Do you know what a fig is? Something to do with a cookie? Most people where I am from think of Fig Newtons when anyone mentions figs. Figs belong to the Ficus tree family. Did you know that figs aren’t really a fruit? They are inverted flowers. Whatever they may be, figs are another one of nature’s SUPERFOODS! Having said that… WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FROM EATING FIGS?
EVERYTHING WORKS BETTER WITH SUPERFOOD!
These puppies are generous with nutrients. You kind of need that to be a superfood. Nature has provided us with everything we need for optimum health… if only we could put down those Oreos for a sec and grab a bite from the goodness of nature.
Figs are oozing with fiber for starters. You will also find it is home to many essential minerals like magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, and potassium. B Vitamins and vitamin K also take refuge inside of figs. A powerhouse of goodness!
HOWEVER,… dried figs actually pack more nutritional value than fresh ones. One dry fig can stand up proudly nutritionally against an egg (without the negative consequences that eggs bring to the table). Figs in either form are also a great source of antioxidants. All of these wonderful nutrients BOOST UP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM!
DIGESTION, ON DEMAND!
Figs have been a popular home remedy for digestive health for thousands of years. Fiber is king when it comes to regularity and cleaning out intestinal tracts. Fiber helps by promoting stool health and keeping everything flowing.
We kind of have to talk about this, sometimes. Stomach ailments can ruin a good day or moment.
Figs also act as a prebiotic. What is this? This is health food for your gut’s healthy bacteria. Many diseases and ailments start in your stomach. Probiotics are healthy bacteria. Feed the good bacteria to fight off nasty bacteria and viruses that invade your digestive tract.
Figs can also help prevent colon cancer. The key to keeping your colon healthy is prevention. Many things in life are not complicated. Negligence is our biggest problem as a species. It is a choice of either eating healthy foods rich in fiber or eating dead things that clog up and inflame your digestive tract. Making sure that you have a regular flow and clean out your intestines is paramount for optimum health.
A diet rich in fiber promotes good digestion
ALL YOU NEED IS HEART!
Show your heart some figs. They may improve your blood pressure and blood fats (know in doctor-speak as triglycerides). Your heart health depends on healthy blood pressure and flow. Maintaining blood flow should be a concern for anyone who wants to stick around a little longer… however, not everyone wants to or at least don’t act like they do the way they cram donuts down their gullet.
Fig leaf extract is also good for your well-being. They help with improving cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Fig leaves are also good for blood sugar… and were quite fashionable in THE GARDEN OF EDEN.
How are figs able to lower blood pressure? Bananas are known for potassium. Figs contain a healthy dose too. Potassium helps control blood pressure. Diets loaded in sodium and low potassium diets contribute heavily to hypertension (high blood pressure). As you may know, the modern diet is overrun with sodium.
Pectin is a soluble fiber. It’s known for its ability to reduce cholesterol levels. Pectin is found inside figs. The fiber in figs also helps cholesterol exit your system in a timely manner.
Figs are also home to vitamin B6. This wonder vitamin’s main job is to create serotonin which is known as a mood booster, but it also plays a role in lowering cholesterol. Dry figs also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are beneficial for your heart’s health.
Delicious, but deadly
BUILT BLOOD SUGAR TOUGH!
Figs are high in sugar… especially dried figs. Your blood sugar levels will amp up for a bit. If diabetic, pay attention to how they react with your blood sugar. But, if you need to get a handle on your sugars, the real benefit from the fig tree is from the leaf. You can purchase the leaves and make a tea for blood sugar support.
Leaves from fig trees may have insulin lowering properties. If you are on dependent upon insulin, drinking the tea may help you lower your dosage. Fig leaves have also been shown to regulate blood sugar levels. You can purchase tea leaves online. Diabetics should give it a go. Half of the world’s population is headed this way, so fig tea may become popular in the near future
SKIN… WE BUILD SMILES
Figs may offer positive effects on your skin. So, go grab a bag of Fig Newtons… break open a cookie and rub the insides on your skin… just joshing ya.
But seriously, a study involving using a cream made from dried fig fruit extract and applying the solution 2x a day (for 2 weeks) was shown to be more effective than hydrocortisone cream for treating dermatitis symptoms. (Study at the bottom of the post).
Fig leaf has struck again. There are numerous lotions in the marketplace featuring fig leaf. Something must be working. Lotions are also made with the fruit itself (or outside-in flower if you prefer). The same vitamins and minerals that are good for your insides also benefit your largest organ (skin).
A study including a combination of fruit extracts (fig included) demonstrated antioxidant effects on skin cells, improvement in wrinkles, and its ability to slow down collagen breakdown. This study included a few other extracts, but other tests have been done with fig extract by its lonesome.
