Dates are nutritious and delicious fruits that grow on the date palm tree. They’re widely consumed throughout the globe and hold high value in many religions and cultures.
Widely lauded for their sugar content and high fiber, several individuals wonder whether there’s a standard time to eat dates. This write-up discusses the best and worst times to eat dates.
Dates are highly nutritious. The most popular varieties include Deglet Noor and Medjool dates. Though dates (fresh) are edible, dates are most usually eaten dried and clearly identified by their bumpy, dry skin.
A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of dates provides:
- Protein: 2.5 grams
- Calories: 282
- Fiber: 8 grams
- Carbs: 75 grams
- Calcium: 3% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Sugar: 64 grams
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Iron: 6% of the DV
- Copper: 23% of the DV
- Magnesium: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 10% of the DV
- Folate: 6% of the DV
- Selenium: 6% of the DV
Dates are small and typically dried. This makes consuming multiple dates very doable. As a result, it is convenient to consume large quantities of fiber, calories, and natural sugar in one sitting. Therefore, be sure to take dates in moderation.
Best Time to Eat Dates
Regardless of the food, you are thinking about eating, the best time to eat is when you want to eat, or you’re hungry. Though many health experts claim that there are best times for the body to digest food — and that eating outside of these times will result in weak digestion — there’s little scientific evidence to back these claims.
Our body is ready to digest food before it even touches the mouth. It releases special digestive enzymes in the mouth and continues to release them throughout the digestion course .
In fact, your body can identify the type of enzymes required based on the food’s macronutrient ratio — its protein, carb, and fat composition — and can do this at any time of the day .
However, there are times when consuming dates may be ideal, such as
1. At Breakfast
Dates can be a great way to add fiber and natural sweetness to the diet in the early morning. What’s more, their rich fiber content can keep you satisfied and full throughout the morning .
2. As an afternoon snack
Dates are high in natural sugars and an excellent source of fiber. This pairing of sugar and fiber allows for a slower spike in blood sugar to help you feel energized without crashing quickly afterward.
3. When you’re hungry
They are very filling due to their high fiber content and a concentrated form of calories. If you’re feeling hungry but are not ready for a full meal, combine dates with some peanut butter for a wonderful source of carbs, fiber, and protein.
[Read: Amazing Health Benefits of Dates]
4. Before a workout
Though dates are naturally rich in sugar, they don’t raise blood sugar quickly. Rather, they provide a type of gradual-releasing carb that allows for a continuous stream of energy to fuel the workout. Try having two–four dates 30–60 minutes before a workout.
5. As a nighttime snack
They’re a great bedtime snack due to their rich fiber content. Fiber takes more time to digest, which may help us stay full and keep midnight hunger pangs at bay.
When you shouldn’t eat dates
Though our body can digest food whenever we need it to, there are a few situations in which eating dates is not the best idea:
1. You have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome may be sensitive to foods containing Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAPs), which are small-chain carbs that few people have trouble digesting. As a significant source of fructose, they may lead to stomach upset and bloating.
2. After an enormous meal
Dates are rich in fiber, which takes longer to digest. As a result, eating an umpteen number of dates after a large meal can make you feel extremely uncomfortable and full.
3. If you have an allergy
Though rare, few people even have an allergy to dates or can be sensitive. If you think this can apply to you, speak with a medical practitioner first.
4. If you’re experiencing loose stools or diarrhea
Dates contain sugar alcohol, called sorbitol, which can increase bowel movements in a few individuals. Therefore, it’s best to avoid or limit dates until the bowel movements have normalized.
Beyond these times, there are no “bad” times to consume dates. In fact, they’re extremely nutritious and add themselves well as part of a meal or a snack. Remember that our body is very capable of digesting food 24 hours a day.
Dates are a delicious, nutritious, and convenient snack. They’re high in calories, fiber, and natural sugars, and they serve well as part of a meal or a sweet snack. Due to our body’s ability to digest foods no matter the time of day, we can enjoy dates whenever we like.
They make an excellent snack in the morning, afternoon, or evening because of their high fiber and sugar content, which helps keep us energized and full. However, if you have irritable bowel syndrome, are allergic or sensitive, or are experiencing diarrhea, you may want to avoid dates or consult a physician first.