Health benefits of figs
Fig fruit is low in calories. 100 g fresh fruits provide only 74 calories. However they contain health benefiting soluble dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and pigment anti-oxidants that contribute immensely for optimum health and wellness.
Dried figs are excellent source of minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. In fact dried fruits are concentrated sources of energy. 100 g dried figs provide 249 calories.
Fresh figs, especially black mission, are good in poly-phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotenes, lutein, tannins, chlorgenic acid...etc. Their anti-oxidant value is comparable to that of apples at 3200 umol/100 g.
In addition, fresh fruits contain adequate levels of some of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, E, and K. Altogether these phyto-chemical compounds in fig fruit help scavenge harmful oxygen derived free radicals from the body and thereby protect us from cancers, diabetes, degenerative diseases and infections.
Also research studies suggest that chlorogenic acid in these berries help lower blood sugar levels and control blood glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus (Adult onset) condition.
Fresh as well as dried figs contain good levels of B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, folates and pantothenic acid. These vitamins function as co-factors for metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Dried figs are excellent sources minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc. 100 g of dried figs contain 640 mg of potassium, 162 mg of calcium, and 2.03 mg of iron. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation as well for cellular oxidation.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.30 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.9 g||7%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.300 mg||6%|
|Vitamin A||142 IU||5%|
|Vitamin C||2 mg||3%|
|Vitamin E||0.11 mg||1%|
|Vitamin K||4.7 mcg||4%|
Selection and storage
Figs are available all around the season; however they are best available from May through November. One may find fresh as well as dried figs in the markets. While buying fresh figs look for ripe fruits which are soft in hand and emit sweet aroma.
Avoid overtly soft, bruised, fungus inflicted fruits. Similarly unripe green fruits as they are astringent and out of flavor.
Fig fruits perish rather very quickly and eaten while they are fresh or else should be placed in the refrigerator where they keep well for 2-3 days. Place them in a plastic or zip pouch and store in the refrigerator set with high relative humidity. However dried figs can stay for 6-8 months.
Fig leaves and un-ripened fruit produce white latex which can penetrate the skin causing burning discomfort. Fig latex contains several compounds like furocoumarins, 5-methoxypsoralen (5-MOP)...etc which can elicit cell-mediated allergic reactions. If left untreated, there may occur severe allergic eruptions all over the exposed parts.
Eating fig fruit may also elicit allergic reactions ranging from vomiting, diarroea, and itching of skin and mucus membranes in some sensitized individuals. It is therefore people with history of allergy to figs may be advised to avoid eating them.
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