Dates Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/03/22 •  12 min read
dates benefits and side effects

What are dates benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are dates pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on dates benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about dates benefits and side effects. This will include dates benefits for your health and potential risks, dates water footprint and dates carbon footprint, dates sustainability, if dates are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if dates are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about dates benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Dates Benefits And Side Effects

Health

Energy: dates are good for / help brain function, constipation relief and prevention, enhance memory, eye health/vision, healthy pregnancy, improve digestion, keep bowels regular, reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar

Longevity: dates are good for / help Alzheimer’s prevention, bone strengthening, combat free radicals, detoxification, diabetes management and prevention, heart health, prevent and fight cancer, prevent heart disease, regulate blood sugar

Appearance: dates are good for / help weight loss

Dates are…

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Environment

Water footprint: moderate, it takes 2,277 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of dates / 273 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of dates

Carbon footprint: low, 1.1 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of dates, a car driving equivalent of 2.75 miles or 4.5 kilometers

Destruction: low, date production is relatively sustainable, no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc., date palms are extremely drought tolerant, nearly all parts of dates and the date palm tree can be used, tree trunks of date palm trees are used for fuel and building materials, date leaves can be used for weaving baskets and mats, date buds can be eaten, date seeds can be ground and roasted, the date palm can be used as a sugar substitute

Dates are…

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Animals

Kills: none, date production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, date production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from date production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Dates are…

Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Dates…

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Where do dates come from?

The world’s top date producing country is Egypt, followed by Saudi Arabia and Iran. The world’s top date exporting country is Israel, followed by USA, Tunisia, Pakistan, South Africa, Germany, Iran, Algeria, Mexico and France.

Are dates nutritious?

Dates contain some important vitamins and minerals in addition to a significant amount of fiber.

dates are alkaline when raw and acidic when dried.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Are dates alkaline or acidic?

Dates are acidic when dried and alkaline when raw.

What is the pH level of dates?

Dates have a 6.0 pH level when dried (most common) and a 8.5 pH level when fresh.

When you eat food, it is broken down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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dates are gluten free. dates benefits include fitting into a gluten free diet.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Are dates gluten free? Yes, dates are gluten free. Dates do not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include: recurring abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, tingling, numbness in hands and feet, chronic fatigue, joint pain, unexplained infertility and low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis).

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

dates are not a common food allergen. dates benefits include being safe for most.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are dates a common food allergen?

No, dates are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to dates but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods is often referred to as the Big-8 and includes milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. 

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

dates have a moderate water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Do dates have a high or low water footprint?

Dates have a relatively moderate water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of date?

It takes 2,277 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of dates / 273 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of dates.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

dates have a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do dates have a high or low carbon footprint?

Dates have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of dates?

It takes around 1.1 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of dates, a car driving equivalent of 2.75 miles or 4.5 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating product emissions, some factors that may be included are… farm equipment, animal feed production, hothouses (greenhouses), food processing, packaging, transport, refrigeration, freezing, package waste, and more.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

dates are sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, are dates eco friendly? Are dates sustainable?

Date production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

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dates are vegan. dates benefits include not killing, harming or using animals.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Are dates vegan?

Yes, dates are vegan. Dates are a fruit from a date palm tree and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

dates are a product that may or may not have labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Are dates a product associated with labor concerns?

At this time there have been no major concerns associated with date production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may be associated with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even be subjected to harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment has been likened to modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about dates benefits and side effects.

Sources:

Dates Grades and Standards – Agricultural Marketing Service

Dates, medjool – FoodData Central – USDA

FDA Food resources for consumers

Adriane Marie

Grocery Guru, Material Maven, Conscious Consumer Connoisseur. I organize ethical info for us to comprehensively see how purchases impact people, animals and the planet. I hope you find HEALabel helpful! Use it for personal and global improvement and empowerment.