Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
Dates are one of the most popular and sought-after fruits for those who are looking enhance their fertility markers.
They are fruits of the Date Palm tree known as the Phoenix dactylifera, the date fruit itself is known as Ajwa Dates.
Here are just a few health benefits you should try date fruits and include them in your diet and whether they impact male fertility.
Are Dates Good for Men's Health?
They're Good for Your Stomach - Dates are a healthy and nutritious fruit.
What's more, the dates you get from the store are mostly made of sugar - the kind that breaks down into the body quickly.
By eating them slowly and in small amounts, you get both the nutritional and therapeutic benefits.
You can relieve constipation. Dates have plenty of fiber and nutrients that help to keep you regular and healthy.
They also contain minerals and potassium that help to keep your digestive system running smoothly.
Often better than other fruits since dates mostly consist of simple sugars, as such their effects are immediate.
Dates: Why they can boost your health
- High in Fiber - Dates are a great source of fiber, which is essential in maintaining a healthy gut.
- Low Calories - Dates are a good source of essential nutrition and calories.
- Good for Weight Management - A few dates every day has a positive impact on regulating your appetite. This helps dieters achieve their goals.
- Helpful for Diabetics - Dates have a low glycemic index, which helps people with diabetes to handle the sugar.
- Useful for Cardio - Being naturally high in carbohydrates mean that you can increase your glycogen levels to sustain prolongued activity.
Simple ways to consume dates
You Can Make Your Own Easy Date syrup.
To make it, you simply boil water and add one cup dates, stir until it thickens a bit, and then cool.
Make your own date milk shake.
Cut some dates in half, blend them, add your favorite milk shake flavor or mix with yogurt or milk and make it into a milkshake. You can also add some granola in it.
Are Dates Good for Conceiving?
It’s natural for men to wonder about their reproductive health.
A number of medical studies show a link between consuming high levels of sugar as part of a western diet, which dates are loaded with, and poor fertility.
In fact, some research has shown that women who consume large amounts of sugar around the time of conception may cause complications.
Other studies have shown that consuming too many dates may be harmful. However, this is only because they are high in calories and carbohydrates. Therefore, take this in to consideration.
You might also consider using a low-sugar substitute like agave nectar or stevia.
Eating sugar in moderate amounts does not seem to be harmful to anyone’s health, yet many people are becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of sugar they consume and their impact on their waistlines and overall health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American consumed an average of 17 teaspoons of sugar in 2017-2018 against guidelines of 12 teaspoons.
However, the fact is that the sugar that we eat comes as a result of natural processes in the food system.
This means that when people eat sugar, they are also eating sugar-free foods that have been processed to remove natural sugars and preserve the food.
However, some of these foods contain more sugar than others.
Based on the information in the most recent report, the foods with the highest percentage of added sugar are cookies, sodas, snack cakes, ice cream, cakes, candies, cookies, and other baked goods.
It is estimated that in the United States nearly 6% of men are infertile. And this contributes towards the high level of hetrosexual couples suffering from infertility.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Sciences, it's reported that the primary reason for lack of fertility is due to certain disorders in the testes and cause complications in the sperm.
We can see that in general, dates can be beneficial to your health, if eaten, like everything else, in moderation.
But, what science is available to either support or disuade eating dates to help male fertility?
Research - What does the science say?
To begin with, there's very little evidence regarding the effects of date fruits on male fertility.
A study published in 2021 studied the effects of the date fruit on rats who had been exposed to cypermethrin which is a pesticide.
This pesticide is highly toxic and causes infertility for rats.
However, the date fruit extract did demonstrate a protective value for the rats and their fertility.
This all sounds very promising. And, it would be if it wasn't for the negative effects of the extract which included a reduction of testosterone and Follicle stimulating hormone - the latter which is essential to the function of the testes.
While it is not exactly clear why this happens, it is thought that consuming the fruits for a long period of time can increase estrogenic activity. As a result this may have a negative impact on fertility.
Another study of 2018 also demonstrates that date fruit extract can have a positive effect against infertility causing substances.
However, again this research involved rats, and when they were intentially exposed to certain substances known for their toxicity.
That said, dates have been used as a traditional method in certain regions of the world to boost male fertility.
So, with that in mind, is there anything else we should know?
There was a 2006 study published in the Iranian Journal of Medicinal Sciences that demonstrated the date fruit pollen was able to improve sperm parameters among 50 male rats.
Out of the 3 studies so far, this may be the most relevant to the average male who is suffering from sperm health problems.
What is it about the date fruit that may be able to offer positive results?
If we break down the nutrition content of just one date, we can see that there's a high level of potassium.
The carbohydrate content is high which is a result of the high level of natural sugars.
Why is this relevant?
Potassium and semen - Does this electrolyte improve quality?
Research has found that those with normal semen parameters have higher levels of potassium that those with low sperm levels.
Therefore, the potassium found in the date fruit could potentially contribute towards increasing the levels in the body and semen.
Furthermore, changes to your diet has a rapid effect on sperm quality.
This quick effect of diet change on sperm quality was observed by researchers at Linköping University in a peer reviewed journal published in 2019.
Thus, eating lots of date fruits may quickly effect the potassium levels within your body and sperm.
Carbohydrate (sugars) and Sperm
A western diet is typically high in carbohydrates. And, dates, are high in carbohydrates due to their sugar content.
So, the question is, whether carbohydrates has an impact on sperm?
A study published in 2012 by the Ferility and Sterility journal found that increased levels of carbohydrate intake had a negative impact on sperm concentrations.
This means more carbohydrates resulted in less sperm.
However, it was noted that carbohydrates or fiber (fruit dates are high in fiber) did not have an impact on the quality of sperm.
Furthermore, while date fruits are a good source of carbohydrate, just eating them isn't going to have a negative impact on sperm levels. It's a case of your whole dietary intake of carbohydrates which you need to consider.
Typical carbohydrate sources include:
- Fruits (like dates)
- Sugary treats and beverages
Your intake of carbohydrates should also be based on your activity levels.
Therefore if you lead a very physical lifestyle you need more carbohydrates than a person who doesn't move as much.
Conclusion - Can Dates Boost Male Fertility?
While we can see in that dates are generally beneficial towards mens health, there is very little research available that strictly associates their impact on male fertility.
What research is available is based on rodent trials only, and when those rodents have been exposed to substances in order to reduce their fertility in the first place.
That said, from a nutritional standpoint, dates are high in potassium. The relevance of this is that those with healthier sperm had higher levels of potassium.
We also know that dates are high in carbohydrates, and while a high carbohydrate diet can reduce sperm count, this wouldn't necessarily be a problem with dates specifically.
Carbohydrate intake should be assessed from all food sources and adjusted based on your activity levels and requirements.
Dates can be beneficial to your health in many ways, and would be a good addition to anyone's diet.
However, there isn't enough evidence to support them being eaten to specifially improve male fertility.