The benefits of dried figs for health are characterized by being a good source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. They are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and iron and contain vitamins A, B6, E and K, which contribute to optimal health and well-being.
What are Figs?
The fig is the fruit of the common fig tree (Ficus carica), a tree of the Moraceae family, emblem of the Mediterranean basin where it has been cultivated for millennia. In the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.
The fig originates in the Middle East and West Asia and has been consumed for thousands of years due to its medicinal properties and its delicious sweet taste. Before the increase in sugar, figs were often used as a sweetener in a variety of desserts. It is also one of the first fruits to be cultivated by people. The fig has been cultivated since around 9000 BC! In ancient times, the stimulating and fertility enhancing properties were attributed to the fig. From around the 15th century, the fig spread to northern Europe, so that we can enjoy this special fruit here too. The fig therefore has many uses and does wonders for your gut. For the emergence of modern medication, figs were recommended as a standard for obstruction problems.
Main Nutritional Characteristics:
Dried figs have a very high energy supply, mainly supplied by carbohydrates (high glycemic load); on the contrary, proteins and lipids appear in secondary quantities. Dried fig carbohydrates are simple and are mainly composed of fructose (low glycemic monosaccharide); the peptides are of low biological value and predominantly unsaturated fatty acids (especially polyunsaturated). The latter also include certain essential nutrients of the omega 3 and omega 6 group, which are beneficial for lipid metabolism and blood pressure; however, the lipid component is enclosed within the “seeds” that, if not chewed, pass through the intestine and are expelled.
Benefits of Dried Figs:
One of the healthiest fruits and when tasting the palate is undoubtedly a good option since its rich flavor makes many want to choose this fruit not only for its flavor but also because it also offers a series of health benefits, for Your vitamins and minerals.
1. Control Cardiovascular Function:
Figs are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower blood pressure. In animal studies, pectin is a soluble fiber in fig leaves and has been shown to contribute to lower levels of triglycerides in the body. Figs also contain high levels of antioxidant polyphenols that have been shown to help prevent atherosclerosis.
2. Strengthens Reproductive Health:
The ancient Greeks used figs as an aphrodisiac. They were considered as a sacred fruit and related to fertility and love. Figs can improve fertility and libido because they are rich in minerals and zinc, manganese and magnesium, which are very important for improving reproductive health. Clinical studies have shown that figs help increase sperm motility, this is essential for reproductive health. Researchers believe that this compound can be linked to the amino acids, magnesium and calcium found in figs.
3. Improves Bowel Function and Weight Loss:
It was found that dietary fiber and the low amount of calories in figs have positive correlations with weight loss and good intestinal transit.
4. Regulates Insulin Levels:
It has been repeatedly shown that figs have antidiabetic properties and can reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetics who require insulin injections.
5. Promoting Bone Density:
A serving of 10 dried figs offers 220-269 milligrams of calcium. This is approximately 20% of the recommended daily amount of calcium.
6. Improves Digestion:
Figs also contain prebiotics, which help good bacteria already existing in the intestine. Good bacteria are essential to maintain optimal digestion.
7. Reduces the Risk of Macular Degeneration (Retinal Aging):
Eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day can reduce the risk of age- related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly, by 36% compared to people who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit per day.
8. Fight Anemia:
Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to transport adequate oxygen to its tissues.
“Figs contain copper and iron, two minerals necessary for the formation of red blood cells and cell oxidation and thus fight anemia”.
9. Prevents Hypertension:
The sodium level increases by eating more salt. Then, the sodium and potassium balance is disturbed, resulting in hypertension. Dried figs are excellent for restoring this balance and preventing hypertension. A dried fig has 129 mg of potassium and 2 mg of sodium.
10. Rich in Antioxidants:
Dried figs are rich in antioxidants, and even more than natural figs. According to one study, dried figs have a superior quality of phenols, antioxidants, compared to other fruits that attribute their antioxidant property to vitamin C and E.
11. Prevents Cancer:
Dried figs rich in antioxidants can help prevent damage to cellular DNA due to the free radicals that dangerous cells can produce.
12. Help with the Renal Function:
A study on laboratory animals published in The Natural Products Research Journal found that compounds in fig leaves reduce kidney damage caused by high cholesterol levels.
13. Improves the Appearance of the Skin:
Fig omega 3 is not only excellent for cholesterol. It is also good for the skin. The skin also suffers from inflammatory values you can often see this from acne. Omega 3 fatty acids also help reduce inflammation and, therefore, better skin. Polyphenols that help against inflammatory values also help the skin look young. This is because they are antioxidants. Antioxidants bind to free radicals so they can no longer damage DNA. This keeps the skin looking younger for longer.
14. Nutritious Mask:
You can also apply the fig to the skin. You can make a nutritious facial mask by crushing figs and mixing with a little water. Apply it on the face and let it act for about ten minutes. See how radiant your skin becomes after rinsing the mask.
15. Culinary Aspects:
Figs are eaten fresh, while a non-negligible part is destined for the industry that makes jams and places it between the ingredients of spicy mustards and sweet desserts. But most of the harvest is dried and marketed as dried figs, a product that is an important source of income for Turkey, Greece and Spain, as well as Campania, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily. Dried figs are also filled with almonds, nuts, pine nuts, citrus peel or baked in the oven and sprinkled with icing sugar or honey. Finally, they can be used for alcohol production or, after roasting, a good substitute for coffee.
Potential Health Risks Associated with Dried Figs:
1. Laxative Effect:
Due to its high fiber content, it can have a mild laxative effect and should not be eaten in excess, especially when they are dried figs.
Figs also contain natural substances called oxalates. When oxalates are concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems, such as the gallbladder and kidney stones. Therefore, people with kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating figs.
3. Contains Sulphites:
Dried figs can be treated with sulfur dioxide gas during processing to help prevent oxidation. They can also be treated with sulphites to prolong their shelf life. People who are sensitive to sulphites should avoid foods that contain sulphites, such as dried figs. Five percent of asthmatic people may suffer exposure to sulphites that cause an allergic reaction. That is why it is wise to choose organic figs when buying figs.
4. Too Many Figs:
Too many figs are not healthy either. Eating too many figs can cause diarrhea. Dried figs have a high sugar content and that is not good for teeth. So always pay attention, don’t eat too much and make sure of the variety.