Eat Your Figs: 5 amazing health benefits
While visiting my cousin I was re-introduced to figs as she has one of these glorious trees right in her yard. I say re-introduced because like many I loved Fig Newton cookies as a kid and I have dried figs that I bake with or eat. Although they are still nutritionally great in dried form (Dried figs are actually at the top of the dried fruit list for phenol antioxidant levels) and of course, really yummy, any type of dried fruit has a super high concentration of sugar and that’s something that most of us want to avoid.
What I am talking about is fresh figs. First off there is something about picking fruit off the branches of a tree and being able to just eat it. Maybe I’m alone in this but I just love that feeling. Plus they are delicious AND you don’t need to do anything except open them with your nails and suck all that goodness out (for those of you more civilized then I am feel free to use a knife and spoon or put them in a smoothie). So while gorging on figs every morning at her place I decided I’d better be able to find some justification for this behavior in the form of fig nutrition. Well, needless to say I was shocked to discover how many there are!
1) High in Iron
It’s no secret that I have been forever battling anemia. Even pre-children and back to my meat eating days the highest my ferritin has ever been is a 30. And I hate iron supplements. HATE them. They make me nauseated and constipated and I seriously would just rather have low iron then take them. That said I am always looking for ways of increasing my plant based consumption of iron. Was I ever happy to read that figs are a great source of iron!
2) High in fiber
Figs are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps slow digestion and make you feel fuller. So in terms of weight loss and maintenance figs are a great fruit to add to your diet plan. Of course fiber is also a great way to stay regular and is helpful to those with bowel issues.
3) Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Figs have a high fibre/low sugar ratio making them a good choice for diabetics (this is only true of fresh not dried figs). Some studies also show that they actually help stabilize and lower blood sugar levels as well. Interestingly consumption of the fig leaf has repeatedly demonstrated anti diabetic properties.
4) High in Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium
Most of us reach for a banana when low potassium is an issue (eg.muscle cramps) but you can now include figs to help since they are also a great source of it. Potassium is also useful in lowering blood sugar levels so diabetics take notice as well!
It’s also important to note that without magnesium, calcium cannot function so the trio of high magnesium, potassium and calcium unique to figs is very good for our bones! In fact the magnesium and potassium content in figs is so high that they are even noted for maintaining heart health and keeping blood pressure in line as well.
5) Loads of Nutrients and Benefits
In addition to what I’ve already mentioned figs also contain a wealth of other beneficial nutrients such as vitamin B1 and B2 and are cited as contributing to numerous other health benefits including:
treatment for sexual dysfunction, constipation, indigestion, piles, diabetes, cough, bronchitis, and asthma. (Source:Organic Facts, 2016).
If you live in growing zones 7-9, first off I’m jealous and second here is the link to learn more about growing fig trees: