Eating figs may help to prevent such ailments as cardiovascular disease, premenstrual syndrome, and hemorrhoids. Figs are especially rich in minerals, fiber, and polyphenols that neutralize free radicals.
What's in it?
Fiber. Figs are an excellent source of both insoluble and soluble fiber (one dried fig has over 2g of dietary fiber). Insoluble fiber may help to prevent constipation, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids. The soluble pectin fiber in figs may help to lower blood cholesterol.
Ficin. An enzyme unique to figs, ficin has mild laxative properties that add to the fruit's ability to relieve constipation.
Plant sterols. These plant compounds may lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and reduce the risk for heart disease.
Polyphenols. According to research, dried figs have up to 50 times more polyphenols than most other commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols neutralize damaging free radicals and help to prevent chronic disease.
Potassium. A diet rich in this powerful mineral may help to lower blood pressure and the risk for heart attacks and strokes. (Four fresh figs have 464mg of potassium, 15% of the Daily Value.)
Vitamin B6. This B vitamin may improve cardiovascular health and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Fresh figs, in particular, are a good source: One serving (4 figs) has 0.2mg of this vitamin, which is 11% of the Daily Value.
Maximizing the benefits
- Fresh figs spoil quickly and should be consumed within a week of being picked
- Dried figs, on the other hand, store well. And, because their water content is lower, dried figs are, ounce for ounce, more nutrient-dense than fresh.
Figs possess the highest overall mineral content of the most common fruits, providing significant bone-building, blood-nourishing, and cardio-protective minerals—calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium—in amounts ranging from about 15% of the Daily Value per serving.
Add more to your diet
- Serve fresh figs with goat cheese as an appetizer.
- Chop dried figs and add to granola.
- Make a pasta salad with diced fresh figs, crumbled feta cheese, toasted pecans, and cooked pasta, and dress with a red wine vinaigrette.
- Cook dried figs in water until very tender. Puree with some of the cooking liquid and use as an all-fruit spread.
- Dice dried figs and add to cookie dough in place of raisins.
Fight Back With Food, Reader’s Digest.