Numerous cultures have appreciated the health benefits of figs, and they have been symbols of peace, fertility and prosperity.
Actually, the figs or the fig tree is one of the oldest cultivated plants, and the first written reference to them dates back to the Sumerian King Urukagina in 2,900 B.C.
Apparently, the fig originates from Western Asia, and people spread it throughout the Mediterranean. Spaniards brought it to America in 1520 where Spanish Missionary Priests planted them and are known as the California Mission Figs.
There are numerous references to the figs and the fig trees in the Bible. Namely, the Jewish King, Hezekiah, underwent a fig treatment, where figs were applied to the infected areas and the was cured of a life-threatening plague (2 Kings 20:7).
These fruits were also described in ancient frescoes and reliefs in ancient Egypt and were extremely popular in ancient Greece and Arabia. Moreover, they were used in the treatment of sores, boils, malaria, fever, leprosy, measles, tumors, and syphilis by the ancient physicians.
Furthermore, Plato recorded that Greek athletes at Olympia consumed diets of figs in order to enhance their performance and boost their body strength. Moreover, they valued their health benefits and did not allow their export.
The fig tree may live and bear fruit for around 2 centuries if it is grown in favorable conditions.
Fresh figs are available from June to October. They are the best when they are ripe, as they are high in antioxidants. You can store them in the fridge, where they can last for 2-3 days. Always remember to wash them before consumption.
Thus, the consumption of figs is invaluable, as they can provide numerous health benefits, promote weight loss and cause no side-effects.
Figs are rich in important nutrients, like vitamins A, C, B1, B3, PP, pectin substances, proteins, organic acids, cellulose, iron, sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Phosphorus and iron are vital for the proper function of the heart muscle, they boost the immune system and improve health.
The leaves of figs are high in flavonoids and polyphenols like rutin, catechin, gallic acid, syringic acid, epicatechin and chlorogenic acid. Also, the extracts of psoralen and essential oils have potent antibacterial and antifungal properties. What’s more, figs have strong anti-diabetic properties.
These are some of the most important health benefits of these fruits:
Helping digestion: Figs are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber regulates and controls blood sugar levels and improves digestion.
High Blood Pressure control: Figs are rich in potassium, which regulates blood pressure and prevents hypertension.
Bone Strengthening: These fruits are abundant in calcium and phosphorus, which help the formation and bones and promote regeneration in the case of damage.
Cancer Prevention: These fruits include the phytochemical known as benzaldehyde, which has been shown to prevent cancer.
Anemia prevention: They are also rich in iron, which prevents anemia and helps the formation of red blood cells.
Slowing down aging: Figs are rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, which neutralize the free radicals which speed up the aging process.
Weight loss: They are high in fiber and a helpful digestive enzyme, known as ficin, which converts protein into amino acids and contributes to the laxative properties of these fruits.
Therefore, their regular consumption helps the digestive system, and digestive enzymes use saliva to break down food starches into smaller molecules.