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Dates : Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

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By NS Desk 06-Nov-2020

Dates health benefits

Dates are edible fruit sweet in taste with an ample amount of both macro and micronutrients. They are extremely carbohydrates rich and contain traces of minerals like potassium, manganese, and iron proffering various medicinal properties to dates. It is commonly known as khajur or Date palm.

High fibre contents of Dates prevent constipation and hence improved digestion index of the stomach. Rich in calcium and magnesium, Dates also improve the bone density and makes human bones healthier and stronger. Diabetic patients also use dates as an alternative to the normal sugar, for it has a low glycemic index, which prevents the sudden rise of blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. Dates proclaim anti-oxidant properties helping the body to combat various health issues and problems. It improves mental health and enhances the memory power. Anti-oxidants property also provides smooth textured skin preventing aging and wrinkles. Anaemic patients, too, can improve their haemoglobin level as dates have traces of iron content, which is useful for the anaemia.

Dates are very useful and healthy; however, Ayurveda says that excessive consumption of the fruit should be avoided as they are heavy (Guru) and difficult to digest.

What are the other names of Date?

Date, a wonderfully sweet fruit, is popularly known as khajur in India and neighboring countries.  It is also known as Date palm in some parts of the world. The scientific name of dates, phoenix dactylifera, is originated from Greece. The other names associated with the dates are Phoenix dactylifera and khaji.

Benefits of dates for health and body

Dates are very beneficial for health. Here are some wonderful benefits of dates: -

●       Beneficial for diabetes: - Dates are rich in bioactive compounds and have anti-diabetic properties. The low glycemic index of dates does not increase the blood sugar level steadily and is good for diabetic patients.

●       Helps in maintaining good health: - Dates are extremely nutritious and contain carbohydrates, proteins, dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. It also contains some phytochemicals and prevents a lot of diseases.

●       Good for heart: - Anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, antilipidemic, and cardioprotective properties aids cardio health and strengthen the heart muscles.

●       Helps in maintaining kidney health: - Dates have melatonin, vitamin – E, ascorbic acid, and antioxidants, which might be beneficial for kidney health. Science says that dates have a nephron protective effect and reduces the creatinine and urea level.

●       Beneficial for high blood pressure: - Anti-hypertensive properties of dates manage high blood pressure. Rich in dietary fibre, sodium, and potassium, dates lowers the blood pressure.

●       Manages sleep: - Potent sedative effect of dates enhances the sleep cycle. It reduces the insomniac effect and prolongs sleep duration. It reduces sleep fall time and helps in having a sound sleep. 

●       Lowers high cholesterol and high blood pressure level: - Dates help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It is rich in fibre and is free from fats and cholesterol constituents. Lowering the plasma triglycerides, cholesterol, and lipoproteins, it reduces the risk of high blood pressure. It also contains enough amount of sodium.

●       Boosts brain health: - Dates are rich in anti-oxidants and hence protect the neurological cells from damaging. All the diseases related to the brain like Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease (HD), and dementia. It also improves memory retention.

●       Reduces fine lines and wrinkles: - Dates are good anti-aging fruit. It contains certain anti-oxidants and regenerative properties that combat the fine lines. Moreover, the skin's smooth texture can be achieved by applying the paste of dates with milk or rose water. It also moisturizes the skin.

 

Treating diseases/health problems using Dates

We will be dealing with the uses of Dates in treatments methods of different diseases from scientific and Ayurvedic point of view:

●       Constipation

Science

Ayurveda

Dates, rich in fibre, help to combat constipation. Moreover, the amount of sucrose and phenolic compounds in dates stimulate the gastrointestinal activities. It also increases the intestinal transition time that can be defined as the travel time of food from the stomach to the intestines.

 

Any fluctuation in Vata Dosha is the cause of constipation in a person. Vata Dosha is increased in anyone due to improper food /sleep habits and excessive consumption of caffeine. Dates possess Vata balancing properties and laxative or Rechana properties removing the dryness of the intestine. In turn, the stool becomes heavy, resulting in easy excretion.

