When women become pregnant, they begin to crave certain foods. Sometimes they get up in the middle of the night and ask for ice cream. Other times they feel like eating chocolate. They can satisfy their sweet tooth by eating dates, which are healthy and have benefits. The 2011 study, published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, involved 154 women. While 77 of them ate dates late in their pregnancy, the remaining 77 did not. It was found that the women who ate dates had significantly less need for medical intervention when it came to inducing labor, compared to those who did not eat the sweet fruit. Read on and discover the benefits of eating dates during pregnancy.
Benefits of eating dates during pregnancy
Dates are rich in sugar but also high in micronutrients like potassium, manganese, magnesium and copper, says Dr Chetna Jain, director, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Sector 14, Gurugram. They also contain very high levels of antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acid, making them healthy.
Here are some benefits:
1. Dates can provide instant energy
Pregnant women often get tired and feel weak. This is because during pregnancy the burden on the cardiovascular system and the kidneys increases by 40 percent, the expert explains. Weight gain and changes in gravity, along with pressure on the lumbar spine, lead to fatigue. Eating dates can therefore help to provide energy.
2. Dates can help relieve constipation
The high fiber content of dates can help relieve constipation, which happens to many women during pregnancy. During pregnancy, physical activity is reduced. The level of progesterone, which regulates menstruation and supports pregnancy, is very high. Nausea leads to reduced food and water intake. All this contributes to constipation, so consuming dates can be beneficial.
3. Dates can prevent anemia
Dates are rich in iron and can prevent or correct iron deficiency anemia. During pregnancy, blood volume expands more than red blood cells. Iron absorption is low, so this leads to anemia.
4. Dates can improve bone health
Micronutrients such as selenium, magnesium and manganese present in dates can help improve bone health by reducing the risk of osteoporosis, which many women complain of.
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5. Dates can reduce hair loss
Some women experience hair loss during pregnancy. Due to their high iron content and their ability to increase blood flow to the scalp and hair, dates can be beneficial for your hair.
Dr. Jain says dates can also stimulate labor, so pregnant women can start using dates in the ninth month or after 36 weeks, which is about four weeks before the expected delivery date.
Excessive consumption of dates has side effects
Dates are known to promote normal labor and delivery, but too much of it is bad. This is what can happen:
• Eating too many dates can cause weight gain due to their high calorie content. Each date contains 23 calories, which is approximately 280 calories per hundred grams of dates.
• It may increase blood sugar levels and worsen glycemic control in women with type 2 diabetes.
• Excessive intake of dates can lead to bloating and constipation due to bacterial growth in the intestines.
• Dates can cause tooth decay if the teeth are not cleaned after consumption.
• High potassium content in dates can be harmful to women as they may develop kidney disease.
Consuming dates is healthy, but eat in small quantities if you want to enjoy the health benefits.