Nobody likes skin melanin. Your face gets all splotchy and splatty. Not a good look for sure. Fig fruit extract can help reduce its tragic effects. It also helps put the brakes on trans-epidermal water loss and skin sebum.(natural skin oils from the sebaceous glands). So what is the skinny on all of this? Figs may offer a natural remedy for hyperpigmentation, acne, freckles, and wrinkled skin.
On a side note… Warts are ugly blemishes shooting out of your skin. Fig tree latex may be able to help. It has been able to resolve 44% percent of the cases. Warts are stubborn little beasts! I have not been able to get rid of one. But give it a try if you have a wart you want gone.
You can also make a face mask with fresh figs… no not for COVID!… you can scoop out the flesh and mash it up… add it to some sticky raw honey or yogurt and spread it on your face for 5 to 15 minutes. This can enhance your skin’s texture and beautifies your face. Wash it off when you are done.
I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR FIGS
Macular degeneration. Not a welcomed thing. As you age your vision usually declines. A natural nasty ailment of life. In defense, arm yourself with nature’s greatest warriors in fighting back the insidious effects of aging.
Keep on chomping on those carrots… they do help. But, the fruit may offer you more benefits for maintaining your precious eye health. An Ophthalmology study recommends eating at least three servings of fruit a day to slow down the wheels of macular degeneration. I am forever amazed at how few people even eat fruit… unless it’s strawberry ice cream.
Figs contain the essential nutrients for eye health. Mix figs with other fruits for optimal eye health. I start my day off with a fruit bowl with bananas, blueberries and an assortment of other wonderful fruits. Figs are a delicious snack (as well as dates) if you want to cure a sweet tooth in a healthy manner.
THE INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE HISTORY OF FIGS
The Earliest mention of figs in history is… oh yeah, the Garden of Eden. If you can believe such a story. Anywho, figs have been with mankind for a very long time. It’s mentioned again and again in the Bible’s scriptures.
Now go back further in time… I guess. History is confusing and one never really knows the truth considering the plague of the human ego. However, the proof is in the pudding. Egypt appears to be the first civilization taking a crack at cultivating fig trees. Remnants of figs have been found at Neolithic sites going back 7000 years.
I would think that figs have been used even way before that. Modern-day primates utilize figs for medicinal purposes. If that is going on with our closest cousins, then mankind has been toying around with figs since the dawn of time.
So eventually they meandered their way over to Crete then Greece. There they became a staple food. The Romans loved aping the Greeks and soon revered the fig. Roman myth states that the wolf who nurtured poor little Romulus and Remus (the twin founders of Rome) did so under the protection of a fig tree.
The Spaniards grabbed the reins next. Missionaries brought the fig tree to the new world. California is now one of the top producers of figs along with Turkey, Greece, Portugal, and Spain. It would seem that figs thrive in a Mediterranean climate.
Figs also made their way to the Far East and landed in China. They are thought to be native to a region spanning from Turkey to India. Western history seems to be kept separate from Asian history. Recorded history is such a mess. India also adores and reveres figs, and has a rich history of natural medicine.
Fig leaves went out of fashion as soon as Eve offered one of these beauties to Adam!
FOR THE LOVE OF FIG TYPES!
There are about 700 varieties of fig trees grown worldwide. But, there are only 5 common varieties of figs. They all have their own unique flavor and sweetness. So, Drum roll, please…
Black Mission Black to purple on the outside with a pink inside. These figs are ridiculously sweet and have a syrup-like juice. They are wonderful to eat as a dessert or toss them in your favorite cake or cookie recipe.
Kadota Green in color with a purple inside. They are the least sweet of all fig types. They are great to eat raw or heated.
Calimyrna Greenish-yellow on the outside with an ambered color inside. They are larger than other figs and have a nutty flavor.
Brown Turkey Purple skin and pink flesh. They have a milder flavor and are less sweet than most other figs. An excellent fig to add to your salad.
Adriatic Light green skin with pink flesh. These are the figs used in making fig bars. They are also known as white figs since they have a lighter color. This is an insanely sweet fig and choice for desserts.
WE ALL ADORE BUYING
Figs are extremely perishable. They will start to go bad within days after buying them, so be ready to chow down soon after buying them fresh. Look for figs that have a deep color and are plump and tender. Avoid if too mushy. Look for firm stems and make sure they are not bruised. Smell them to make sure they aren’t going bad.
As the fruit ripens, their antioxidant levels increase. The richer the color, the better. You see this in tomatoes as they reach their peak color. Ripe figs should have a mild sweet fragrance. A fig will start to smell sour when it goes bad.
Dry figs are more easily manageable and easier to purchase. Dry figs actually are more nutritious. You want to make sure they’re a little soft and free from mold. If they are prepackaged, they should be fine. If you go organic, they will less likely be contaminated with pesticides. Look for the USDA organic logo.
