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.
What is Fig or Anjeer?
Fig is a sweet fruit with multiple seeds and soft skin, which can be eaten ripe or dried. Figs are also called nature’s candy because they are high in natural sugar. It is a fruit of the fig tree (Ficus), which is a member of the mulberry family, usually found in Asia. In India, the fruit is called anjeer. Different varieties of the fruit can have different colors such as purple, red, green, and golden yellow in color. The most popular types of figs include:
- Black mission figs
- Brown turkey
- Sierra figs
- Calimyrna figs
- Kadota figs
The dried form of fig is easily available almost everywhere, all year round.
According to a study by Vinson JA et al., University of Scranton, USA, figs due to high levels of phenol antioxidants, fiber and nutrients should be added in the regular diet.
Uses of Figs or Anjeer
Figs or anjeer are sweet and soft and their paste is often used as a replacement for sugar. Fig spread is also used as a healthier option instead of corn syrup and sucrose. It is used to make pies, pudding, cakes, assorted baked goods, and preserves. Organic Turkish figs are considered a healthy snack.
Nutrition Facts of Figs
Figs are rich in fiber, magnesium, manganese, sodium, vitamin B6 and K, potassium, and calcium, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. They promote bone density and lower blood pressure. They also contain various other minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, iron, phosphorus, and chlorine.
Health benefits of Figs
Figs have many amazing health benefits. Let us discuss them in detail below.
The fiber in figs helps reduce weight and is often recommended for obese people. According to a study by Dr. Joe Vinson, The University of Scranton, US, dried fruits, especially figs, are a convenient and superior source of nutrients.
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. Fig bars are another option for on-the-go nutrition recommended for both, adults and children.
Treat Sexual Dysfunction
For centuries, figs have been recommended as a way to reduce sexual dysfunction like sterility, endurance or erectile dysfunction. They have been a major part of mythology and culture, and most of the time are referred as a powerful fertility or sexual supplement. Their actual success as an aphrodisiac is questionable, but the huge amount of valuable vitamins and minerals is probably the reason for the sudden boost in energy and stamina that people mistake for a sexual surge.
How to eat: Soak 2-3 figs in milk overnight and eat them in the morning to enhance your sexual abilities; this is why they say figs are good for men!
Lower Blood Pressure
People usually consume sodium in the form of a 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.
Studies say that figs are rich in calcium, which is one of the most important components in strengthening bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. They are also rich in phosphorus, which encourages the bone formation and spurs regrowth if there is any damage to or degradation in bones. Fig jam is also a delicious way to get your dose of calcium.
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.
Prevent Stomach & Skin Cancer
The Faculty of Pharmacy, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Calabria, Italystates that figs are a great source of bioactive compounds like fatty acids and phenols. These compounds aid in lowering the risk of skin cancer. According to a study, figs are rich in proteolytic enzymes that may help inhibit cancer growth in the stomach. High amounts of fiber in your diet can benefit your overall health by preventing certain types of abdominal as well as colon cancer.
The fiber content in figs benefits your overall health and helps prevent certain types of cancers such as abdominal, colon, and breast cancer. After menopause, the hormonal balance in women can often fluctuate. The body’s systems are so interconnected that these hormones affect the immune system, which in turn affect the ability of antioxidants to fight free radicals. Free radicals are prime factors behind the development of cancer, so figs take care of one extra line of defense by providing fiber to the body.
The American Diabetes Association recommends figs as a high-fiber treat that helps to promote functional control of diabetes. Figleaves reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetic patients who have to regularly take insulin injections. They are rich in potassium, which helps regulate the amount of sugar absorbed by the body after meals. Large amounts of potassium can ensure that blood sugar spikes and falls are less frequent.
Prevent Coronary Heart Diseases
Dried figs contain phenol, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases. Furthermore, fig leaves have an inhibitory effect on triglycerides, making their overall number drop. Triglycerides are another major factor behind various heart diseases.
According to a study led by a team of researchers from The University of Scranton, USA, fruits like figs contain a good amount of fiber. This high concentration of fiber helps to 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.
If you are suffering from piles, a popular home remedy is to soak dried figs soaked in water overnight, and have the fruit along with the water in the morning. This has a laxative effect and helps reduce the pressure on the anus, thus helping to soothe the hemorrhoids. According to a report published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal, figs have been traditionally used for their laxative, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
Figs contain pectin, which is a soluble fiber that stimulates healthy bowel movements. They can have a laxative effect, as they are one of the most fiber-dense foods available. When fiber moves through the digestive tract, it mops up excess clumps of cholesterol and carries them to the excretory system to be eliminated from the body. According to a study, pectin is also associated with lowering cholesterol levels and anticancer activities.
Lower Alzheimer’s Risk
Figs are considered one of the best fruits when it comes to alleviating neuroinflammation. A study conducted by Australian and American universities has revealed that figs are able to reduce the inflammatory cytokines during aging. This action is very beneficial in lowering the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The natural chemicals in fig leaves make them an ideal component for a tea base. Fig leaf tea has been popularly prescribed for various respiratory conditions like bronchitis and is also used as a way to prevent and lessen the symptoms of asthma.
Treat Venereal Diseases
Figs have been traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and some other parts 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.
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.
Prevent Macular Degeneration
The major cause of vision loss among the elderly is macular degeneration. Organic figs are good at helping you avoid this common symptom of aging.
Relieve Throat Pain
The high mucilage content in figs helps heal and protect sore throats. The soothing nature of these fruits and their natural juices can relieve pain and stress on the vocal cords as well.
Skin & Hair Health
Figs are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, which are antioxidants that prevent the damage caused by free radicals. They have a high level of alkanes and therefore, help regulate the pH of the body. The fruits are used to treat a number of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Figs are effective digestive aids and are known for their soothing and laxative properties and are also low in fat and sugar. They help in treating various health conditions that include
Respiratory disorders like whooping cough and asthma
Constipation, indigestion, stomach ache, and various other intestinal conditions.
- Venereal diseases, and are excellent for the liver
This is why dried black mission figs are a great snack to have on hand!
Word of Caution: Eating too many figs can cause diarrhea. Furthermore, dried forms are high in sugar and can potentially cause tooth decay. Also, there are those who are allergic to figs or certain chemical components within them, and the resulting allergic reactions can be mild to severe. As always, before making a major change in your diet, speak with your doctor.
Finally, it is best not to consume this fruit in excess in the first few weeks leading up to a surgery, because they can occasionally cause bleeding in the digestive tract in sensitive people.
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