of healthy hair. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause hair problems like hair loss, brittle hair and split ends. Consumption of dates can help minimize these problems.
20. Help Regulate Cholesterol
One of the effective dates benefits. According to one Israeli study, intake of dates, even by healthy individuals, can have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels and oxidative stress. Dates contain no cholesterol. They are also rich in iron and have more fiber than bananas.
21. Regulates Blood Pressure
Dates are rich in potassium, and the mineral helps lower blood pressure levels. One medjool date contains about 167 mg of potassium, which is relatively high compared to other fruits. Not taking adequate potassium can also lead to kidney stones. One report by the Harvard Medical School discourages the use of drugs for blood pressure. Though certain drugs work well, they might not solve the exact problem. And they also have side effects.
Fiber also stabilizes blood sugar levels. It also counterbalances the effects of sodium in your diet – and this lowers blood pressure. The magnesium in the fruit relaxes the muscles in your heart and blood vessels, consequently reducing blood pressure.
22. Promote Brain Health
Dates have been found to offer protection against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Regular consumption of dates and similar fruits has been linked to a lowered risk of neurodegenerative diseases and better cognitive performances in older individuals. Another study has concluded that supplementation of date fruits has the potential to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. Another Oman study says that dates can help prevent inflammation in the brain.
How to eat dates
Dry or soft dates can be eaten right off the tree. You can also take out the pit and stuff the dates with fillings like:
- cream cheese
Dates can also be chopped or thrown into a food processor for use in a range of:
- sweet appetizers
- savory meat dishes
Dates also taste amazing wrapped in bacon or prosciutto and served as a salty sweet appetizer. Here are some other recipe ideas for dates.
- Want chocolate brownies? These guilt-free vegan chocolate date balls are sure to satisfy your craving.
- If you’re looking for a go-to side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner, try sweetening up some roasted butternut squash with dates and walnuts for a twist on a traditional dish.
- A medjool date and coffee protein shake is an excellent way to shake up your post-workout snack.
- If you are looking for a creative dinner, look no further than this recipe for date-stuffed chicken with nuts.
- One of the best and most versatile uses for dates is in a date bar, a healthy alternative to your everyday snack.
- Combine all of your favorite ingredients into a no-bake snack with these toasted coconut, date, and nut bars.
- For a decadent and creamy breakfast, try this simple recipe for creamy date porridge. With little change to the taste, you can leave out the brown sugar to avoid the added sugar.
Dates can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to six months.
Where to Find & How to Use Medjool Dates
Medjool dates can be found in your local grocery store in the fresh and/or dried fruit aisle. Dried Medjool dates are also likely to be found at your nearest health store, often in the bulk section, which will give you the greatest amount of dried dates for the lowest price. I even found dried Medjool dates in my local pharmacy in the food aisle recently!
Medjool dates come with the pit inside of them because the fruit is too soft to put in a mechanical pitter. While having to deal with pits is not ideal, the pit can be removed very easily. Simply make a small, lengthwise slice into the date with a knife, pull out the pit and that’s it — you have a delicious Medjool date ready for consumption! It’s also extremely easy to remove the pit with your fingers.
The sticky texture of Medjool dates makes them excellent for binding ingredients together whether you’re making a granola bar or tart crust. Need a kick of natural sweetness in your next smoothie or energy drink? Forget the agave nectar and toss a couple of Medjool dates into the mix.
Medjool dates can also make a delicious appetizer or snack when stuffed with various ingredients like goat cheese. Since Medjool dates don’t need to be refrigerated, they make a perfect tasty and healthy addition to a gift basket alongside some nuts, dark chocolate and other dried fruit.
Last but not least, when Medjool dates are made into a paste, they become an awesome, nutrient-dense sugar substitute. Date paste can be used one-to-one in most recipes, unlike stevia, and it adds bulk for baking.
How to make date paste:
- Soak Medjool dates in hot water until soft. If the water reaches room temperature and the dates aren’t soft enough, soak in hot water again.
- Reserve the soaking liquid, as it’s integral to making a good paste!
- Add the soaked dates to your food processor, along with one tablespoon of the soaking liquid. Blend until smooth. Add more water as needed to create a thick rich paste.
- You’re looking for the consistency of peanut butter. Use the paste in your favorite cookie or cake recipe to cut out refined sugar and boost the nutrients. You can also use date paste to sweeten your favorite muffins and pies.
How To Eat Dates
So what about the cooking uses of dates? Well, we don’t have any one single best way to take dates. But we have numerous great ones!
- You can take them as a stuffed snack. Remove the pits and include dates with walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pecans for a delightful snack.
- You can also mix diced dates with your breakfast cereal.
- Wrap dates with tuna or chicken salad and other vegetables.
- You can dice dates and serve them along with frozen vanilla yogurt.
- The simplest – enjoy dates as they are.
- You can also soak dates (the dry ones) to rehydrate them, and then eat them. And date syrup works well too. It has antibacterial properties that, as per certain studies, are more effective than those of honey.
Fresh Dates Vs Dried Dates
What is the difference?