If you find some ripe figs, they will last a couple of days in your fridge. Cover or wrap them so they don’t dry out. Dried figs will stay good for several months. You can store them in a cool, dark place or set them in your refrigerator. Keep them wrapped up to avoid being overexposed to air.
Are figs an aphrodisiac? Figs are thought of as being useful for fertility and as a sexual supplement. Figs are rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc. They also contain the mineral magnesium which helps produce sex hormones like androgen and estrogen:
Many cultures have considered figs as a symbol of fertility. Figs also produce an amino acid that helps increase your body’s nitric oxide which expands blood vessels and increases blood flow throughout your body. This includes sexual organs. Are they a quick fix for problems in the bedroom? Probably not, however, it is one of the gifts from nature that helps your body restore itself to health.
Can figs treat a sore throat? Figs are high in mucilage. This is a thick gelatinous substance found in plants. It can help protect and heal your throat. I wonder if Mucinex derived its name from mucilage? I suspect that it did just that.
So, the juice from figs would be a great tool from nature’s tool kit to help you… or grab some lemon, raw honey, and ginger and make a tea.
Figs may also help with tonsillitis. I feel jaded. I always wanted tonsillitis when I was a kid because I was told they only feed you ice cream while you are recovering. Anyway, make a paste with fig flesh and warm water and apply it to your throat. It is said to reduce pain and soothe your throat.
Will you sleep better if you eat figs? Figs contain an amino acid called tryptophan which will help your body create melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone your brain produces in response to darkness. It helps you sleep.
You can find melatonin products in the store, but be careful using them. You shouldn’t use melatonin every day. In my experience, I have a negative reaction when I take it. Getting melatonin naturally from the plant kingdom must be better for you.
Figs are also home to omega-3 fatty acids. This also helps up the quality of your slumber. Tryptophan also helps vitamin B3 assimilate inside your body. Lack of Vitamin B3 may make you restless, irritable, and discontent. (so can too much java). This can ruin any chance of a good night’s sleep.
Figs also have plenty of magnesium. I used to use magnesium glycinate to help me sleep. It works better than melatonin for me. Melatonin supplements have too many bad side effects in my experience… weird dreams and disrupted sleep.
.Nothing better than sleeping like a baby
Can figs help fight cancer? Other parts of the fig tree have beneficial effects for people. In the case of cancer, fig leaves and natural latex from fig trees have been shown to promote anti-tumor activity in numerous cancers. These studies have only been performed with test tubes, so the jury is still out
Are wasps sometimes found in figs? Figs technically are not fruits but inverted flowers. Figs bloom internally, and they still require pollination. Bees have passed on taking this job, so fig trees have made a deal with fig wasps. They depend on each other. Wasps slip inside the fig and leave a gift… larvae… in return, the wasp pollinates the fig.
The shape of the fig accommodates the laying of wasp eggs, Males don’t get out alive. The females climb out and pollinate other figs. I guess figs do not qualify as vegan. I personally still eat figs after finding this out. WEIRD!!!
How to Prepare and Eat Figs
Fresh figs are really hard to come by. There is such a short window once they are ripe to enjoy fresh. Fresh figs are also delicate and should be handled with care. Rinse them off with cool water and gently dry them off. You can eat them with their skin intact and are simply scrumptious raw.
Figs are also delightful baked, broiled, caramelized, or roasted. I have provided many culinary ideals on the links below. A plethora of recipes! If you score some fresh figs, you can also preserve them by drying, steeping in liquor, making fig jams, and pickling them. Bon appetit!!
Some cultivated figs may be treated with sulfur-containing compounds to prolong shelf life. Check the label for a list of ingredients. Look for contains figs (only). It’s possible to have an adverse reaction to certain chemicals.
There is always a chance of an allergic reaction. If you have a birch pollen allergy, chances are you will be allergic to figs. You could always pay for one of those allergy tests to see what foods you are sensitive to.
I had an allergic reaction to something once. I ended up in a hospital. I was waiting tables in a fine dining restaurant and we tried a bunch of dishes for a Kentucky Derby dinner. I thought it was the lobster and avoided seafood for a while. Turns out I don’t have a seafood allergy. We tried a bunch of Mediterranean food that night with some spices I had never encountered. I suspect it was probably one of those spices. My doctor could not order me a test under my medical plan. I passed on paying out-of-pocket. Maybe one day if this happens again.
Figs, like many other foods, may interfere with blood-thinning medications. Glad I don’t take those. Overeating figs may also cause diarrhea because of the high fiber content. Diabetics should be careful about how much they eat, of course… high in natural sugars
Figs are fruit and relatively safe. They are delicious and make a great sweet tooth fix.
Fruit should be a staple to everyone’s diet. It’s the perfect food for the human diet. It supplies us with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for maintaining optimum health. The two best fruit for a sweet tooth are figs and dates. You only need a few of them to settle a sweet craving. Thanks for reading.
Many blessings, Brian.