At home when wrapped in a prosciutto, topped on a pizza, baked into cakes, tossed into salads, or served alongside meat – figs can amp up the flavor of any meal. And if you’ve passed by the produce aisles without tossing in a couple of these juicy fruits in your cart, we’ve listed a few health benefits that will convince you to do otherwise.
1. Fights Diabetes And Its Complications
A few preliminary studies have found that an extract of fig tree leaves lowered blood glucose levels in rats.1 A separate animal study found that fig extract could contribute to the treatment of diabetes by normalizing blood fatty acid and vitamin E levels, both of which normalize glycemic control.2 In addition to this, it normalizes antioxidant activity to fight oxidative stress and inflammation caused by diabetes, which can lead to high cholesterol and heart disorders.3 4
id="2">2. Fights Skin Disorders And Prevents Skin Aging
Add 2 mashed (fresh) figs, 1 tablespoon of yogurt and 1 teaspoon of honey to a bowl and apply this mixture to your face for a hydration and glow. However, avoid doing this if you’re allergic to latex.
Traditional medicine involved the use of figs to treat acne, eczema, vitiligo, and psoriasis. And while there aren’t any conclusive scientific studies to back their use for these specific purposes, anecdotal evidence and preliminary research do show promise. One comparative study found that fig tree latex could remove warts with marginally less effectiveness than cryotherapy, minus the side effects.5 Fig leaves have also been found to be able to fight free radical damage, as a result of which, some studies have linked the makeup of fig leaves to better forms of photodynamic therapy to treat certain types of skin cancer.6
id="3">3. Prevents Heart Disease
Keeping in mind the fact that figs prevent diabetic complications like high cholesterol, it’s no surprises that studies have linked its consumption to reduced incidence of heart disease. Pectin, a type of soluble fiber found in figs, reduces blood cholesterol, preventing the incidence of high blood pressure and heart attacks. In addition to this, the potassium and omega 3 fatty acids content in figs prevents coronary heart attacks.9
4. Prevents Colon Cancer And Maintains Gut Health
Figs are loaded with pectin, a type of soluble fiber, which aids healthy bowel movements and relieves constipation. The numerous seeds in figs contain high levels of mucin (a type of protein) that may collect and expel waste material in the colon regular. Owing to these two factors, the consumption of figs is believed to prevent the incidence of colon cancer.10
5. May Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
One study has found that regular consumption of figs, along with pomegranates and dates, prevented the incidence and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This could be because the antioxidants in figs inhibit the production of cytokines (substances produced by the immune systems) which increase inflammation.11
Aids In Fighting Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Traditional medicine involves the use of figs to fight iron-deficiency anemia. Dried figs, for instance, contain iron which is a key component of hemoglobin. Consuming them was found to improve the levels of hemoglobin in the blood.12
7. May Prevent Macular Degeneration
Fruits have an important role to play in the prevention of age-related vision loss. Studies have found that consumption of fruits, particularly those high in vitamins A, C, and E prevented the development of age-related macular degeneration. Experts recommend three servings of fruit every day. So toss some figs into your morning smoothie or snack of them in the evening.13
8. Are Good Diet Food
If you’re on a diet, figs are your best friend. They are a good source of dietary fiber which fills you up and keep you from getting hungry for a long time. In fact, studies have found that women who increased their fiber intake significantly decreased their energy intake while not compromising on their satiety.14
|↑1||El-Shobaki, F. A., A. M. El-Bahay, R. S. A. Esmail, AA Abd El-Megeid, and N. S. Esmail. “Effect of figs fruit (Ficus carica L.) and its leaves on hyperglycemia in alloxan diabetic rats.” World journal of dairy & food sciences 5, no. 1 (2010): 47-57.|
|↑2, ↑4||Perez, C., J. R. Canal, and M. D. Torres. “Experimental diabetes treated with ficus carica extract: effect on oxidative stress parameters.” Acta Diabetologica 40, no. 1 (2003): 3-8.|
|↑3||Canal, J. R., Maria Dolores Torres, Adelaida Romero, and Carmen Pérez. “A chloroform extract obtained from a decoction of Ficus carica leaves improves the cholesterolaemic status of rats with streptootocin-includede diabetes.” Acta Physiologica Hungarica 87, no. 1 (2000): 71-76.|
|↑5||Bohlooli, Shahab, Alireza Mohebipoor, Sadollah Mohammadi, Mina Kouhnavard, and Sedigheh Pashapoor. “Comparative study of fig tree efficacy in the treatment of common warts (Verruca vulgaris) vs. cryotherapy.” International journal of dermatology 46, no. 5 (2007): 524-526.|
|↑6||Marrelli, Mariangela, Giancarlo A. Statti, Rosa Tundis, Francesco Menichini, and Filomena Conforti. “Fatty acids, coumarins and polyphenolic compounds of Ficus carica L. cv. Dottato: variation of bioactive compounds and biological activity of aerial parts.” Natural product research 28, no. 4 (2014): 271-274.|
|↑7||Khan, H., N. Akhtar, and A. Ali. “Effects of cream containing ficus carica L. fruit extract on skin parameters: In vivo evaluation.” Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences 76, no. 6 (2014): 560.|
|↑8||Ghimeray, Amal Kumar, Un Sun Jung, Ha Youn Lee, Young Hoon Kim, Eun Kyung Ryu, and Moon Sik Chang. “In vitro antioxidant, collagenase inhibition, and in vivo anti-wrinkle effects of combined formulation containing Punica granatum, Ginkgo biloba, Ficus carica, and Morus alba fruits extract.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology 8 (2015): 389.|
|↑9||Facts About Figs.
|↑10||Facts About Figs. NC State University.|
|↑11||Essa, Musthafa Mohamed, Selvaraju Subash, Mohammed Akbar, Samir Al-Adawi, and Gilles J. Guillemin. “Long-term dietary supplementation of pomegranates, figs and dates alleviate neuroinflammation in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.” PLoS One 10, no. 3 (2015): e0120964.|
|↑12||INCREASING IRON IN YOUR DIET. Cedars Sinai Medical Center.|
|↑13||Planting Figs and Growing Tips. The University Of Montevallo.|
|↑14||Planting Figs and Growing Tips.