Fresh dates are soft, and dry dates, well, are harder. They contain less moisture than fresh dates.
Then, we have dried dates, which could be fresh as well. These are fresh soft dates that are deliberately dried over a period.
From a nutritional standpoint, though there is no big difference between fresh dates and dry dates, there is some difference between fresh dates and dried dates.
Dried dates have double the amount of carbohydrates than fresh dates. They are also a better source of fiber. Dried dates also contain higher levels of calcium and iron, but fresh dates win in vitamin C.
You can consume dates any way you want. Or you can try this wonderful recipe.
Popular Date Recipe
- Whole milkshake
- A handful of good quality dates
Mix the two ingredients. You can also add walnuts, cashews, and almonds to make it more nutritious.
Selection And Storage Of Dates
- Dates are generally sold whole, packaged in narrow boxes, or pressed into blocks.
- While buying fresh dates, look for plump, moist, and unbruised fruits that are soft with glossy skins.
- Fresh dates can be slightly wrinkled, but they should not feel hard and have crystallized sugar on their skins.
- Fresh and dried dates have a similar appearance, except that dried dates are a little wrinkly.
- They should look plump and glossy and have an even color.
- Fresh dates, when kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, can be stored for up to 6 months.
- Dried dates, having a longer shelf life, can be stored in the same manner for up to 1 year.
- Freezing the dates extends their lifespan when kept in an airtight plastic bag or container.
Negative Effects Of Dates
Can Increase Blood Sugar Level
High consumption of dates is not at all beneficial for the people suffering from diabetes because of their high calorific value and high sugar.Eating a quarter cup of chopped dates provides around 24 grams of carbohydrates and 105 calories of energy. Dates are a rich source of natural sugars like glucose,fructose and sucrose and their glycemic index is 103 which is even higher than that of glucose.
The high glycemic index indicates that when dates are consumed then they can cause a sharp increase in the blood sugar level of our body and this can worsen the situation of the person suffering from diabetes. So, if you are suffering from diabetes then it is better for you to restrict your date intake to one a day. Moderate consumption of dates is advisable even to the healthy individuals who are not suffering from diabetes.
Might cause Tooth Decay
Dates are a good source of fluorine which is very beneficial for our teeth as it strengthens our tooth enamel and prevents our teeth from the tooth decay. This makes dates very beneficial for our oral health . However, it is important to note that dates are not so good for our teeth. Dates are rich in sugar and carbohydrates which are well known for triggering teeth decay and give rise to cavities.
The best way to protect our teeth from the decay is to gargle your mouth with warm saline ( salt dissolved in water) and brush your teeth, as soon as you finish eating dates. This will help in removing sugar and carbohydrates from sticking to the surface of teeth and will thus keep bacteria away and prevents your teeth from decay. Although gargling and brushing help in keeping bacteria away but still it is better to avoid high consumption of dates as high sugar level also harms our teeth.
Can Lead To Weight Gain
Using dates for the weight loss program is controversial. They are a good source of dietary fibers which helps in keeping us satisfied for a longer time, decreases our urge to eat again and again and thus controls overeating which is a major cause of weight gain. However, they are also high in calories which means eating dates for the weight loss program can do more harm than the good, but this mainly happens when we start eating dates in excess quantity.
If you are on a weight loss journey and still want to enjoy dates then it is better to limit your dates intake to 2-3 dates per week. This will help you in enjoying all the health benefits of dates without worrying about the excessive weight gain. Other than this, the high sugar level present in dates also gives rise to weight gain. Although the sugar present in dates are natural but their excess is bad.
Could Worsen Diarrhea
Dates are used as a natural remedy for providing relief from diarrhea.This benefit of dates is a benefit only when you are eating dates in moderation as eating too many dates can worsen the condition of the person suffering from diarrhea, and give rise to dehydration and uneasiness.
So, if you are suffering from diarrhea then it is better to avoid eating dates. They are also high in dietary fibers which loose stools and ensure proper elimination of waste out of the body. Eating high fiber fruit at the time of diarrhea is not at a good idea.
Too Much Potassium Is Bad
Dates are a good source of a number of nutrients like proteins,vitamins,minerals etc. and all these nutrients provides a lot of benefits to our body. Our body needs them for various function and they help in keeping our body healthy. However, the excess of these nutrients is bad and there are some negative effects associated with it. For example, potassium present in dates is a vital nutrient that provides a lot of benefits like lowers blood sugar, keep our nervous system healthy, provides cardiovascular benefits,aids in metabolism and so on, but intake of too much potassium is bad and can give rise to extreme fatigue, feeling of numbness,nausea or vomiting, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, irregular heartbeat etc. It can even increase the risk of hyperkalemia. Because of this reason, it is advised to eat dates in moderate quantity.
Can Cause Abdominal Pain And Abdominal Cramping
Dates are very beneficial for our stomach and help in keeping our digestive system healthy because of the presence of a number of nutrients and dietary fibers in them. However, the excess of dates is bad and consuming too many dates may give rise to severe irritation in our tummy, followed by intense abdominal cramps and deep abdominal pain.
