Figs are the fruit of the ficus tree, which is part of the mulberry family (Moraceae). Figs have a unique, sweet taste, soft and chewy texture and are littered with slightly crunchy, edible seeds. Fresh figs are delicate and perishable, so are often dried to preserve. This produces a sweet and nutritious dried fruit that can be enjoyed all year round.
Figs are high in natural sugars, minerals and soluble fiber. Figs are rich in minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper and are a good source of antioxidant vitamins A, E and K that contribute to health and wellness.
Health benefits of figs
- Fig fruit is low in calories. 100 g fresh fruits carry only 74 calories. However, they contain health benefiting soluble dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and pigment anti-oxidants that contribute immensely towards optimum health and wellness.
- Dried figs are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. In fact, dried figs possess higher concentrations of energy, minerals and vitamins. 100 g dried figs provide 249 calories.
- Fresh figs, especially black mission, are good in poly-phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotenes, lutein, tannins, chlorogenic acid...etc. Their anti-oxidant value is comparable to that of apples at 3200 umol/100 g (Trolex equivalents).
- Additionally, fresh figs contain adequate levels of some of the anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, E, and K. Altogether these phyto-chemical compounds in fig fruit help scavenge harmful oxygen derived free radicals from the human body and thereby protect us from cancers, diabetes, degenerative diseases and infections.
- Furthermore, research studies suggest that chlorogenic acid in the figs help lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus (adult onset) condition.
- Fresh, as well as dried figs contain good levels of B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, folates, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins function as co-factors for metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- Dried figs are an excellent sources of minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc. 100 g of dried figs contain 680 mg of potassium, 162 mg of calcium, and 2.03 mg of iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Copper required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for red blood cell formation as well for cellular oxidation. (Source: USDA National Nutrient database).
- Figs are high in fiber and a good source of several essential minerals, including magnesium, manganese, calcium (which promotes bone density), copper, and potassium (which helps lower blood pressure), as well as vitamins, principally K and B6.