Figs are probably one of the oldest trees recorded in history. Native of the Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern countries, they were held in high esteem and laws were formed in Greece to stop its exports. Botanically, they belong to a flowering plant called Ficus carica in the mulberry family. In India, fig is grown in Pithorgarh in the Kumaon hills. Figs are usually eaten fresh and raw as fruits, and also in the dried form; they are called ‘anjeer' in Hindi.
(Also Read: 6 Delicious Ways to Add Figs in Your Diet)
Nutritionally, figs contain:
|Total Fibre gm||2.9||9.8|
|Beta Carotene Âµg||85||6|
Figs work well as a snack in between the meals and you can combine them with dried nuts and seeds too! You have an amazing snack that is filling, healthy and can be eaten before & after your work out to nourish the body.
Figs are rich in antioxidants that neutralise free radicals which are linked to ageing and predisposition to non-communicable diseases. Antioxidants in figs are linked to enriching lipoproteins in our blood plasma, which helps prevent their oxidation. Studies have shown that figs increase the antioxidant capacity for four hours after consumption and can overcome the stress induced by consumption of carbonated drinks.
Not all fibres are equal; prebiotic fibre passes through the GI tract undigested, and increases the growth and activity of good gut bacteria. Health benefits of prebiotics include improved gut bacteria, which helps in a healthier gut. A healthy digestive tract means better absorption of nutrients, improved blood sugar and insulin responses, improved cholesterol control, protection against colon cancer and infections. Dried figs are good sources of prebiotics and must be consumed daily for better overall health.
Rich In Potassium
Potassium is an important mineral that is present in almost every cell of our body. Figs are a rich source of this mineral and help prevent its depletion. Potassium helps maintain the fluid balance in our body, preventing exhaustion. Potassium is also involved in maintaining the sodium balance and hence, has a role in maintaining optimal BP. Maintaining potassium balance in our body is essential. People with kidney diseases or those taking certain medications like BP control drugs must keep a check on their potassium intake and consult their healthcare provider before consuming potassium-rich foods.
Figs For Immunity
Studies have shown that figs stimulate the immune system and work against invading bacterial and fungal agents. Figs have been found to be effective against oral bacteria and oral ulcers. So, by working in two ways i.e. improving the immune system and fighting bacteria, figs are effective in protecting us against infectious diseases. Figs have also exhibited an ability to fight tuberculosis and reduce fevers.
Ayurveda and Figs
In the traditional Indian medicine system, figs have been used for improving erectile function, treating anaemia, paralysis, constipation, fever, liver functions and for improving the immune system. Leaves and roots of this mulberry family plant have also been used for controlling diabetes and triglycerides. The whole plant has been found to be beneficial for the health of our body.
Figs, like all fruits, are amazing for our health and wellness. Consuming them daily in the right quantity adds nutrients that protect our body and give us energy to work better. Dried or fresh, figs provide equal benefits and can be used as a fruit exchange for everyday use.
Go buy some figs today and avail their health benefits.
About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.