Figs are a great source of fiber that helps in controlling constipation, managing diabetes, & regulating cholesterol. Its calcium rich content helps improve bone health. Figs or anjeer have many other health benefits such as reducing blood pressure and improving skin health among others.
What are Figs (Anjeer)?
Figs are a sweet fruit with multiple seeds and soft skin, which can be eaten ripe or dried. Figs are also called nature’s candy because they are high in natural sugar. It is the fruit of the fig tree (Ficus), which is a member of the mulberry family, usually found in Asia. In India, the fruit is called anjeer. Dried figs, like several other dried fruits, are a rich source of phenol antioxidants and nutrients, especially fiber. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that adding dried figs to your regular diet can also help you overcome the oxidative stress of consuming high fructose corn syrup in a carbonated soft drink.
Watch Video: 8 Reasons To Eat Figs
Types of Figs
Different varieties of the fruit can have different colors from purple, red, green, and golden yellow. The most popular types of figs include:
- Black mission figs
- Sierra figs
- Calimyrna figs
- Kadota figs
When are Figs in Season?
Fresh figs usually come in late June and last till the start of fall. On the other hand, dried form of fig is easily available almost everywhere, all year round.
How to Eat Figs?
Figs or anjeer are sweet and soft and theiris often used as a replacement for . Fig paste is used as a option instead of corn syrup and sucrose. Fig spread can also be incorporated into pies, pudding, , , and . Organic are considered a . It is also made into jams, parfait, sauce, and .
Serving Size : Nutrient Value Water [g] 79.11 Energy [kcal] 74 Energy [kJ] 310 Protein [g] 0.75 Total lipid (fat) [g] 0.3 Ash [g] 0.66 Carbohydrate, by difference [g] 19.18 Fiber, total dietary [g] 2.9 Sugars, total including NLEA [g] 16.26 Calcium, Ca [mg] 35 Iron, Fe [mg] 0.37 Magnesium, Mg [mg] 17 Phosphorus, P [mg] 14 Potassium, K [mg] 232 Sodium, Na [mg] 1 Zinc, Zn [mg] 0.15 Copper, Cu [mg] 0.07 Manganese, Mn [mg] 0.13 Selenium, Se [µg] 0.2 Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg] 2 Thiamin [mg] 0.06 Riboflavin [mg] 0.05 Niacin [mg] 0.4 Pantothenic acid [mg] 0.3 Vitamin B-6 [mg] 0.11 Folate, total [µg] 6 Folate, food [µg] 6 Folate, DFE [µg] 6 Choline, total [mg] 4.7 Vitamin A, RAE [µg] 7 Carotene, beta [µg] 85 Vitamin A, IU [IU] 142 Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg] 9 Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg] 0.11 Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg] 4.7 Fatty acids, total saturated [g] 0.06 14:0 [g] 0 16:0 [g] 0.05 18:0 [g] 0.01 Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g] 0.07 18:1 [g] 0.07 Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g] 0.14 18:2 [g] 0.14 Phytosterols [mg] 31 Tryptophan [g] 0.01 Threonine [g] 0.02 Isoleucine [g] 0.02 Leucine [g] 0.03 Lysine [g] 0.03 Methionine [g] 0.01 Cystine [g] 0.01 Phenylalanine [g] 0.02 Tyrosine [g] 0.03 Valine [g] 0.03 Arginine [g] 0.02 Histidine [g] 0.01 Alanine [g] 0.05 Aspartic acid [g] 0.18 Glutamic acid [g] 0.07 Glycine [g] 0.03 Proline [g] 0.05 Serine [g] 0.04 Sources include : USDA
As per USDA data, figs are a good source of water, energy, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and sugar. They also contain a high content of calcium, iron, , magnesium, manganese, zinc, and potassium. They have a good supply of vitamin A, E, and K. Figs are a rich source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that protect the human body against oxidative stress.
Health Benefits of Figs
Figs have many amazing health benefits. Let us discuss them in detail below.
Lower Blood Pressure
People usually consume sodium in the form of a salt, but low potassium and high sodium level may lead to hypertension. Figs are high in potassium and low in sodium, so they are a perfect defense against the effects of hypertension. Reducing your blood pressure can help with relaxation, settle the nerves, and bring some calmness to your day.
Figs are a rich source of abscisic acid, which is a phytohormone that can help increase glucose toleration and have several other positive effects on one’s health. According to a 2018 study published in the journal Diabetes, extracts of abscisic acid from figs have the potential to be developed as an effective solution to reduce postprandial glucose and insulin responses.
Figs are a good source of fiber and several other nutrients. One of the most helpful benefits of nutritionally-rich figs is the way it can help relieve constipation. A 2011 study published in the Laboratory Animal Research journal tested the effects of fig paste on diet-induced constipation in beagles. The paper concluded that fig paste is an effective treatment for constipation in these animals, and it can also be used as complementary medicine in humans suffering from chronic constipation. Fig bars are also recommended when dealing with constipation.
If you are suffering from piles, a popular home remedy is to soak dried figs in water overnight, and have the fruit along with the water in the morning. This has a laxative effect and helps reduce the pressure on the anus, thus helping to soothe the hemorrhoids. According to a report published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal in 2013, they have been traditionally used for their laxative, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
As per research published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, figs improve the lipid profile and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.
Figs contain pectin, a soluble fiber that stimulates healthy bowel movements. They can have a laxative effect, as mentioned since they are one of the most fiber-dense foods available. When fiber moves through the digestive tract, it mops up excess clumps of cholesterol and carries them to the excretory system to be eliminated from the body. According to studies on pectin, it is also associated with lowering cholesterol levels and anticancer activities.
Reduce the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
An animal study shows evidence that anjeer is able to reduce the inflammatory cytokines during aging. In other words, it has a beneficial effect on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s for humans.
According to another research published in the Biomed Research International journal, figs may help improve memory related behavioral declines, thereby reducing Alzheimer’s and oxidative damage due to its powerful antioxidant system. However, further research on this is still undergoing.
Rich in Calcium & Potassium
People that maintain a high-sodium diet may be affected by an increased urinary calcium loss. The high potassium content in figs helps to avoid that condition and regulates the content of waste in your urine, according to a study published in the Public Health Nutrition. It minimizes the calcium loss while increasingly eliminating the amount of uric acid and other harmful toxins out of your body.
According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, figs extract is effective for skin melanin and transepidermal water loss from the skin. It also increases skin hydration and sebum content. Figs are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, which are antioxidants that prevent the damage caused by free radicals. They have a high level of alkanes and therefore, help regulate the pH of the body. The fruits are also used to treat a number of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Provides Relief from Venereal Diseases
Figs have been traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and some other parts of the world as a calming salve for venereal diseases. Ingestion or topical application of these fruits work towards providing relief from sexually transmitted diseases, although further research needs to be done on the exact range of symptoms and diseases that these fruits positively affect.
Where to Buy?
Almost all fresh figs/anjeer in the United States come from California and they are seasonal. You can buy these sweet and delicious fruits from your local grocer or farmer’s market. Golden California variants are also available online. But you don’t have to wait for the season to enjoy it. The dried variety such as organic Turkish figs and dried black mission figs are available all year long.
Word of Caution: Eating too many of these can cause diarrhea. Furthermore, dried anjeer is high in sugar and can potentially cause tooth decay. Also, there are those who are allergic to figs or certain chemical components within them, and the resulting allergic reactions can be mild to severe. As always, before making a major change in your diet, speak with your doctor.
It is best not to consume this fruit in excess in the first few weeks leading up to surgery because they can occasionally cause bleeding in the digestive tract in sensitive people.