●         Sore Throat

Science

Ayurveda

As per the scientific study, there are certain components in Dates which are extremely astringent. Hence, it is also useful for curing and managing sore throat.

 

Ayurveda claims that Dates have some Kapha balancing properties along with Kashaya or astringent properties. As a result, dates are good for sore throat.

●         Bone health

Science

Ayurveda

Dates contain a high amount of minerals like magnesium, copper, calcium, selenium, and manganese, which collectively improve bone health, making them stronger and healthier.

 

According to Ayurvedic studies, dates have Balya or strength, providing properties and Madhur or sweet properties. Dates providing a lot of nutrition to the bones help in improving its health.

●         Nervous disorders

Science

Ayurveda

Anti-oxidant properties are high in dates. Hence, it helps in preventing neurological cells from damage. There are many nervous disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and dementia, which are also cured by the consumption of dates.

 

Dates help in strengthening the nervous system and nourish the nerves reducing dryness. Imbalanced Vata Dosha or the nervous system, is responsible for many diseases. The Snigdha and Vata balancing properties together will improve nervous health. Moreover, Dates also show Balya or strength, providing properties, and enhances nervous health.

●         Helps in Weight gain

Science

Ayurveda

As per the modern scientific study, there are not many pieces of evidence and claims for weight increase with the help of dates. Moreover, it also causes a lot of stomach discomfort as it contains high sugar amount.

 

Madhur or sweet and Balya or strength providing properties of dates is responsible for weight gain. The study also shows that the energy level of the body is improved and nourished with Rasa Dhatu. All this together helps in enhancing the body weight.

●         Anemia

Science

Ayurveda

Due to the presence of essential minerals, including iron, dates prevent the anaemia. Moreover, the Date with its mineral composition reduces the anaemic symptoms too.

 

Ayurvedic properties of Date like Madhur/ sweet manages the anaemia as it improves the body's haemoglobin level. It is observed that dates increase the Rasa and Rakta Dhatu in the body, which helps prevent anaemia.

●         Sexual Dysfunction

Science

Ayurveda

Science claims that Date helps in maintaining the reproductive health in men and reduces the sexual dysfunction risk. Various chemical components help form sperm by the process of spermatogenesis and balance testosterone, which is the male sexual hormone. Many shreds of evidence also claim that dates help in regulating aphrodisiac activity.

 

Dates are rich in their Vrishya or aphrodisiac, which reduces the risk of sexual dysfunction and enhances men's sexual health.

●         Cough

Science

Ayurveda

Modern science is deprived of enough evidence showing the role of dates in managing cough; however, it might be useful for the same.

 

In Ayurveda, cough or Kapha disorders are the same. Accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tract causes cough. Dates consumption help in removing the mucus from the track as it is full of Kapha balancing properties. Enhanced immunity and control in cough and cold are also done with the help of dates.

Soak the dates overnight and eat them early morning that too empty stomach.

●         Wrinkles

Science

Ayurveda

Anti-oxidant and anti-aging properties of dates with the phytohormones presence are considered to help reduce the wrinkles and fine lines.

 

Delaying aging signs and controlling wrinkles can be done by the consumption of dates. The increase in Vata dosha is responsible for wrinkles. The Vata balancing properties of dates increase the moisture content of the skin and delay the aging process.

Make a thick paste of dates soaked in milk and apply it with honey for 15-20 minutes on the face. Rinse the face and pat dry. Repeat the process weekly for a healthier and glowing skin

Forms of Dates in Ayurveda with Recommended Dosage

Dates in the Ayurvedic treatment are used in powder, paste, or fruit form. Each of these forms of Dates can create different types of dishes and be consumed in various forms, either with milk or in the dried fruit form. If you have not consulted with your doctor regarding the dosage amount for each Date, you can then follow these dosage recommendations:

●       Dates Powder: 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon of powder twice a day, preferably after lunch and dinner. Dates powder can be mixed with a glass of milk for consumption purposes.

