Amazing Health Benefits Of Figs or Anjeer
The fig tree is a member of the mulberry family, usually found in Asia. The dried form of fig is available almost everywhere, all year round.
A great source of fibre and full of vitamins and minerals, dried and fresh figs have a long and illustrious history. Known for being a healthy and versatile ingredient they can add a burst of sweetness to all kinds of dishes
Figs or Anjeer health benefits includes treating constipation, lowering cholesterol level, hastening recovery from sore throat, controlling blood pressure, preventing breast cancer and preventing colon cancer. Other benefits includes promoting bone health, supporting weight loss, promoting healthy liver function and preserving vision.
The health benefits of figs or anjeer include the fruits’ use in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, constipation, indigestion, piles, diabetes, cough, bronchitis, and asthma. Figs are also used as a quick and healthy way to gain weight after suffering from an illness.
Figs are one of the earliest recorder fruits ever found, with remnants of it being recorded as far back as 5000 years ago.
Figs are fruits that grow on the Ficus tree, a member of the Mulberry family or Moraceae. They belong to the genus Ficus, and their scientific name is Ficus carica.
Ripe figs are sweet and juicy, though the unripened ones are said to contain latex which can irritate skin if not handled properly.
Figs are known by various names in local languages. They are called ‘Anjeer‘ in Hindi, ‘Athi Pallu‘ in Telugu, ‘Atti Pazham‘ in Tamil and Malayalam, ‘Anjura‘ in Kannada, and ‘Dumoor‘ in Bengali.
The fig tree is deciduous and can grow to a height of 7-10 meters. It has a smooth white bark. The fig trees grow wild in dry and sunny areas that have fresh and deep soil. They also tend to grow in rocky areas and can sustain even in less fertile soil.
The fig trees can live up to 100 years and have long and twisty branches that can surpass the height of the tree.
Figs are native to the Middle East and Western Asia and are now cultivated throughout the world. Fig trees have been naturalized in various locations of Asia and North America.
The figs are a culmination of many single seeded fruits and grow to a size of 3-5 centimeters. They are green while growing and turn either purple or brown once they ripen.
Figs have a unique taste and texture. They are sweet and chewy. The smoothness of the fruit and the crunchiness of its seeds make a beautiful combination to eat. Dried figs are available throughout the year whereas fresh figs are available from June to September.
- Total Carbohydrates- 19g
- Dietary Fiber- 2.9g approx. 12% RDI
- Vitamin A-142IU
- Vitamin C-2.0mg
- Vitamin K-4.7mcg
- Folic Acid-6.0mcg
- Black Mission – Black Mission figs are blackish-purple outside and pink inside. They are incredibly sweet and even ooze out the syrup. They are perfect to eat as a dessert or mix in cake or cookie recipes to increase the flavor.
- Kadota – Kadotas are green with purple flesh. They are the least sweet among all the varieties of figs. They are excellent to eat raw and also taste good if heated with a pinch of salt.
- Calimyrna – Calimyrna figs are greenish-yellow on the outside and amber on the inside. They are larger when compared to another type of figs and have a unique and strong nut flavor.
- Brown Turkey – The Brown Turkey figs have purple skin and red flesh. Their flavor is mild and less sweet than the other type of figs. They work well in salads.
- Adriatic – Adriatic figs have light green skin and are pink on the inside. These figs are often used to make fig bars. They are also called white figs as they are very light colored. They are extremely sweet and can be enjoyed as a simple fruit dessert.
Are Figs Good For You?
Figs are perfect for you. They are rich in fiber and many essential minerals such as magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, and vitamins K and B6. So much good in one fruit!
Let me tell you something more amazing. The nutritional value of dried figs is more than that of fresh figs. A single dried fig is as good as eating an egg. Figs, whether fresh or dried, are rich in powerful antioxidants.
Figs form a major component of traditional medicine, and they are used dried, in the paste form, or grounded to counter various diseases and problems.
