Figs, a “forbidden fruit” from the Garden of Eden, are truly one of the most satisfying fruits known to man. The health benefits of figs just so happen to pair perfectly with their sweet little package of raspberry or honey-filled jam, making them one of the most desired fruits out there.
Figs are great eaten both fresh, and dried, and are typically in season from late July to mid-October.
10 Incredible Health Benefits of Figs
Figs are full of fiber, containing 16% of the daily recommended amount for an adult, or 4g. Evidence shows that a diet high in fiber can contribute to weight loss1. One of the reasons fiber is so good for weight loss is because it helps with feelings of fullness, as well as reducing cravings. It also has almost a detoxifying effect as it acts as a natural laxative.
Figs are full of a wide variety of vitamin and minerals. They have the highest amount of calcium out of all types of fruits. They also are full of magnesium, iron, B vitamins, vitamin K, and potassium. They also have an assortment of antioxidants, which support immune health.
It is thought that eating figs regularly can provide protection for a variety of cancer types including breast, colon, and prostate cancers. The fiber in it can help prevent postmenopausal breast cancer. Figs are also known for being rich in antioxidants and flavonoids2. while antioxidants help reducing free radicals which can contribute to the formation of different kinds of cancer cells.
One of the antioxidants in figs, phenols, also lowers your risk for heart disease. Phenols help prevent cell damage and eliminate free radicals, and the fiber found in figs is also supports heart health.3
Insulin Control and Diabetes
Because figs are so high in potassium and magnesium, they can help with insulin control, which can in turn help with diabetes. One study showed that those with higher levels of magnesium and potassium were at a reduced risk for developing diabetes as compared to those with lower levels4. Fig leaves also contain compounds that can help increase insulin sensitivity, which may in the future help prevent diabetes.
Lower Blood Pressure
Diets low in potassium and high in sodium can lead to hypertension. The combination of potassium, calcium, and magnesium that figs provide may help reduce this issue. In one study a control group who ate more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy over eight weeks effectively lowered their blood pressure.5
A study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology showed that eating 3 or more servings of fruit a day may reduce your risk of macular degeneration. The effects of increased consumption of vegetables and antioxidants were also measured, but increasing fruits had the most substantial results6.
Figs contain prebiotics, which help the good bacteria already existing in the digestive tract, and supports healthy digestion. One study showed that prebiotics also improved the body’s resistance to invading pathogens, reducing chances of diarrhea7.
Eating figs can contribute to healthy skin, and fig can also be used topically. Its laxative effects not only help with weight loss, but can also clear the system of toxins which may cause acne. It has an anti inflammatory effect and can be used on the skin in lotions and scrubs to reduce inflammation and redness of the skin.
The nutrients and calcium in figs also support hair health and promotes faster hair growth. Fig extract and oils are common in hair care and conditioners because they rehydrate and leave hair shiny and tangle-free.
Figs provide a wide variety of health benefits, and are very versatile fruits. You can find recipes for sweet or savory dishes, and the fruit is available fresh in the summer, and dried year round. For recipe ideas, you can visit the California Figs website, and Pinterest offers tons of unique food and skin care recipes as well.
About The Author: Andi Singer is a health and nutrition writer who provides unique health and weight loss tips around the internet. When she’s not holed up in her office, you’ll likely find her in the gym lifting weights, or running around with her dog.