Here are 7 health benefits of anjeer (fig) you need to know.
In India, dry fruits are a popular choice when it comes to daily munchies. The chewy flesh with natural sweet flavour is not only a treat to bite into but also provides you nutrition. Be it raisins, dates, dehydrated mangoes and berries, there are plenty of options to choose from and mix match with other health boosters like nuts and seeds for a guilt-free treat.
Of these, the one dry fruit that stands out for its incredible health benefiting properties is anjeer or fig, a member of the mulberry family. The small bell or pear-shaped fruit is commonly available it its dried form throughout the year, but like the saying goes, there’s nothing like having it fresh. The sweet juicy flesh loaded with crunchy seeds is an absolute delight, especially when wine poached or grilled, and drizzled with a little honey on top. Toss it into salads with rocket leaves, nuts, summer veggies and cheese, and you have a lunch winner right there!
While the fresh fruit may score high on natural flavour, the dried anjeer matches us for being an easy anytime healthy snack. It has higher concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, is easily available, and can also be used to make mithais, halwas, jams and other preserves. Apart from the numerous ways that it can be used to spruce up your palate, here are some of its health benefiting properties –
1. Weight management
Since figs are a good source of fiber, research has found that they could aid in weight management as high-fiber foods have a positive impact. Fiber forms an essential part of our daily diet. Not only is fiber good for our digestive system, it has also been linked to the reduced risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Health experts will tell you that foods with high fiber makes one feel full and satiated for long which is why they easily fit in your weight-loss strategies.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a fiber-rich diet can help in shedding those extra kilos. But since dried figs are also high in calories, ensure that you consume little quantities of it on a regular basis. Ancient practises also consider dried figs as a good source for gaining weight in a healthy way. Again, portion control is the key.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Anjeer is a good source of potassium. Potassium is an important mineral, which is required for the body and its regular intake is said to help in maintaining blood pressure because it tends to negate the harmful effects of sodium. Since we live in a world where we constantly rely on processed foods, which have high sodium content, a diet rich in potassium is essential. Doing so could also aid in blood circulation and digestive disorders. According to a study done by Shiga University of Medical Science in Japan, it states that for individuals with diabetes, having a diet rich in potassium may help you protect against heart and kidney ailments.
3. Promotes Reproductive Health
According to ancient Greeks, figs were considered to be a sacred fruit and a natural aphrodisiac. It symbolised fertility and love. In ancient India too, figs were combined with milk and taken. Since it is loaded with minerals like zinc, manganese, magnesium and iron, they all contribute to improving reproductive health. Moreover, as a home remedy, young girls are often advised to eat figs to overcome PMS issues. Studies have also found that since dried figs are a high source of antioxidants and fiber, they help in protecting against post-menopausal breast cancer and hormonal imbalances.
4. Boosts Heart Health
Studies have shown that figs help reduce the level of triglycerides in the body, which are fat particles that circulate in the bloodstream and are a major cause of heart disease. Moreover, the high antioxidant content in dried figs couple with blood pressure lowering properties help in eliminating free radicals from the body, which could lead to the blockage of coronary arteries in the long run, and prevent coronary heart disease.
5. Helps Prevent Constipation
The high fiber content in figs helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system, thus also aids in preventing constipation. Fibers are essential for maintaining regular bowel movements and food sources such as figs are found to help in easing digestion when consumed regularly.
6. Promotes Bone Health
Dried figs are a good source of calcium. The human body requires around 1000mg of calcium per day to meet the daily requirement of the mineral. Since calcium isn’t produced by the body, what we eat solely contributes to the body’s requirement. Most often we fail to meet the set requirement despite having milk, which is the highest source of calcium. Therefore it is important to include other food sources of calcium such as figs in our diet.
7. Regulates Blood Sugar
The high potassium content in fig helps in regulating the blood sugar level in the body, thus keeping a check on the amount of sugar that is absorbed after meals. A high potassium diet is therefore said to help diabetics. Research studies have also found that chlorogenic acid present in figs helps lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels in type-II diabetes.