Well-loved for their sweet, mild flavour and multiple uses, Figs are a healthy ingredient, which adds a burst of sweetness to all kinds of dishes! They are both tasty and nutritious and are a great source of fibre and full of vitamins and minerals. They are typically in season from August until October. Fresh figs are delicate and perishable, so are often dried to preserve them. This produces a sweet and nutritious dried fruit that can be enjoyed all year round. So now let’s find out their health benefits!
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF FIGS
- Promote Bone Health
Figs are a good source of calcium. In fact, you won’t find a better plant source of calcium than figs! This mineral is involved in bone density. Fig’s high potassium content may counteract the urinary excretion of calcium caused by high salt diets. This in turn helps to keep calcium in bones and lessens the risk of osteoporosis.
- Can lower Blood Pressure
Many of us consume too much processed foods, which are rich in sodium (salt). High intakes of sodium can lead to deficiencies of potassium and this imbalance between the two minerals can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure). A diet rich in fruit and vegetables – including fresh figs, naturally increases potassium and is therefore encouraged to help lower blood pressure.
- May help with Weight Loss
Figs are naturally high in dietary fibre, so they can be included in the diet for those trying to lose weight. High fibre foods provide feelings of fullness and can reduce hunger and cravings. Figs also contain prebiotics, which help support the pre-existing good bacteria in the gut, improving digestive wellness. They might also act as a natural laxative because of their high fibre content.
- Rich in Nutrients
Figs are high in minerals, vitamins and soluble fibre. They are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper and are a good source of antioxidant vitamins A and K that contribute to health and wellness. They have a unique, sweet taste, so they are high in natural sugars and can be used as a sweetener.
- Good for your Hair
Figs are a popular ingredient in many shampoos, conditioners, and hair masques. The fruit is believed to strengthen and moisturize hair and promote hair growth. Some studies indicate that several nutrients found in figs can help keep hair healthy. They include zinc, selenium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and B.
- Good for your Skin
In some folk medicine traditions, figs are used to treat some skin issues, such as eczema, vitiligo, and psoriasis.
Figs are a good source of many enriching vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, which can improve your overall health and balances your skin. Raw figs may be used to create a nourishing, antioxidant-rich face mask. Simply mash the figs and apply to your face in a circular motion. Add 1 tablespoon of yogurt for additional moisturizing benefits. Leave the mask on for 10 to 15 minutes, and rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
HOW TO SELECT AND STORE YOUR FIGS
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. Dried figs can be kept in a cool, dark place or in the fridge.
By eating figs, you’ll enjoy many health benefits! So, consider buying some fresh or dried figs between summer and autumn and prepare some delicious recipes!