Can Cause Bloating
Consuming dates along with water is bad as it can trigger bloating. Till now,no one knows the actual reason behind this but studies have suggested that the reason for bloating may be due to the formation of gas due to the interaction between high sugar levels of dates and water. It is also suggested ( traditionally) to avoid drinking water immediately after eating dates as it can cause a cough. If you are about to enjoy dates and are also feeling thirsty at that time then it is better to drink water first and then enjoy your dates.
Congestion And Heaviness In Chest And Lungs
It has been reported that some people get heaviness and congestion like feeling in the lungs as well as in the chest when they eat fresh dates. The actual reason behind this chest and lung congestion are unknown but it is believed to be due to the coarse nature of these fruits. If you experience any kind of heaviness and congestion in your chest and lung, after eating dates then it is advisable to reach your doctor immediately so that situation doesn’t get worse.
It has been reported that there are certain individuals who are allergic to green dates as green dates create an obstruction in their intestines. Although there is no serious side effect associated with this but on a safe side, it is better to avoid eating green dates and also limit the intake of ripe dates.
Might Cause Allergic Reaction In Some Individuals
Although dates are loaded with vitamins,minerals,antioxidants etc. and provides a lot of health and beauty benefits, but still they are not suitable for certain individuals who are allergic to dates. These people are advised to avoid eating dates in all circumstances and also avoid using it for skin and hair care. Some of the common allergic reactions of dates are itching skin, redness, hives on the skin, itching and redness on corners of mouth and tongue, difficulty in breathing, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness.
Dangerous Wax Coating
Have you ever noticed the attractive glossy shine of dates ? Well, this glossy shine is because of the fact that certain dates supplying brands use a wax coating on dates. This makes them look attractive and shiny and helps in increasing the sale of these dates. This is good for these brands but not for us as the wax used for the coating contain various toxic ingredients and intake of this wax coating could upset our stomach and leave us feeling nauseated. If you are eating wax coated dates for a prolong time then the situation can be life threatening too.
Might Cause Constipation
The dietary fiber present in dates is very beneficial for our stomach and helps in keeping our digestive system healthy. It regulates bowel movement and ensures proper elimination of waste out of the body and thus provide relief from constipation. If you are suffering from constipation then you can eat some dates to get rid of constipation.However, an excess of fiber is bad can give rise to constipation ( or worsen the condition of constipation) as the dietary fibers absorb water from our body and make our stool dry and it becomes difficult for our body to excrete it properly.
If you are eating high fiber rich diet then you should also increase your water. And, when it comes to drinking water at the time of eating dates, then it is advisable to drink water after about half an hour of eating dates. Excess of fiber is bad also because it can cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea, malabsorption, intestinal gas etc. (source).
Not So Suitable For Infants Children Under One Year Age
No matter how beneficial dates are for our health but still it is not advisable to feed dates to children below one year age. This is because the digestive system is not so well developed at this young age and infants don’t possess the power to digest heavy fiber present in dates.
It is advised to not to give dates to infants and even if you do make sure that infants drink quite a good amount of fluids and intake of dates is limited to one or two dates. Increasing fluid intake is important as otherwise high fiber content of dates will harden the stool of infants and will give rise to constipation,abdominal pain, cramping etc.
Eating Dates During Pregnancy
Dates are loaded with a number of nutrients like vitamins,minerals,dietary fibers, antioxidants etc. and presence of these compounds make them very beneficial for pregnant women. Eating dates) during pregnancy is good but if you do this then make sure that you are eating high-quality dates and there is no wax coating over them. Also, limit your dates intake to a moderate level as high consumption of dates can give rise to abdominal cramp, constipation, flatulence, bloating etc.
Can Hamper Absorption Of Nutrients
We all know the importance of vitamins and minerals in our body but what if something interferes with the absorption of these nutrients in our body ? The dietary fiber present in dates does the same.
As per a study conducted at the Colorado State University, it was found that dietary fibers present in dates binds with the nutrients like vitamins and minerals present in our body and thus result in the elimination of these essential vitamins and minerals from our body in the form of feces. This interferes with the absorption of nutrients by our body and increases the risk of malnutrition. However, there is no need to worry as this side effect is quite minimal and triggers only if you are eating dates in a very large quantity. Moderate consumption of dates ( and intake of dietary fiber) is good.
Side Effects Of Dates On Blood Sugar Levels And Dental Health
First, blood sugar levels. Dates, as they taste sweet, are thought to affect blood sugar levels. However, there is no solid research to support this. Certain studies state that dates can instead lower blood sugar levels and even aid in diabetes treatment. This is possibly because though dates contain natural sugars, they have a low glycemic index, and hence may not pose a threat.
There also is no substantial research stating the ill effects of dates on dental health. However, do consult your doctor in these cases. And talking about pregnancy and breastfeeding, dates are a healthy option. One study suggests that taking dates during the last 4 weeks before labor produced a more favorable delivery outcome. But then, ensure you don’t take dates higher than the recommended amounts – as we don’t know what might happen in that case.