●       Dates fruit: Eat 2-4 pieces of dates, either fruit or in a dried form whenever you feel like.

In case you have consulted with a doctor, then it is advised to stick to their recommended prescriptions.

Types of Ayurvedic Care with Dates

●       Dates Powder

Dates are also available in powder form, which helps treat constipation, related neurological disorders, sexual dysfunctions, etc.

Tips:

As prescribed by your doctor, you can mix the Dates powder in milk for consumption. You can use the Dates powder to make Dates milkshake, laddoo, or even Shrikhand.

●       Dates Milkshake

Dates taken in the form of a milkshake can be an excellent alternative to normal milkshakes, which are devoid of any health benefits. This way, you will not only get closer to a healthy lifestyle without compromising on the taste.

Tips:

-In a pan, soak some dates in milk for some time

-Grind the dates in a mixer to make the paste.

 -Mix this mixture with milk to get a perfect consistency.

-With cold milk, blend them to get a frothy milkshake.

-You can even store it in the refrigerator for future consumption.

-There is no need to add any sugar alternative as dates are already rich in sugar.

●       Dates Ladoo

 

Dates taken as a sweet will not only be an interesting alternative to powder and fruits but will also help as effectively as any other form.

Tips:

-Take dates powder or dates fruit and mix them in roasted atta.

-You can add salt, black pepper, or any other additive for an enhanced taste.

-Knead the mixture well to form a soft dough-like consistency.

-In a circular motion, give a 'ladoo' shape to the small dough balls.

-Store up to 10-12 days or consume them at once.

●       Dates Shrikhand

Dates Shrikhand is also another unique way of improving your health.

Tips:

-Take 250 gm of thick curd and hang it in a muslin cloth to drain all the excess water.

-Take the resultant hung card and divide it into 4 parts.

-Mix Dates powder and dry fruits as per your choice to the hung curd.

-Knead the mixture into a soft dough and cool off in a refrigerator for later use.

●       Dates Fruit

Dates fruit are also available for consumption about treating the health conditions mentioned above.

Tips:

Take 2-3 Date fruits directly with milk whenever you feel like.

●       Dried Dates

The Dates is also available in dried form, which you can take with milk, twice or thrice in a day.

Tips:

-Eat 2-3 dried dates with milk anytime in a day.

●       Dates paste

Dates paste with milk and honey can be applied to the skin for reduced wrinkles and fine lines. It can also be used by mixing it with rose water.

Side effects of Dates

While Dates is magically infused with healing properties, it is also found to have certain side effects if over consumed, especially in people suffering from abdominal issues, pregnant ladies, diabetic patients, and breastfeeding women. Both science and Ayurvedic experts recommend consulting a doctor before taking Dates as it can create certain gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhoea. Moreover, the dates are difficult to digest

Precautionary guide while using Dates

●       For Diabetic Patients

-          View of Science Experts

According to scientific experts, taking Dates might be a healthy alternative for diabetic patients. The low glycemic index is proved to be beneficial if consumed by the people suffering from diabetes. However, it still contains sucrose traces, which can be harmful to diabetic patients if over consumed.

●       For Pregnant Ladies

-          View of Science Experts

Using Dates during pregnancy is safe; however, consumption of dates in the form of supplements should be done carefully. Hence, it is recommended to consult a doctor for the dose of dates.

-          View of Ayurvedic Experts

It is advised to get a consultation from your doctor for using Dates while you are pregnant.

●       For Ladies, while Breastfeeding

-          View of Science Experts

No scientific proof is available showing any bad effects of using Dates during breastfeeding months. However, proper doctor consultation regarding the dosage of dates during breastfeeding is advisable. 

-          View of Ayurvedic Experts

It is advised to get a consultation from your doctor for using Dates while you are breastfeeding. Any self-medication should also be strictly avoided.