Uses of Figs or Anjeer
Figs or anjeers are sweet and soft and their paste is often used as a replacement for sugar. Fig concentrate is also used as a healthier option instead of corn syrup and sucrose. Processed figs, such as fig nuggets and powder, are used to make pies, pudding, cakes, assorted baked goods, jams, jellies, and preserves. Turkish figs are considered a healthy snack and can be added to sweeten energy bars, granola bars, and trail mixes.
- Prevent Constipation
There are 5 grams of fiber in every three-fig serving. That high concentration of fiber helps promote healthy, regular bowel function and prevents constipation. Fiber works to add bulk and mass to the bowel movements, so it not only prevents constipation but also eliminates diarrhea and unhealthy or irregular bowel movements.
- Can Help Treat Constipation
Figs actually share many benefits with dates, one of them being the ability to relieve constipation. Figs contain a fair amount of soluble fiber which helps add hydration to hardened waste material. They can either be consumed ripe, dried or soaked overnight in water, though many would prefer the soaking method if the desire is to cure constipation.
- Weight loss
The fiber in figs helps reduce weight and is often recommended for obese people. However, their high-calorie count can also result in weight gain, especially when consumed with milk. A few are enough to get the recommended amount of nutrients, so don’t overeat.
- Figs Can Lower Cholesterol
There are many ways that foods may work to reduce cholesterol, ranging from promoting its elimination, to reducing bile acids and more. In the case of figs, you can thank its high pectin content. Pectin is a soluble fiber that binds cholesterol and helps remove it from the body via feces. Figs also contain Phyto-sterols, compounds which are regarded as excellent natural alternatives to strong medication for treating high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. While all these benefits are obtained from eating the fruit, consumption of the leaves have been found in animal studies to also promote oxidation of triglycerides.
- Improve Heart Health
Figs reduce the triglyceride levels in your blood and contribute to improving your heart health.
Triglycerides are fat particles in the blood that are a leading cause of heart diseases. Also, the antioxidants in figs get rid of the free radicals in the body, which block the coronary arteries and cause coronary heart disease.
Figs also contain phenols and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that decrease the risk of heart disease.
- Figs Help With Diabetes Control
Though figs have a fair amount of sugar, overall they are considered to have a lower than average GI index since they also contain fiber. What this does is make figs excellent snacks for diabetics, since they do not spike blood sugar levels to high. The potassium found in figs also have a supporting role, since potassium helps promote absorption of glucose into muscle cells, and also tapers the rise and fall fashion of blood sugar to ensure that the crash is not unbearable (which would lead to more snacking and hunger). A fig or two consumed as snacks by diabetics help to solve the problem of finding suitable in between foods that are also healthy.
- Treat Colon Cancer
The presence of fiber helps stimulate the elimination of free radicals and other cancer-causing substances, particularly in the colon, since fiber increases the healthy movement of the bowels.
Lack of iron in the body can cause iron-deficiency anemia. Dried figs contain iron, which is a key component of hemoglobin. Consuming dried figs was found to improve the hemoglobin levels in the blood.
Growing children, adolescents, and menstruating and pregnant women specifically should monitor their iron levels to avoid complications. Also, if you are ill or have undergone surgery, include figs in your diet to increase the iron levels in your body and deal with the problem efficiently.
Hasten Recovery From Sore Throats
While rest is absolutely essential for recovery from a sore throat, a little help can go a far way. In this case, you can thank figs for their high content of mucilage compounds- those with a naturally “slimy” constitution. This property helps soothe irritation and inflammation associated with a sore throat, and by forming a protective film on the site, help speed up healing. Many sore throat preparations for sale make use of some soothing mucilage like compound, such as glycerin or honey, and are effective at speeding up recovery time.
Prevent Breast Cancer
Figs are amongst those fruits that contain the highest amount of fiber. And it was found that women who consumed more dietary fiber during adolescence and early adulthood were at a lesser risk of falling prey to breast cancer.
High intake of fiber was associated with 16% lower risk of overall breast cancer and 24% lower risk of breast cancer before the onset of menopause.
Fig extracts and dried figs are known to contain elements that help in preventing postmenopausal breast cancer.
