Figs are one of the first plants that were cultivated by humans. It is known to date as far back as 9400BC were a common food for the early Romans and other ancient civilizations. Having stood the test of time, these tiny fruits can now be found just about anywhere in either fresh or dried form, although, the dried version is more popular because it can be obtained year round while the fresh fig is best only during the right seasons.
These tiny little seedy fruits have a whole number of health benefits. Some of these are:
Fiber is important in maintaining a healthy digestive system. It improves digestion and also helps to keep you full for a longer period of time as it creates bulk within the stomach which keeps your cravings at bay. Great if you are cutting calories. Fiber is also known to help lower the bad cholesterol (LDL).
A 100g of fresh figs contains 3g of fiber at only 75 calories while the same amount of dried figs contains about 10g at 250calories. The recommended daily amount for a healthy individual is 25-30g of fiber.
I’m sure that by now everyone knows the importance of antioxidants. They help to fight the free radicals within the body and keep you feeling young and healthy, inside and outside. Figs contain the antioxidant vitamins A, E and K. The dried variety has much more of these antioxidants as the amounts are more concentrated when dried.
Apart from the cholesterol lowering fiber, figs also contain a healthy amount of the mineral, Potassium. This mineral helps to maintain the electrolyte balance within the body and balances out excess sodium levels. This helps to regulate blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart attacks. Potassium is also an effective remedy against muscle cramps.
Controls blood sugar
Figs also have a compound called, Chlorogenic acid. This, combined with the fiber, helps to lower and maintain healthy blood sugar levels within the blood. Effective in preventing type 2 diabetes.
If possible, always choose the organic variety when buying dried figs as they are often treated with a sulfur dioxide gas which is used as a preservative to extend the dried figs’ shelf life.
Also, avoid figs if you have any kidney or gallbladder issues as they are part of a variety of food that contains a good amount of oxalates. Oxalates are found in nature in many vegetables and meats and is not harmful to healthy individuals but those with kidney issues would want to avoid excess consumption of oxalate rich foods as it can interfere with the absorption of calcium within the body.