The edible fruits of fig have high commercial value. Fresh figs are seasonal fruits but dried figs are available all-round the year.
What are the Health Benefits of Figs?
Some of the health benefits of figs are:
- Assists in weight loss
Fig is a great source of fiber which helps in reducing weight. It is recommended for use in obese people. Only few figs should be consumed because it is also rich in calories.
- Helps in controlling diabetes
Research study on human subjects has shown that fig leaves are effective in reducing blood sugar levels. Fig is beneficial in managing diabetes. Recommended by The American Diabetes Association, the high fiber content in fig helps to control diabetes.
Potassium in figs also helps in regulating the absorption of sugar after a heavy meal.
- Reduces cholesterol
Pectin present in figs is responsible for the elimination of cholesterol from the body. Pectin is a soluble fiber and also helps in improving bowel movements.
- Prevents heart diseases
Dried figs are rich in phenol, omega-3 and omega-6. They’re beneficial in reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases. Fig leaves significantly reduce triglyceride level in the blood and hence it has a protective effect on the functioning of the heart. Figs are rich in potassium and low in sodium and hence prevents hypertension.
- Prevents cancer
Fig prevents colon cancer. It also offers protection against breast cancer after menopause. The hormonal imbalance during menopause affects the immune system and hence, body loses its ability to fight free radicals. The antioxidant property of fig gives an extra line of defense in warding off free radicals to prevent breast cancer.
- Good antioxidant
Fig extract has been reported to reduce oxidative stress by regularizing fatty acids and vitamin E levels in the blood.
- Protects liver
Fig leaves have also demonstrated hepato-protective activity. It reduces the level of liver enzymes which are increased in liver disorders such as liver cirrhosis.
- Treats digestive disorders
The high concentration of fiber is beneficial in promoting healthy, regular bowel function and also prevents constipation. It is also used to eliminate diarrhea and unhealthy bowel movements. Fig has been effective in treating gastrointestinal and inflammatory disorders. It possesses antispasmodic effect and provides relaxation from the intestinal contractions.
- Used as an antipyretic
Fig can normalize body temperature during fungal infections. It provides anti-pyretic effect as strong as paracetamol.
- Corrects sexual dysfunction
Figs have been used traditionally as a significant fertility aid or sexual supplement. The variety of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals present in fig boost energy and stamina.
Fig Butter CakeIngredients:
- 55 g butter
- 5 fresh figs
- 40 g brown sugar
- 250 g granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 110 ml buttermilk
- 65 ml rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 185 g plain flour
- 150 g butter and 250 g icing sugar for the butter cream
Sliced fresh figs are placed on the buttered cake tin. Cream the butter with the sugars and eggs to which rapeseed oil and buttermilk are then added. Baking powder, vanilla extract and salt are added. The flour is lightly folded in and the mixture poured into the cake tin. Bake it in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes and then leave for 5 minutes. Turn out the tin. Slice and serve fig cake with a spoonful of butter cream.
- How to choose the best figs
Note that the figs do not ripen after picking, so choose the ripest fresh figs you can get. Select figs which are rich in color, plump and give in to light pressure. Do not buy sour smelling figs. Dried figs can be purchased all year around.
- Ways to eat
There are many ways of eating figs in the form of fresh figs, dried figs, or grilled figs. Many food items including salads, jams, smoothies, baked foods, and healthy bars are made by recipes involving cooking with figs. About three fresh figs or dried figs contain 5 g of fiber which causes the phytonutrients in fig to be absorbed slowly. Hence, you feel more satisfied for long period of time after eating figs.
- Puree dried figs
Soak dried figs for 30 minutes in water and then puree them in blender. The water used for soaking can also be used in recipes as it is rich in phytonutrients and also adds a delightful dash of purple color to food.