Fig, properties and benefits of the fruit of the philosophers

Among the sweet fruits, we find the fig, a formidable sweet fruit with medicinal properties that will surprise you.

What is the fig?

The fig is the fruit of the fig tree ( Ficus carica ). Figs are the fruit of the fig tree. This means that the fig is a set of fruits.

There are many kinds of figs, but they are all inedible.

This curious fruit needs to be well ripe in order to be consumed with the highest qualities. It has a formidable taste and benefits for our health.

The fig is usually round in shape, with a reddish and granular pulp covered with a greenish, black or purple skin , depending on its variety. The skin is edible, although normally only the inside is eaten.

Origin of the fig

There are historical data that place the fig tree in Arabia , although the most massive crops are concentrated in Western Asia .

The fig has been part of the diet of different cultures.

There are historical records that speak of this sweet fruit in ancient Egypt . In ancient Greece they also spoke of the fig, being Plato’s favorite food and that he tells us in his writings calling it “ the fruit of the philosophers ”.

Figs were an energy food that was already used in the first Olympics by elite athletes. This fruit is also related to the Phoenicians and the Romans.

It is a food that has settled in the different regions of the Mediterranean and it is believed that the Phoenicians were the ones who introduced it to the Iberian Peninsula.

At present, in the European Union, Spain leads the countries with the highest production of figs, along with Greece and Portugal.

What comes first the fig or the fig?

We can not speak of the fig not to mention the Breva , his predecessor.

In some of the varieties of the fig tree, it bears fruit twice a year. One is the fig we are talking about and the fruit begins to be picked at the end of August. The other fruit that the fig tree gives us, the figs, which are the predecessors of figs and are normally collected in June.

That is to say, some varieties of the fig tree give us two types of fruits , the figs first, in June and the figs later, in August.

Fig season

The most optimal season for fig harvesting is during the months of exhaustion and October. however, we can find some varieties of figs from the month of July. Therefore, we have to take advantage of this delicious fruit, since the season is very short.

You can check the calendar of the  fruit season  to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with  more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.

How do you eat the fig?

With figs we have to take some precaution, since if they are not in an optimal state of maturation, they can contain a whitish or milky liquid that can cause skin irritations or digestive discomfort .

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As always, we recommend eating figs or figs raw and fresh, as it is the best way to enjoy their beneficial properties for our health.

Eat raw figs

The most common way to eat fresh figs is by removing the thin skin they have and eating the inside . Better that they are not hot so that it is more pleasant in the mouth.

There are also other ways to consume this fabulous food. One of them in syrup with the opportunity to continue enjoying the fig out of season. Only water, sugar and lemon peel are used to make the syrup.

Only in summer can we enjoy this delight, so different recipes can be made to enjoy the properties of this fabulous fruit all year round.

Recipes with figs

The fig jam also becomes another increasingly popular option for those who want to enjoy this delicacy and also healthy.

This recipe is ideal to share with friends as starters or simply as a snack. An ideal recipe is to add on a crusty bread, a fabulous fig jam with walnuts, raisins or a delicious cheese.

The fig is a sweet fruit like custard apples , plums or papaya . Thanks to this feature, we can use it in different dessert recipes .

The fig smoothie is a recipe that, although it has a certain amount of sugar, is delicious and also provides us with fiber. The ice cream is another healthy recipe increasingly common to find in summer because its flavor does not leave anyone indifferent.

Also, combining it with other fresh fruits, water or other fresh foods such as vegetables, we can obtain a restorative and very healthy drink.

We can also incorporate them in recipes for salads or sautéed vegetables, since their sweet touch provides a different touch. As we have already mentioned, it combines very well with cheeses, but we can also combine it with cereals and yogurts .

Dry fig

We cannot ignore one of the most used ways to eat the fig, surely many of you have already tried it. It is about the dried fig.

We can see dried figs more normally in winter, being very typical at Christmas to see them in our markets, either as dried figs or as fig bread.

Although it is advisable to consume them in moderation due to their sugar content and caloric intake, they have many beneficial nutritional properties for our health.

This dried fruit cannot be missing in our kitchen, especially, out of season of the fig.

Kinds of figs

Figs can be classified into three large groups according to their color.

  • White figs have their whitish, yellowish or greenish skin.
  • The colored ones have a bluish-brown skin with different blue tones.
  • The black variety that present a black color that can vary from very dark red, purple or totally black tones.

Fig properties

As in all fruits, the main component of fig is water . In addition, we can talk about carbohydrates. It is one of the fruits with the highest sugar content so consumption for diabetics has to be in moderation .

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Thanks to its energy value, its consumption is highly recommended for people who regularly engage in sports or intense physical activity.

Although the protein content is not high, it contains all the essential amino acids .

Although it is a fruit rich in carbohydrates and sugars, it has a large amount of fiber, which is why it produces a great feeling of satiety and favors intestinal transit.

It is also a fruit that contains different minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, although the presence of potassium is more remarkable.

In addition, they provide us with vitamin B6 and copper. This mineral is involved in bodily processes, including metabolism and energy production. Also in the formation of blood cells, connective tissues and neurotransmitters. [1]

Average nutritional value per 100 grams of figs

Calories65,40 Kcal
Carbohydrates17 g
Fiber2,6 g
Potassium232 mg
Magnesium20 mg
Football39 mg
Provitamina A26 mcg
C vitamin3,4 mg

Fig benefits

Thanks to the nutritional properties that figs have, they provide us with different benefits to our health .

1. Power source

Like the passion fruit , it has a large amount of carbohydrates, so it is a food that provides us with energy .

2. Natural laxative

It is a food that helps us against constipation.  In addition, it regulates intestinal transit in a natural way thanks to its high contribution in soluble fiber. [2]

3. A help for our bones

This fruit helps us with the density of our bones thanks to the contribution of calcium , in addition to other minerals, that it provides us.

4. Help our heart

This fruit helps us control hypertension thanks to the fact that it provides us with trace elements (fiber, potassium and magnesium) that help control blood pressure

Different studies have been carried out with animals where it is shown that the consumption of figs reduces high blood pressure. [3]

5. Helps control cholesterol

Different studies show that its consumption improves cholesterol and triglyceride levels , when the diet is supplemented with fig leaf extract. [4]

6. Great antioxidant power

Provitamin A or beta carotene provide, which are transformed in the body into vitamin A . Type A vitamin is very antioxidant.

7. Beneficial for healthy skin

The antioxidant power of figs help us maintain healthy skin. In addition, they have favorable effects in people with allergic dermatitis, dry or itchy skin as a result of allergies. [5]

8. Natural energy supply

Thanks to the contribution of carbohydrates, it is a magnificent natural restorative that is highly recommended by people who perform intense physical exercise, since in addition to the energy contribution they provide us with mineral salts that we lose in sports exercise.

Conclusions

To finish, we recommend the consumption of the fig, either fresh or dried. They are foods that, since ancient times, have fallen in love with us, both for their benefits and their delicious taste. Therefore, it is an ingredient that can not be missing in our kitchen and it is ideal to incorporate it into our diet.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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