People usually consume sodium in the form of salt, but low potassium and high sodium level may lead to hypertension. Figs are high in potassium and low in sodium, so they are a perfect defense against the effects of hypertension. This makes them a relaxing food as well, one that can settle the nerves and bring some calmness to your day.
Help Control Blood Pressure
It is strange that many people are deficient in potassium, especially since it is not hard to obtain from diet. However, the problem arises from the fact that processed foods are loaded with sodium- which people opt for at their convenience, instead of natural foods. Figs solve this problem as they are sweet, so eating more of them does not feel as much as a chore as eating vegetables do. Potassium also promotes excretion of excess sodium, helping persons suffering from high blood pressure to get some degree of control over their condition.
Treat Venereal Diseases
Figs have been traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and a few other areas of the world as a calming salve for venereal diseases. Ingestion or topical application of these fruits work towards providing relief from sexually transmitted diseases, although further research needs to be done on the exact range of symptoms and diseases that these fruits positively affect.
Rich In Antioxidants
Figs are a powerhouse of antioxidants, and they neutralize the free radicals in your body and fight diseases. The riper a fig is, the more antioxidants it contains.Figs are a rich source of phenolic antioxidants. The antioxidants in figs enrich the lipoproteins in plasma and shield them from further oxidation
Increase Sexual Stamina
Figs are considered to be a great fertility and sexual supplement. They are rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc. They are also rich in magnesium, the mineral that is required to produce the sex hormones androgen and estrogen.
Figs help with various types of sexual dysfunction like sterility, erectile dysfunction, and sexual appetite. There is no strong science backup, but in many cultures, figs are considered as symbols of fertility. They also produce an amino acid that is responsible for increasing the production of nitric oxide, which expands the blood vessels and increases blood flow to all parts of the body, including the sexual organs.
Soak figs in milk overnight and eat them the next day to enhance your sexual abilities.
Prevent Urinary Calcium Loss
People that maintain a high-sodium diet may be affected by an increased urinary calcium loss.  The high potassium content helps to avoid that condition and regulates the content of waste in your urine. It minimizes the calcium loss while increasingly eliminating the amount of uric acid and other harmful toxins out of your body.
Figs Promote Health Of Bones
Figs contain many of the essential nutrients requirement for bone synthesis and maintenance, even if just in small quantities. However, these small quantities can all add up, especially if a person has a dairy based allergy or intolerance that makes it hard to obtain calcium. But it is important to keep in mind that calcium is far from the only mineral required for bone synthesis, since many other supporting nutrients have a role to play. Those others include magnesium, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin K.
An efficient method to deal with bronchial asthma is to consume a mixture of powdered fenugreek seeds, honey, and figs. You can also consume fig juice to obtain relief from asthma.
Figs moisturize the mucous membrane and drain the phlegm, thereby relieving asthma symptoms. They also contain phytochemical compounds that fight the free radicals, which otherwise trigger asthma.
Prevent Macular Degeneration
The major cause of vision loss among the elderly is macular degeneration. Fruits like figs are good at helping you avoid this common symptom of aging.
Improve Liver Health
Figs clear obstructions in the liver, thereby enhancing its health. A study showed that an extract prepared from fig leaves exhibited hepatoprotective activity in mice, paving the way for its use in preventing hepatic damage in humans.
Dry figs are the best to treat piles. They soften the stools, reducing the pressure on the rectum. Consume them twice a day by soaking three to four figs in water. You can also drink the water in which they are soaked. The seeds in the figs are the active agents that fight the piles.
Soak the figs in a glass of water for about 12 hours before consuming them. Eat them once in the morning and then in the night. It works best when you begin your day by eating figs and end it with the same.
A Good Source Of Energy
Adding figs to your diet is a sure shot way to increase your energy levels. The carbohydrates and sugar present in figs increase the percentage of energy in your body.
A study found that fig extract had an antioxidative and anti collagenase effect on wrinkled skin and reduced the percentage of wrinkle depth.
In another study, it was found that a formulation containing fig fruit extract decreased skin melanin, trans-epidermal water loss, and skin sebum significantly. It also increased skin hydration. Hence, figs could be used as a remedy for hyper pigmentation, acne, freckles, and wrinkles
Rejuvenate Your Skin
Figs are great for your skin. Whether you eat them or apply them as a mask, they make your skin beautiful. Here’s a recipe for a mask.
