IVF Babble

Dates – Set To Cause A Stir In 2023

Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)

Love a date or two? Well, it seems that they are not just to be brought out for Christmas! Dates are a great fertility-friendly food because they are high in antioxidants. An antioxidant is any compound that can counteract unstable molecules called free radicals that damage DNA, cell membranes, and other parts of cells and have been shown to protect cells (including sperm and egg cells) and other structures in the body from the harmful effects of these free radicals. They have recently been discovered to aid in hormone regulation as well as gut and bone health.

Dates are grown on the palm tree (Phonenix dactylifera), which is thought to have originated in the Nile and Euphrates valleys. Dates were highly valued by ancient civilizations more than 5000 years ago; the Egyptians saw them as a symbol of fertility, while the Romans and Greeks used them to decorate their paegents. They are set to make a big comeback in 2023 because they are a great sugar substitute, have a long shelf life, and are simple to use in paste or as date sugar in baking.

Why are dates so good for us?

Dates are high in a variety of nutrients, including those required for good health and fertility.

• They are rich in dietary fibre -a good laxative! But this also prevents LDL (bad) cholesterol build up.

• They contain tannins which are flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants which are excellent at reducing inflammation and infection in the body.

• They contain easy-to-digest simple sugars which provide instant energy.

• They are an excellent source of iron, very good source of potassium and good source of B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin k, manganese, copper and calcium.

• They are a good source of antioxidant flavonoids including ß-carotene, lutein, and zea-xanthin. These antioxidants are found to have the ability to protect cells and other structures in the body from harmful effects of oxygen-free radicals and thus may reduce the risk of a variety of different cancers.

• They contain very low levels of fat indeed and no cholesterol

What about fertility?

Date fruit antioxidant nutrients have also been shown to improve female fertility by lowering oxidative effects on oogenesis (the formation of mature female eggs) and the embryonic microenvironment, which may have a direct effect on improving female egg quality, implantation, and early embryonic development. Due to its incredible antioxidant activity, which has been demonstrated in both vivo and in vitro studies, the date fruit’s high polyphenol content (50.2 mg/g) could potentially enhance fertility in women. Date fruit phytochemical compounds, such as phytosterols and phytoestrogens, may be useful in modulating oestrogen levels in the body, as well as having pro-apoptotic and anti-oxidant properties. Another study discovered that date pollen can significantly raise oestrogen and progesterone levels.

Date fruit extracts have been shown in animal studies to improve the process of spermatogenesis and the concentration of male sex hormones. This is thought to be because the fruit contains phytochemical compounds like genistein, vitamin A, and selenium, which are known to protect testicular function from oxidative stress and have gonadotropin activity. Date fruits are high in antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolics, vitamin C, E, and A, all of which have been shown to reduce the percentage of dead sperm and maintain normal sperm morphology.

Want to read more?

Saryono, Mekar DWI Anggraeni and Eni Rahmawati, EFFECTS OF DATES FRUIT (PHOENIX DACTYLIFERA L.) IN THE FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE PROCESS, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of JenderalSoedirman, Central Java, Indonesia

Saryono, Saryono & Rahmawati, Eni & Heryanto, Heryanto & Hapsari, Eti & Hidayat, Arif. (2016). Antioxidant enzyme status on rat after date seeds (Phoenix dactylifera) steeping treatment. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. 10.18203/2320-6012.ijrms20161431.



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