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Advantages of Eating Figs and Health Benefits - Optimal Health Solutions
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What Will Eating Figs Do For Me?

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figs

Figs

Figs (Ficus carica) also known as common figs, are the fruits from fig trees that have been cultivated since ancient times. They are semi-tropical trees that widely grow in areas with long, hot summers.

Health benefits

1.   Rich in anti-oxidants

Fresh figs are rich in polyphenolic flavonoid antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein, tannins, chlorogenic acid, and also vitamin A and vitamin E. Chlorogenic acid is a phytochemical that has anti-oxidative effects[1] and anti-inflammatory effect.[2] Other foods that are good sources of phytochemicals are blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple, etc.

2.   High in potassium

Potassium counters the effect of sodium (salt) to help reduce high blood pressure and benefits heart health. Other foods that are rich in potassium are dark leafy greens, bananas, white mushrooms, avocados, and apricots, etc.

3.   Rich in fiber

Dietary fiber helps remove excessive cholesterol and other wastes in your body, which improves your cholesterol profile and reduces your risk of heart diseases. Fiber also keeps you full longer, which reduces hunger and promotes weight loss. In addition, fiber works as a bulking agent in your colon to help prevent constipation. Chia seeds are also a good source of fiber.

4.   A good source of Calcium

Calcium and vitamin D play an important role in preventing osteoporosis. Calcium is an essential building block for your lifelong bones. Other nutrients such as magnesium and protein are also very important for your bone health.

Nutrition facts of figs

Fig fruit (Ficus carica),
Nutrition Value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 74 Kcal 4%
Carbohydrates 19.18 g 15%
Protein 0.75 g 1.5%
Total Fat 0.30 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 2.9 g 7%
Vitamins
Folates 6 µg 1.5%
Niacin 0.400 mg 2.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.300 mg 6%
Pyridoxine 0.113 mg 9%
Riboflavin 0.050 mg 4%
Thiamin 0.060 5%
Vitamin A 142 IU 5%
Vitamin C 2 mg 3%
Vitamin E 0.11 mg 1%
Vitamin K 4.7 µg 4%
Electrolytes
Sodium 1 mg 0%
Potassium 232 mg 5%
Minerals
Calcium 35 mg 3.5%
Copper 0.070 mg 8%
Iron 0.37 mg 5%
Magnesium 17 mg 4%
Manganese 0.128 mg 5.5%
Selenium 0.2 µg <1%
Zinc 0.15 mg 1%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 85 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 9 µg

 

In Chinese medicine, Figs are considered as neutral, which does not affect the balance of “Yin” and “Yang”. Figs are also good for fever and promote the health of your lungs; help reduces phlegm and inflammations.

Precaution

Figs are high in oxalate, if you have kidney stones, especially calcium-oxalate kidney stones, you may be recommended to follow a low oxalate diet. High concentration of calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus in the kidney increases the formation of kidney stones.

How to choose and store figs

Ripe figs should not be washed until ready to eat. They are delicate and perishable, best to eat them within 1-2 days after purchase. When choosing figs, select those that have a deep color, free from bruising, plump and tender; they should be kept in the fridge, but you could keep them at room temperature if they are not ripe yet.

Health fig recipes

  • Fresh Fig & Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese

Ingredients (6 servings)

Fig SaladArugula (baby):8 cups

Figs (fresh, washed and quartered): 8

Goat cheese (semi-soft): 1 3/4 oz.

Balsamic vinegar: 2 tbsps.

Olive oil (extra virgin): 2 tbsps.

Basil (Fresh, chopped): 2 tbsps.

Pine nuts: 2 tbsps.

Preparation:

  1. Toss arugula, figs, goat cheese, basil and pine nuts together in a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salad before serving.

 

  • Grilled Figs with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto

Ingredients (4 servings)

Goat cheese (fresh, soft): 8 oz.

Rosemary (Fresh, finely chopped): 2 Tbsps.

Figs (fresh): 24

Olive oil

Black pepper and salt

Prosciutto (thinly sliced): ¼ pound

Preparation

  1. Combine goat cheese, rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl, stir and mix well, set the cheese mixture aside.
  2. Make a small slit in bottom or side of each fig. Fill a pastry bag with a small plain tip with cheese mixture. Squeeze the cheese mixture into each fig through the slit. Fill figs with enough cheese so they expand slightly.
  3. Cut the prosciutto slices into long strips. Wrap a strip of prosciutto around each fig.  Brush figs with olive oil and season with pepper.
  4. Place figs on a hot grill with moderate temperature, rotating skewers until figs are very hot and cheese starts to melt, about 6 minutes. Remove figs from the grill and serve immediately.

 

  • Fresh fig milkshake

fig-milkshake

Ingredients (2 servings)

Whole milk: 6 oz.

Figs (fresh, quartered, remove stem first): 4

Banana (frozen, cut): 1

Cinnamon: ¼ tsp.

Preparation:

Place all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Ginger is another powerful healing food.

References
1.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20589860
2.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22285519

Quote

To get rich never risk your health. For it is the truth that health is the wealth of wealth. Richard Baker

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