A sign of peace and prosperity in the Bible, the fig is a fruit native to western Asia and Egypt. It’s pollinated by tiny wasps and produces dozens to hundreds of seeds that create its unique, crunchy texture. When it’s ripe, the fig is sweet and juicy and can turn red, yellow, or purple, or it can have stripes of green.
Figs are loaded with healthy benefits, thanks to fiber and other important minerals such as magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, and vitamins K and B6.
The dietary fiber found in figs helps with overall system regulation in the body and weight management. Further, a recent study revealed that women who consumed the fiber in the fruit reduced their risk of breast cancer by 34 percent.
Although fresh fruit is enjoyable, the nutritional value improves when figs are dry. Whereas one-half cup of fresh figs has the same amount of calcium as one-half cup of milk, a single dried fig has nearly as much calcium as an egg.
The fig leaves also have nutritional value. When consumed, the leaves regulate blood sugar levels. Research has shown that the leaves have properties that can actually reduce the amount of insulin required for those with diabetes.
In addition, figs have a history in the traditional medicine world. They have been used to treat tumors, warts, and wounds. Further, both the fruit and leaves have been squashed and gurgled to relieve sore throats.
Fig extract and dried figs have their own reputations. They have each been found to have ingredients that protect the heart, maintain kidney and liver functions, lower blood pressure, decrease the occurrences of macular degeneration, and prevent some cancers, especially post-menopausal breast cancer.
With all these benefits, it’s important to include figs in your diet, but make sure you eat them in moderation. They do contain fructose, a sugar that can harm your health if consumed in excessive amounts.
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