Figs are the oldest fruits enjoyed by man and one of my personal favorites. Ficus carica or the common fig is a deciduous tree growing to heights of up to 6 meters (19 ft) in the genus Ficus, from the family Moraceae, known as common fig tree. Figs are an ancient fruit that can be enjoyed fresh, dried, fermented and cooked. Figs are fat free, sodium free, cholesterol-free and gluten free!
An old English proverb goes like 'Peel a fig for a friend and a peach for your enemy’. Maybe this is because figs have been traditionally linked to wisdom symbolizing abundance, fertility and sweetness. Fresh Figs are healthy and tasty but believe me dries figs are from heaven, simply divine!
Dried figs are excellent sources of minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc. 100g of dried figs contain 680 mg of potassium, 162 mg of calcium, and 2.03 mg of iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation as well for cellular oxidation.Figs are a good source of antioxidant vitamins A, E and K that contribute to health and wellness.
Fig ‘o’ Fact
• Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. The real fruit actually are the seeds!!• Figs are the only fruit to fully ripen and semi-dry on the tree.• Interestingly fig trees do not flower; the 'fruit' that we eat is the blossom and is pollinated by a special type of wasp (Blastophaga grossorum). • Like dates, the food value increases with drying – one dried fig has almost as much calcium as an egg – and they will keep much longer than fresh figs which are fragile, needing refrigeration and use within a few days.• They may not look like it, but figs are a member of the mulberry family.• The Romans would give each other presents of figs on the first day of their new year.• In ancient Greece, it was forbidden to export figs.• The inhabitants of Cyrene crowned themselves with wreaths of figs.• The fig tree bark that can be used to make a type of bark cloth for clothing• Fig wood is fragrant when burned and can be used for long lasting fire fuel.• The fig was considered an antidote against poison.• Figs are used to treat pimples by using the juice freshly squeezed from a fig leaf.• Fig milk (or sap) is so commonly prescribed for ringworm, skin irritations, warts, and insect bites.• The early Olympic athletes used figs as a training food. Figs were also presented as laurels to the winners, becoming the first Olympic “medal.”• The fig tree is a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness.• Eating one half cup of figs has as much calcium as drinking one-half cup of milk.
Health Benefits of Dry figsFigs have been used for thousands of years to fight ailments such as constipation, bronchitis, mouth disorders, wounds and gonorrhea. In traditional Arabian medicine, figs are also used to treat conjunctivitis, leprosy and hemorrhoids.
Regulated blood pressure:Figs are loaded with potassium, a nutrient that helps in controlling high blood pressure.
Effective weight loss:Dry figs are a high source of nutritional fiber and if you are fat and considering losing some weight then including dried figs is a good thing to opt for
Safe against breast cancer:For women, menopause and breast cancer are two major things to deal with. Dry fig is probably the best fruit in terms of natural fiberto combat with these health issues; the others being prunes, dates, apples and pears.
Enjoy healthy and smooth skin:One of the most common conditions seen among youngsters as well as adults is acne or pimples. Some of the other common skin conditions are zits, blackheads, whiteheads and even cysts. Sometimes, it even results in stubborn marks on your skin, which would be tough to remove once your pimples get cured. With the consumption of dry figs, you can combat these skin disorders to a huge extent.
Long and luscious hair:When it comes to hair problems like itchy scalp, dandruff and hair loss, nobody can negate the need of a proper diet. Since dry figs are loaded with minerals and nutrients, they help boost your hair’s health in a dramatic way.
Figs are rich source calcium which helps in strengthening the bones.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels:
Research studies suggest that chlorogenic acid in figs help lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus (adult onset) condition.
Dried figs contain good levels of B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, foliates, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins function as co-factors for metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Figs contain Pectin which is a soluble fiber. When we consume soluble fiber it helps to remove cholesterol from the system and flushes it out of the body.
Fiber present in figs is useful to flush out all the harmful toxins from the body including cancer causing substances. Regular bowel movement and flushing out of toxins can prevent colon cancer.
Figs are rich in fiber which ensures healthy bowel movement thereby preventing constipation.
Coronary Heart Disease
Dried figs contain phenol, Omega-3 and Omega-6 which are fatty acids highly effective in significantly reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
Prevention of Hypertension
Figs are high in potassium and at the same time low in sodium which is very useful to prevent hypertension.
Enjoy the numerous benefits of dried figs in easy ways:Top up your desserts with chopped figs.Add them to your cereal breakfast.Add to cakes, pies and tarts.Lastly, eat this divine fruit as it is, as a healthy anytime snacks.
Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.You can also refrigerate them.