Take one large fig or two small figs. Cut the fig in half and scoop out its flesh and mash it thoroughly. Add a teaspoon of honey or yogurt to it if you want to enhance the texture of your skin.
Apply the mask on your face and keep it on for 5 minutes. Wash it off with water and say hello to refreshed skin.
Cure Boils And Warts
You can apply a fig directly on the skin to bring down various forms of skin inflammation like boils and abscess. A study found that the latex of the fig tree exhibited antiwart activity. This could be due to the proteolytic activity of the latex enzymes
Make Your Skin Soft And Supple
Figs contain a high amount of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps to lighten and even out the skin tone. Blend five figs to get a smooth paste. Add a teaspoon each of powdered oatmeal and milk and half a teaspoon of dried ginger powder to it. Mix well to form a smooth paste. Use this face pack twice a week to get soft and smooth skin.
- Condition Hair
Figs are very popular in the hair care industry as their extracts are used to create amazing hair conditioners. These extracts provide moisture to the scalp and help in the detangling of hair. They moisturize the hair without making it heavy or weighed down.
- Promote Hair Growth
Hair loss usually occurs due to lack of proper nourishment. Figs contain hair-friendly nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E which promote hair growth. The essential nutrients present in this fruit stimulate blood circulation in the scalp to accelerate hair growth.
The season for fresh figs is between summer and autumn, with the timing dependent on the variety. Figs are quickly perishable and delicate, and are usually best eaten within one to two days after purchase. When choosing figs, select those that are plump and tender, have a rich, deep colour and are free from bruising. Ripe figs have a sweet fragrance. When brought home, ripe figs should not be washed until ready to eat. They should be kept in the fridge for approximately two days. If figs are not yet ripe, keep them at room temperature to ripen.
Dried figs will keep for much longer. When purchasing dried figs, you want to ensure that they are free from mould and are soft. Dried figs can be kept in a cool, dark place or in the fridge.
Figs can be consumed either peeled or unpeeled, depending on the thickness of the skin as well as personal preference. Since the insides of ripe figs are rather soft and sticky they can be difficult to chop.
Where To Buy Figs
You can easily purchase figs from any major grocery or convenience stores. You are more likely to find dried figs in these stores. Also, if you are lucky, you will chance upon fresh figs in the fruit section. You can also procure them online.
Great. But how do you select them? And what about storage?
How To Include Figs In Your Diet
Figs are incredibly juicy and sweet and have a chewy flesh and crunchy seeds. They are consumed in both the raw and dry forms. Fresh figs are more nutritious than their dry counterparts, so try to include more of them in your diet. Sweet and juicy figs should be enjoyed without any additions to enjoy their taste to the fullest.
Before eating or using figs, wash them under running water and gently remove the stem. You can eat fresh figs whole or peeled.
Simmer frozen figs in water to make them plumper and juicier.
Dried figs travel well, which makes them excellent snacks you can have on-the-go. They can also be used in sandwiches – you can add chopped figs and dried cranberries to chicken salad sandwiches – or leafy green salads.
Enjoy sliced fresh figs on their own or pair them with an ounce of cheese for a more decadent snack.
Puree figs and combine them with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a healthful and flavorful homemade salad dressing.
Fresh figs are an excellent addition to salads, cakes, and ice creams.
Since figs are highly alkaline, you can mix them with other foods. It will not alter their taste in any way.
Dried figs have much higher sugar content than the fresh ones, so you can chop and add them to desserts and other sweet dishes to add a touch of sweetness.
Processed figs are used in making pies, pudding, cakes, jams, and other bakery products while dried figs are used for preparing muesli bars, porridge, and as an addition to cereals and porridges.
You can also add dried figs to soups, stews, and meat preparation to enhance the taste. The paste of figs is also used as a sugar substitute in some regions.
Figs are high in calories and eating them in abundance will not help you lose weight. So, keep a check on the number of figs you consume if you are on a diet.