Dates are sweet treats that most of us can't say no to, but do they have any benefits for PCOS? Let's find out!
“Indeed in dates, there is a cure,” says the Quran. Dates have been consumed for millennia, across various cultures, owing to their many nutritional benefits. But when you have PCOS, you may need to avoid certain foods. Are dates one such food? Are there any benefits of dates for PCOS? Let’s find out.
What’s the Nutritional Profile of Dates?
Dates are the dried form of the fruits harvested from the Phoenix dactylifera or date palm tree. According to USDA, 100 g of Medjool dates contains the following nutrients.
Delicious Dates: Benefits for PCOS
Dates have a low glycaemic index (GI) of 42, meaning dates can cause blood sugar levels to rise and fall slowly. The fibre in dates may digest slowly and delay the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which may prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.
This can also make you feel full for a longer time and prevent you from consuming extra calories that will be stored in your body in the form of fat. Excess weight can worsen your symptoms of PCOS.
In PCOS, the rise in glucose levels and related insulin levels can disrupt the hormonal balance and increase the androgen levels in the body, which may worsen the PCOS symptoms.
Scrumptious Ways of Eating Dates for PCOS
- Dates contain a natural sweetener, a fruit sugar called fructose that can be a better substitute for refined sugars.
- Dates can be blended with fruits and vegetables to make fine smoothies with enhanced flavour and taste.
- Chopped dates can be added to yoghurt, cereals and salads.
- Dates are sweet, and flavoursome and can be an excellent binder, which can be used in preparing healthy dry fruits laddu.
- Dates can also be used in the preparation of cookies and other Indian sweets.
What’s the Best Time to Eat Dates?
Dates are available throughout the year and can be consumed at any point of the day. You can eat dates as a mid-morning and evening snack or have them post-lunch.
As dates are high in calories, it is important to consume them in moderation, which means limiting your consumption to not more than 3 to 4 dates in a day.
Is Too Many Dates a Bad Idea?
Avoid consuming dates if you are allergic to them. Mould or sulphites present in them can cause mild wheezing to serious anaphylactic reactions such as a sudden drop in blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, etc, which need immediate medical attention.
For women with PCOS, check with your dietician as to how many dates can be consumed per day.
More Reasons to Eat Dates
- Fibre can improve your digestive health by preventing constipation. The fibre in dates can increase the weight and size of your stool and soften them, which makes it easy to pass bulkier stool with constipation.
- Dates are anti-inflammatory and contain flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acid. They may help reduce inflammation in the body and aid in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Carotenoids present in dates may also help reduce the risk of eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration, which may cause blurred vision.
- Dates are believed to promote and ease natural labour if consumed during the last few weeks of pregnancy. The tannins and oxytocin present in dates may help induce uterus contraction.
- Some studies claim that minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium may help osteoporosis, a condition that makes your bone fragile.
- Dates are rich in isoflavones, which are also known as phytoestrogens. Isoflavones have a similar structure to oestrogens that can bind with oestrogen receptors in your body and produce similar results. Therefore, studies suggest that dates may help relieve menopausal symptoms, along with other PCOS symptoms.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Dates are rich in several nutrients such as minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Though they are high in calories, they have a low glycemic index of 42, which helps keep your sugar levels stable.
- Dates, when had in moderation can be a good natural sweetener in your PCOS diet. It may stabilise your blood sugar levels, help manage your body weight and reduce menopausal symptoms. Thus, it can help manage your symptoms of PCOS.
- Dates can be beneficial when consumed in a limit of 3 to 4 dates a day. They can prevent constipation, and lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, eye-related disorder and Alzheimer’s disease. You can also try dates water for PCOS after consulting your doctor.
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Friendly Asked Questions
There is no scientifically proven data that confirms that dates can help improve fertility. Dates are rich in antioxidants, which may prevent free radicals from damaging the eggs. This may help improve egg quality and may help in fertility.
If you have PCOS, you can balance your hormones with a few lifestyle changes in your daily routine. You can include more low-calorie, healthy fat, fibre and protein-containing food in your PCOS diet. You can incorporate non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds into your diet. This can help stabilise your blood sugar levels, which prevents the disruption in your hormonal levels. Exercising regularly can help utilise the calories in your body and burn fat, which also increases the insulin sensitivity of the cells in your body and aids in healthy weight and blood sugar levels. Reduce your stress levels through yoga, meditation, etc as it can calm your nervous system and help balance your hormones by reducing the levels of stress hormones.
There is no science-backed evidence to support that dates are good for periods. However, as dates are rich in iron, vitamin C, and folate, there are anecdotal claims that they might regulate menstrual flow.
Dates are rich in fibre, which may delay the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and help stabilise your blood sugar level. This plays an important role in preventing the imbalance of hormones such as insulin and androgen in your body. In this way, dates may help manage the symptoms of PCOS.
Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome can consume red dates for PCOS, but in moderate quantities. While dates have a low glycemic index and are known to contain healthy fats, both of which are beneficial for women with PCOS, it is still advisable to eat them in moderation.
The top foods that women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) should avoid are canned fruit juices, processed foods loaded with refined carbohydrates (white bread, pastries) and processed meats such as pork, steaks and sausages.
Anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, fatty fish (salmon and tuna), avocados, grapes and leafy greens can be a part of a balanced diet in PCOS.