 

●       People with hypersensitive skin

-          View of Ayurvedic experts

Dates should be applied to the skin, either with milk, rose water, or honey by the people who are prone to allergies and have hypersensitive skin.

 

FAQ's about Dates

1.      Is overeating of dates harmful?

As per scientific studies, too many dates raise the blood sugar level and calories; hence, it can be harmful, especially for diabetic patients.

On the other hand, Ayurveda believes that Dates are heavy and difficult to digest, which may lead to abdominal problems like gas and bloating. Moreover, overeating for dates increases the blood sugar level and body weight because of Madhur or sweet taste.

2.      Is it normal to eat dates with milk?

-          Science experts

Dates reserve energy with abundant glucose and sucrose content. It is very much safe, rather helpful to eat dates with milk for increasing nutritional efficiency.

-          Ayurvedic experts

The amalgamation of dates and milk is preferable in case of a healthy digestive system. This wonder combination helps in providing energy to the body, and Balya properties increase body stamina.

3.      What are how dates can be stored?

The shelf life of dates fruit and dried dates are about 6 -months. However, if stored properly in an airtight container and polybag, it can sustain for about a year.

4. What are the spoilage signs for Dates?

Dates show various spoilage signs. Some of them are:

-          Discoloration and mold development

-          Foul smell

-          Pests or mites in the storage jar.

5.  Are Dates responsible for increasing the blood sugar level?

Dates are low in glycemic index and hence raise blood sugar levels slowly. Both scientific experts and ayurvedic experts have different points of view for this.

-          As per Science

Dates are rich in glucose, fructose, sucrose, and dietary fibre. It does not increase the blood sugar level steadily; however, it can be considered harmful for blood sugar level and weight if taken in excess amount.

-          As per Ayurveda

Dates have Madhur (sweet) nature; hence, it considers increasing the blood sugar level as per Ayurveda studies. Daily intake of dates in a high amount can affect the blood sugar level steadily.

6.      What are the benefits of Dates on the skin?

Dates help maintain skin health. Rich in anti-oxidants, it showcases anti-aging, regenerative, soothing, and skin firming properties. Hence, it reduces blemishes, wrinkles, and fine lines. It also enhances the smoothness and moisture of the skin.

7.      What is the amount of protein in dates?

Dates are high in protein with an amount of 1.50 g/100 g in fresh dates and 2.14g /100 g in dried dates.

8.      Can I eat dried dates?

Dried dates are as healthy as the normal dates. Sharing the same nutritional properties and benefits, it only lacks sugar and certain lost minerals during processing. Dried dates, with less sugar content, are more favorable for diabetic patients. Moreover, dried dates also have more anti-oxidants than fresh ones. So, it is very much safe and advisable to eat dates.

9.      Can I consume dates at night?

As per the scientific study, the consumption of dates manages insomnia and sleep disorders. It is responsible for sleep-inducing effects and hence, advisable to consume at night for a sound sleep.

Ayurvedic property Snighda to the oiliness of dates may help in infusing a good sleep at night. Vata balancing properties additionally reduces insomnia and relieves stress.

10.  Is eating Black Dates helpful?

Scientific Expert

Ayurvedic study

-          Rich in dietary fibre and b-complex vitamins, vitamin-C, and minerals manages bone health and makes them stronger.

-          A high level of anti-oxidants maintains heart health and acts as a shield for cell damage.

-          Glucose and sucrose of black dates provide a good source of energy.

-          Fever, wounds, swelling, and intestinal disorders can be cured with the help of black dates.

-          Black dates help in reproductive health management.

-          Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-diabetic properties of black dates help manage and comb any disease.

-           

-          Black dates manage all the three doshas and hence is beneficial for health management.

-          Sita and Pitta balancing properties manage stomach infections.

-          Kapha balancing properties of black dates help in managing cough and cold problems.

-          Vata and Kapha balancing properties are also useful in a person suffering from diabetes.

-           

 ( Disclaimer : The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or ayurvedic doctor. )

consult with ayurveda doctor.
Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.
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