Dates in Yogic Diet: What you should know
- Dates contain many beneficial properties and can provide you with a great source of energy for your yoga practice.
- The Yogic diet is typically a plant-based diet free of stimulants, but it varies from person to person.
- A common motivation for those who consume dates and practice yoga regularly is to create a feeling of light and purity within.
The date palm fruit is a sweet stone fruit that is very good for you! While you cannot eat the seed, the outer flesh is sweet and delectable. This fruit is a staple in the yogic diet, so if you want to start a regular yoga practice or already engage in one, try this healthy food to take your yoga sessions to the next level.
Bigger than a raisin and smaller than a prune, and definitely not a nut, dates come from the date palm tree. They originated from the East and are cultivated in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. They also are being cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, even in the United States. The date is a Sattvic food, making it a great choice for yogis!
What Is Yogic Food?
Yogic food is also known as Sattvic food, and it is something that emanates sattva. The Sanskrit meaning for Sattva is a life-giving quality that is light and good. Dates are a Sattvic food, and yogis consider them a life-giving food because they nourish the body, mind, and spirit.
The term purity here goes well beyond the spiritual means. What foods you eat can affect the purity of your body. When the digestive tract is clear of toxins, it is better able to function. A clean and healthy body results in a clear mind that allows you to focus better. As a result, you may discover that finding clarity in your yoga practice becomes more effortless.
Many Ayurvedic practitioners believe that there are two primary ways you can increase your purity. Firstly, follow a routine of meditation and yoga. This will help you keep your mind clear and body flexible. Secondly, eat balanced and harmonious Sattvic foods. These foods will nourish your body for each practice. Such foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
Based on yogic philosophy, a yogic diet’s primary focus is on the principles of:
- Ahimsa (nonviolence)
This idea focuses on all living things connecting and not harming each other. The concept could expand into how we treat the living thing – the animal – before we consume it.
- Sattva (state of equanimity; evenness of mind)
Many believe that a diet consisting of Sattvic foods promotes a calm heart and a clear mind. Eating such a balanced diet can fuel the body with nutrition that allows your mind to gain more clarity. When you have this focus, it provides the space that your heart needs to fill with compassion.
- Saucha (the practice of purity and cleanliness)
A yogic diet translates into eating local fresh organic foods free of chemicals. Eliminating the chance of you consuming herbicides and pesticides promotes health in many ways. Also, try to choose only non-GMO foods and non-processed foods if you can.
An Ayurvedic Diet and the Doshas
Ayurveda translates to “knowledge of life.” It focuses on certain natural and balancing lifestyle practices. Such practices are thought to prevent disease that comes with imbalance and stress within someone’s mind.
When focusing on a yogic diet, you must also take into account the doshas. Each person holds a different constitution, whether it be Pitta, Vata, or Kapha. Pitta means fiery and intense. Vata means cold and flighty. Kapha means steady and comforting.
Dates are sweet and increase the moisture of the tissues in the body. They are also heavy to digest and create that cooling effect that aids with balancing the Pitta and Vata doshas. So, if you eat a diet that aligns with your dosha, this too would support your yoga practice.
A general piece of advice for everyone is not to eat a full meal within two hours of practice. It is also recommended to only have a light snack no less than one hour before beginning practice. During yoga, you want your body, mind, and spirit to be as pure, clean, and light as possible.
The Why and How of Yogic Foods
The idea of eating yogic foods, such as dates, is to purify your body, mind, and spirit. Many people practice yoga to find their spiritual center and their balance. Others wish to learn to navigate the world with more grace, lightness, and goodness. Even if you have the best intentions, it can be hard to do this when your body is not provided with life-giving foods.
The yogic diet focuses on plant-based foods, although some include dairy products and honey. This version is considered a lacto-vegetarian diet. Some yoga practitioners restrict themselves further by eliminating stimulates. These can include caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugar, whether from table sugar, bread, or pasta. Compared to a diet with a lot of animal-based foods, this way of eating can give you a lighter feeling.
In summary, it is up to you exactly what you eat on your yogic diet. A plant-based diet free of stimulants will give your body the most strength and natural energy. Your lifestyle and what foods are accessible are likely to determine what you eat. You may decide to adhere to the Ayurvedic diet, go strictly vegan, or fall somewhere in the middle.
Of course, there are pros and cons to each option! No matter what you choose, the focus of a yogic diet is on those foods that create purity – a feeling of lightness. And with yoga, it’s about listening to your body to find what makes you feel your best self so that you can work on building a happy and healthy life.
Why Should You Eat Dates?
Ayurveda places significant focus on the taste of food. Dates are among this recognition, but their primary benefit happens within the digestive system. You get the benefit of a delicious flavor while your bowels utilize the date’s insoluble fiber. When things are flowing within the body, life often tends to flow more gracefully.
Despite this being a primary reason why many people eat dates, nutrition is still an essential factor. Luckily, dates are a plentiful source of fiber and are low on the glycemic index scale. They also won’t spike your blood sugar despite being high in natural sugars!
A clinical trial was done on dates at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The Medical University found that dates have a very high phytoestrogen content. They also discovered that the natural sugars within dates are phenol-rich and high in antioxidants. A strong inhibitor of α -glycosidase was also present. This inhibitor has the potential to help with insulin resistance in diabetics.
Dates hold a full range of other compounds that seem to help prevent disease. A study published in March 2014 showed that dates have many beneficial properties. These include anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-oxidant, and anti-diabetic. These factors aid in preventing disease and protecting the liver and kidneys. This same study discovers that dates can act as a sex hormone modulator. This helps to improve fertility while also providing labor and delivery relaxation.
One researcher, named Sweety Mathew, performed yet another study on the sweet fruit. He found that dates contain many phytochemicals that have incredibly positive effects on human health. These include flavonoids, polyphenols, sterols, and carotenoids.
If you’re looking to start small with your yogic diet, dates are a great place to begin. They are a life-giving food that will provide you with the light, goodness, and purity that all yogis seek. Dates will ignite that digestive fire to keep things moving through your body and help you combat disease. They also provide you with the energy you need before and after each practice. Date palm fruit might just be the new beginning you’re craving!
If you practice yoga avidly or want to do so, eating the right diet can help you maximize the results of your practices. A plant-based diet is known to help many people feel their best, and dates are a staple of such a diet. Dates support the digestive system and provide the body with plentiful energy.
- Glycemic index – is a system of assigning a number of carbohydrate-containing foods according to how much each food increases blood sugar.
- Anti-microbial properties – kill or slow the spread of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
- Blood sugar – the primary sugar found in your blood that comes from the food you eat. It is also the body’s main source of energy.