Figs, or as they are commonly known in India – anjeer, are widely available in all seasons. You can get fresh figs or even dried ones at your local vegetable store. Figs are thick, bell shaped fruits with many varieties. However, no matter which of them you pick up, one thing is common among all of them – they are all delicious and very nutritious. They taste delicious when fresh; studies show that the dried fruits are more nutrient dense.
Nutritional Value of Figs
Figs are sweet, with a very fibrous texture. They are packed with energy and keep you satiated for a long, long time. 1 Average sized fig gives you about 74 Kcal of energy. It has 19.18 g carbohydrates and 2.9 g dietary fibre. It also contains generous amounts of folates, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin , thiamin, vitamins A, C, E and K. Besides these, figs also contain traces of calcium, sodium, potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
Why Are They Good For You?
Everyone keeps saying figs are great for health. If you have ever wondered why, here is the answer to all your questions.
It is good for the heart: Figs can affect your blood pressure and whatever can do that, is good for your heart. They are a rich source of potassium, a mineral which inhibits the absorption of sodium in the body. Sodium is directly responsible for increased blood pressure and therefore by inhibiting the absorption of sodium, figs contribute to the health of the heart. In addition, figs also contain a soluble fibre called pectin, which dissolves cholesterol and prevents plaque formation in the arteries. This helps improve blood flow in the body and prevents coronary heart disease.
It can ward of halitosis: Figs contain a number of nutrients and electrolytes. The combination of these offers a range of therapeutic benefits. For those suffering from bad breath, or halitosis, chewing on figs can help abate the problem. The juices released from fresh figs help inhibit growth of odor causing oral bacteria and can also heal any ulcers or irritations in the mouth.
It is an aphrodisiac: Though the effects of figs on sexual libido are not well documented, traditional medicine practitioners believe that consuming figs regularly can improve sexual vitality. Fresh figs, consumed with warm milk can increase libido and can help perform better in the sack.
It improves metabolism and prevents constipation: Perhaps the most well documented traditional use of figs is in their ability to prevent constipation by adding fibre to the diet and improving overall metabolism. The soluble fibre, pectin, makes figs an excellent remedy for constipation. Both fresh and dried figs would do nicely if you have been plagued by this disorder. Just consume a few figs with warm water and you will never be resorting to modern medicine for constipation again.
It helps control diabetes: Though figs cannot help metabolise sugar, they can help activate the pancreas and regulate production of insulin – the enzyme that is used for digestion and absorption of sugar in the body. The high amounts of potassium in figs stimulate the pancreas and improve insulin secretion.
It helps in weight loss: For those, who are attempting to shed a few kilos, figs are a godsend. Figs are high in dietary fibre, and therefore they can easily keep you full for longer. This means, you would no longer be snacking in between meals. They are also sweet enough to replace the desserts that you would otherwise indulge in.
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It improves bone density: For older women, osteoporosis is a constant fear. As women age, the demineralization of bones also increases. However, the potassium present in figs can help improve bone structure, strengthen the bones and decrease demineralization. This means, you would have stronger bones even when you are much older.
It improves eyesight: Figs contain beta carotene, a phytonutrient which is essential for maintaining the health of your eyes. A growing body of research shows that eating three or more servings of figs every day can lower your risk of developing eye related diseases by 36%. Figs can therefore also help reduce macular degeneration.
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