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)

PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDA
Energy74 Kcal4%
Carbohydrates19.18 g15%
Protein0.75 g1.5%
Total Fat0.30 g1%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber2.9 g7%
Vitamins  
Folates6 µg1.5%
Niacin0.400 mg2.5%
Pantothenic acid0.300 mg6%
Pyridoxine0.113 mg9%
Riboflavin0.050 mg4%
Thiamin0.0605%
Vitamin A142 IU5%
Vitamin C2 mg3%
Vitamin E0.11 mg1%
Vitamin K4.7 µg4%
Electrolytes  
Sodium1 mg0%
Potassium232 mg5%
Minerals  
Calcium35 mg3.5%
Copper0.070 mg8%
Iron0.37 mg5%
Magnesium17 mg4%
Manganese0.128 mg5.5%
Selenium0.2 µg<1%
Zinc0.15 mg1%
Phyto-nutrients  
Carotene-ß85 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin9 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.

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About the author: Lucy Liu
As a Registered Dietitian, Holistic Health Practitioner, Author and Speaker, Master Hypnotist, Master NLP Practitioner, Life Coach and Advanced Theta Healing Practitioner, Lucy Liu, the founder of optimalhealthsolutions.ca, has established a widely recognized reputation in holistic health. After many years of serving patients and clients as a Clinical Dietitian, Lucy has devoted herself to bringing a holistic approach, which combines Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, and Alternative Medicine together, to help others achieve optimal health by creating harmony between the mind and body, and maintain long-term success for healthy lifestyle changes.Read More.To connect:
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