- Losing Weight: Figs contain a lot of fiber and a helpful digestive enzyme called ficin. It metabolizes protein into amino acids. This means that regular consumption of figs promotes a healthy digestive system. Digestive enzymes use saliva to break down food starches into smaller molecules. Ficin also contributes to the laxative properties of figs.
- Preventing Cancer: Figs contain the phytochemical called benzaldehyde, and according to research, is shown to have cancer-fighting capabilities.
- Slowing Down Aging Process: Figs are high in antioxidants like flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocyanins. Antioxidants contained in figs help neutralize the free radicals that accelerate the aging process.
- Controlling High Blood Pressure: Figs are packed with potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure and hypertension.
- Promoting Strong Bones: Figs are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which promotes bone formation and helps in their regrowth if there is any damage or decay.
- Preventing Anemia: Figs are very high in iron, the mineral that helps create red blood cells and prevent anemia.
- Helping Digestion: Figs are high in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps stabilize and lower blood sugar levels and helps with digestion. Figs also contain pre-biotics which help support the existing good bacteria in the gut, improving digestive wellness.
- Fig Leaf May Reduce Insulin Needs in Diabetics: The leaves of the fig have repeatedly been shown to have anti-diabetic properties and can actually reduce the amount of insulin needed by persons with diabetes who require insulin injections. In one study, a liquid extract made from fig leaves was simply added to the breakfast of insulin-dependent diabetic subjects in order to produce this insulin-lowering effect.
- Aphrodisiac: Figs will have you and your partner acting like teenagers again. "They're considered excellent stimulants of fertility and enhance the secretion of pheromones," say Drs. Clement. Feast on up to five figs before getting it on and find out for yourself.
- Athletes: In Ancient Greece, the first Olympians not only savored the fruit, but wore them as medals for their achievements. It is believed that the first documented information about a special diet of a Greek athlete was Charmis of Sparta. He is said to have trained on dried figs. I’m not surprised as figs are high in carbohydrates making them an excellent energy source. They are also very high in minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium, minerals which are beneficial to athletes.
Figs are today’s featured powerfood because, overall, their nutritional value is quite impressive. They have the highest mineral and fiber content of all common fruits, nuts, or vegetables. One serving of figs (fresh or dried) provides 6% of the Daily Value for calcium and iron, and 7% of the Daily Value for potassium. Figs are an excellent source of dietary fiber (1 serving provides 5 grams of fiber — 20% of the Daily Value!).
The fruit also is rich in antioxidants, which appear to increase as they ripen. It’s no wonder they’re called “nature’s most nearly perfect fruit.”