Figs ripen by early August, but can be eaten all year long dried or frozen. Figs are the fruit of the ficus tree, which belongs to the mulberry family. It has a sweet taste, pink flesh, and crunchy edible seeds. Fresh figs spoil quickly, so they are often dried to preserve them. The result is a sweet and nutritious dried fruit that can be eaten all year round. There are many types of figs, all of which vary in color and texture. Before the advent of refined sugar, figs were often used to sweeten foods.
Calorie content and nutritional properties of figs
Figs are a nutritious fruit, containing many vitamins and minerals important for health.
Figs are relatively low in calories, which makes it possible to include them in the diet of those who need to normalize their weight.
One fresh fig weighing approximately 50 grams contains:
kilocalories — 37;
protein — 0.3 g;
fat — 0.1 g;
carbohydrates — 9.6 g;
fiber — 1.4 g.
Health benefits of figs: properties:
Figs help with digestion, heart function, and can also regulate blood sugar levels.
- Promotes Digestive Health
Figs have long been used to treat digestive problems.
It contains fiber, which promotes digestive health and also serves as a prebiotic and food source for healthy bacteria that inhabit the gut.
In animal studies, fig fruit extract or paste helped speed up the movement of food through the digestive tract, reducing symptoms of digestive disorders such as ulcerative colitis.
Another study involving 150 people with irritable bowel syndrome found that those who consumed dried figs twice a day experienced a significant reduction in symptoms (pain, bloating, digestive problems)
- May improve vascular and heart health
Figs help lower blood pressure. This has a positive effect on the condition of blood vessels and reduces the risk of heart disease.
A study on rats found that fig extract lowered blood pressure. Other animal experiments have found improvements in total cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels when supplemented with fig leaf extract. But more data is needed to better understand the effects of figs on heart health.
- May Help Control Blood Sugar Levels
A 1998 study of ten people with type 1 diabetes found that drinking fig leaf tea for breakfast reduced their insulin needs.
A recent experiment found that drinks containing high doses of fig fruit extract had a lower glycemic index (GI) than drinks without it, and therefore had a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels. However, figs, especially dried figs, contain a lot of sugar and can increase your blood levels in the short term.
- May Help Improve Skin Health
Figs may have beneficial effects on the skin, especially for people with allergic dermatitis.
A study of 45 children with dermatitis found that a cream made from dried fig extract, applied twice daily for two weeks, was more effective in treating symptoms than standard hydrocortisone cream. However, more research is needed to determine the effects of figs on skin health.
Harm of figs
Excessive consumption of figs can cause diarrhea, flatulence and other unwanted symptoms.
Figs are also rich in vitamin K, which can interfere with blood thinners and reduce their effectiveness.
Fig trees contain natural latex, which some people may be allergic to.
How to eat figs
The season for fresh figs is in the summer-autumn period, the timing depends on the variety. Figs spoil quickly and are best eaten within a day or two of purchase. If the skin of the fig is soft, the fruit can be eaten whole. If the peel is hard, it is better to extract the pulp. Ripe figs have a rich, deep color, should not have dents or cracks, and also have a sweet aroma. The fruits should be washed immediately before eating and stored in the refrigerator. If the figs are not yet ripe, they can be kept at room temperature.
There are several ways to add figs to your diet, each with their own potential benefits:
fresh figs are low in calories and are great for a snack, and will also be a good addition to salads or desserts;
dried figs are high in sugar and calories, so should be eaten in moderation; they may be more effective in promoting digestion than fresh figs;
fig leaves are very nutritious; they are often used in cooking in the same way as grape leaves — as a wrapper for rice and meat dishes;
fig leaf tea — you can prepare it yourself or purchase it ready-made in specialized stores.