Can I eat dates while on my period?

  • Nutrition is an important consideration during your period.
  • Your diet can affect PMS symptoms and iron levels.
  • Dates can reduce PMS symptoms and improve your iron levels.

Nutrition is vital to your health and can affect your menstrual health and your regular period cycles. Many women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) before and during their period. Evidence shows that nutrition can help or worsen these symptoms. Your diet is also essential to replace the iron you lose during your period. Date fruits can be an excellent way to help your body during your period.

Diet and PMS

PMS is a common side effect of your period that can be improved with a better diet. Evidence suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fats, calcium, and vitamin D may reduce the symptoms of PMS. Calcium, in particular, reduces cramps, fluid retention, irritability, and food cravings. Magnesium relieves menstrual cramps, improves mood changes, and may help you sleep better. But, a diet high in animal fats (e.g., butter and fatty cuts of meat), salt, and caffeine may worsen the symptoms of PMS. Salt can cause fluid retention, bloating, and breast swelling. Excess caffeine can cause cramps, irritability, and poor sleep. Replace caffeinated beverages with water, low-fat milk, and decaffeinated herbal teas.

As a part of PMS, two-thirds of young women experience menstrual cramps. Nutrition can play a key role in reducing the severity of these cramps. A high intake of fish, fruits, and fiber may reduce cramps. But a high intake of sugary snack foods, salt, and added fat may increase the symptoms. One study found that young women who ate less than two servings of fruit each day had more menstrual pain.

Eating foods that decrease inflammation in the body can also ease cramps. A plant-based diet reduces inflammation by having more antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals. Anti-inflammatory foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. One study showed that a low-fat vegan diet reduced the symptoms of PMS, including pain, water retention, and mood swings. 

Iron and Your Period

Iron is an important link between nutrition and your period. Iron is a mineral that plays many roles in your body. A lot of iron is in the red blood cells of your blood. So, women usually need more iron to replace what they lose during their periods. Females generally eat less iron compared to males. So, it is crucial to keep your iron stores up and eat more iron-rich foods during your period. If your iron levels are low, you may become anemic, which can cause you to be tired, weak, and dizzy. Iron can be found in meat and certain plant foods, such as dates, leafy green vegetables, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds. Eating vitamin C-rich foods along with iron-rich foods will help you absorb iron better. But, eating foods high in calcium at the same time as iron-rich foods will decrease iron absorption. For example, drinking orange juice with your high-iron foods is better than drinking milk with those foods.

Eating Dates While on Your Period

Not only is it okay to eat date fruits while you are on your period, it is actually an excellent choice to improve your nutrition. Eating dates can help you get your five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables every day. This can help decrease inflammation in the body and reduce the symptoms of PMS. Dates also have a significant amount of iron, which can help replace the iron you lose during your period. One study found that children who ate seven dates each day for two months had higher hemoglobin, hematocrit, and ferritin levels. These are all indicators of iron in the body.

The best diet to follow during your period is also the diet that you should be following every day. Eat a healthy balanced diet that does not leave out an entire food group. 

  • Include five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Include high-iron sources, such as dates.
  • Eat fish and other lean protein sources, such as chicken, beans, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
  • Include low-fat dairy products.
  • Eat a variety of whole grains.
  • Use healthy fats, such as extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and other foods high in omega-3 fats.


Eating a balanced healthy diet can improve your PMS symptoms. It can also optimize your iron levels during your period. Pay special attention to your intake of omega-3 fats, calcium, magnesium, water, and iron-rich foods. Eating date fruits on your period is not only okay; it is also helpful in getting enough iron and servings of fruit.

Scientific Information

  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – Symptoms some women get about one to two weeks before their periods
  • Omega-3 Fats – Healthy fats that help prevent heart disease, stroke, and other conditions. They are in fish, nuts, and olive oil.
  • Phytochemicals – Nutrients found in plant foods that help prevent several chronic diseases
Written by:
Lindsay Delk, RD
Registered Dietitian



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