The health benefits of figs are appreciated by numerous cultures and they are a fruit that symbolizes prosperity, peace and fertility. The first written reference to figs dates back to 2900 BC and they are one of the oldest cultivated plants.
Figs actually originate from Western Asia but now they are spread all around the world. The fig trees are mentioned several times in the Bible. One of the references is about Hezekiah, the Jewish King, who was cured from a life-threatening plague with the help of figs.
Ancient Greeks, Arabs and Egyptians have also used figs to treat syphilis, leprosy, measles, sores, boils, malaria and tumors. The Greek athletes at Olympia, as recorded by Plato, consumed figs to improve their body strength and performance. Ancient Greeks did not allow fig export because they greatly valued their health benefits.
Fig trees could live for up to 200 years and their fresh fruits are available in the months between June and October. Ripe figs contain the more antioxidants than the green ones. Always wash them well before consuming them.
Figs are highly nutritious due to the numerous vitamins and minerals they contain such as iron, sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins A, B1, B3, C as well as organic acids, pectin substances, cellulose and protein. They provide various health benefits and promote faster weight loss without causing any side-effects.
Phosphorus and iron are minerals that are essential for proper heart function and they also improve the overall health.
Fig leaves contain high amounts in flavonoids and polyphenols, and fig essential oils have powerful antifungal and antibacterial as well as anti-diabetic properties.
The following are only some of the health benefits of consuming figs:
Improved digestion: The soluble fiber in figs regulates blood sugar levels and promotes proper digestion.
Blood pressure control: The potassium that figs contain can prevent hypertension by keeping the blood pressure under control.
Stronger bones: The calcium and phosphorus in figs promote bone regeneration in case of damage or injury and are also very beneficial for bone formation.
Cancer prevention: Benzaldehyde, which is a phytochemical found in figs, has the ability to prevent cancer.
Anemia prevention: Anemia can be prevented by eating figs because they contain iron which helps new blood cells to form.
Slow down the process of aging: The antioxidants in figs neutralize the free radicals which are the cause of premature aging.
Safe weight loss: Ficin is a digestive enzyme which is found in figs that converts protein into amino acid thus contributing to the fig’s laxative properties.
Consuming figs regularly promotes better digestion, and the enzymes are able to break down food starches into much smaller molecules.