The fig has a long history of being a powerful, healthy, food. Figs are rich in minerals, vitamins, and other phytonutrients and they provide an impressive number of health benefits.
Here are reasons to include figs in your health program:
- Figs improve regularity. Figs contain a proteolytic enzyme, ficin , which along with a high fiber content, acts as a mild laxative. A ½ cup serving of dried figs contains about 7 grams of fiber. That will certainly give your daily fiber intake a healthy boost!
- Figs contribute to maintaining bone density. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, diets rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin K help prevent bone loss. Figs provide all of these nutrients. Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium.
- Figs reduce the risk of cancer.Fresh figs are a rich source of antioxidants, known to protect us from cancers and degenerative diseases. Studies show that the increase in antioxidant capacity from eating figs lasts for 4 hours after consumption.
- Figs promote heart health. The high fiber content helps control cholesterol levels, the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids promote flexible arteries, and the potassium to sodium ratio lowers blood pressure.
In addition to these amazing facts about figs, they have also been shown to improve the skin, help sleep disorders, and reduce fatigue. Add figs to your whole food diet. Your body will thank you!
How to Select Fresh FigsLove that sweet taste and squishy feel! Figs are in season once in early summer and again in late summer through fall. Choose wrinkled, plump, or even split figs. A bent stem and wrinkled skin indicates superior flavor. Avoid figs that are withered, mushy, leaking fluid or wet around the stem. Eat right away! Fresh figs won’t last more than 48 hours…a little longer in the ‘fridge but the cold lessens their flavor.
By Christina Leidenheimer