The fig is a sweet and tasty fruit, very appreciated. But it is not only for the taste that the fruit of the fig tree, popular name for the Ficus carica tree , wins hearts around the world, but also for being a super nutritious food and full of properties. Reason that made him be inserted in traditional medicine in several places.
For you to get a sense of the power of this small fruit, the consumption of figs helps to regulate the intestine, is good for bone health, can prevent and accelerate the healing of acne and even protects against cardiovascular diseases. Fig leaf tea has the potential to control diabetes .
Best of all, it is very versatile and can be consumed fresh , pure, in salted salads or used in the preparation of fig jam , which is a way to preserve this fragile food for longer.
To show you why you include this fruit in your family’s menu, we’ve separated six benefits and, to top it off, some super easy and healthy recipes, as well as tips on how to choose the best fruit. Don’t waste time and check it out!
6 Health Benefits of the Fig
A fig of approximately 55 grams has 5.64 g of total carbs, 4.65 g of available carbs, and almost 1 g of dietary fiber.
1. Helps you lose weight
Nutritionist and member of the board of the Brazilian Society of Food and Nutrition (SBAN) Sueli Longo, explains that the fig is a “food with good nutritional density, that is, low caloric value (21 kcal per unit of approximately 55g) and with a diversity of nutrients in its composition”.
This makes it an excellent option for those who want to lose some measurements or just maintain their current weight in a healthy way.
However, it is necessary to know that the weight loss process is not subject to a type or group of foods. Therefore, it is essential to change habits, especially opting for a healthier diet free of industrialized products, and always exercise regularly. Only then will it be possible to see results and stay healthy.
2. Stimulates bowel function
Sueli explains that among the nutrients found in the pulp of the fig are dietary fibers , which are considered essential nutrients for the maintenance of the intestine.
Because of this, food increases intestinal transit, that is, the path that feces need to take to leave the body, because it stimulates muscle movement.
3. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems
What happens is that the fruit is full of fiber, nutrients that turn into a little gel that delays the absorption of fat, which is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease. In addition, the tea prepared with fig leaves has properties that reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides. ( 2 )
Fresh fruit, on the other hand, being rich in potassium, is a natural diuretic. This means that it increases urine production, which favors the disposal of salts that are filtered from the blood by the kidneys and promotes the control of hypertension, another risk factor for cardiovascular disease. ( 3 )
It does not stop there. As it is a source of vitamin K, the fruit inhibits the aggregation of platelets, which in excess can cause the formation of clots and, therefore, can stimulate an improvement in circulation and reduce the risk of developing thrombosis . ( 4 )
4. It’s good for the bones
Sueli said another mineral found in figs is calcium. There are 27.4 mg per 100 gram serving of the fruit. ( 1 )
As a result, it can collaborate with the daily supplementation of this mineral and contribute to a better growth in children and a reduction in the risk of suffering fractures in adulthood or old age.
5. Helps control diabetes
A widespread use for fig leaves is in controlling diabetes and according to science the infusion can help with this because the tea has shown a strong blood glucose lowering power . ( 3 )
However, never try to use them as the main treatment, but talk to a specialized doctor to assess whether the drink can be applied as a complementary therapy.
The nutritionist also informed that consumption is free for diabetics, but without excesses. She explained that “the secret is in the amount to be ingested, that is, a portion” and added “the control of blood glucose is achieved through healthy eating habits, and fruits are key pieces”.
6. Helps in acne healing and prevention
The fig can also give a boost to acne sufferers due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The fruit is a source of several compounds that inhibit the proliferation of bacteria that are harmful to health, even those that live and are recognized as causing pimples .
On the other hand, because it is rich in natural pigments known as flavonoids, it prevents the body from sending messages saying it is being attacked and that it needs reinforcements, which is what starts the inflammatory process . ( 5 )
|100 gram serving||Amount per serving|
|Energetic value||41 Kcal|
|C vitamin||0,8 mg|
* Daily reference values based on a 2000kcal or 8400kj diet. Your daily values can be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. Data taken from TACO, revised and expanded edition.
Simple and delicious recipes with figs
Fig in homemade syrup
- 25 figs
- ½ kilo of fresh sugar
- 1 cup of water.
The first step is to wash the figs well, as they will be used with the skin. Then prepare a very thick syrup using sugar and water, but be careful not to let the mixture caramelize.
Place the fruits in the pan, on top of the syrup, which should be large to avoid spilling everything, and cook until they are soft. Allow to cool and store in sterilized glass jars to last longer.
A tip to make it last longer is to boil the pots, with the candy already inside, in a bain-marie for 10 minutes, to destroy any microorganism.
This option is healthier than the industrialized version, but it should be consumed with the same caution, as it has a large amount of sugar, which makes it very caloric.
Fig and ricotta salad
- 4 fresh, ripe figs
- ½ bunch of purple lettuce
- ½ bunch of flat lettuce
- ½ bunch of arugula
- A handful of mint leaves
- 100 grams of ricotta
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Before starting, thoroughly sanitize all ingredients. Tear off the lettuce leaves with your hands roughly and place with the other foliage in a deep bowl. Cut the fig into medium slices and the ricotta into cubes.
The sauce is very simple: mix the vinegar with the oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the salad and the dish is ready to be enjoyed.
- 4 very ripe figs
- ½ medium sized apple
- ¼ cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of crystal sugar.
Chimia is a consistent type of pastry, which can be made from fruits or vegetables, very popular in the southern states of Brazil and served to be eaten with bread. To prepare the fig chimia you must first clean the fruits well.
Peel the apple, removing the stalks and seeds, and take the two fruits along with the sugar to the blender, beating until a very smooth mixture. Place the paste in a pan and cook for 20 minutes, always stirring so it doesn’t stick.
This candy has a more pasty consistency than jelly and should be stored in a glass jar and kept in the refrigerator.
fig leaf tea
To prepare this tea you need to boil 1 teaspoon of fig leaves in 1 cup of water for at least 10 minutes. Strain and drink afterwards. We didn’t find any records of contraindications or toxic doses, but it’s not necessary to drink more than one or two cups a day.
If you use medication for continuous use, are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid taking the infusion without medical approval.
How to choose and store?
The fig can be purple or white in color when ripe, depending on the variety. When choosing, be careful to look for fruits that do not have stains, fungus or are too soft or wilted.
This fruit is extremely fragile . Even his harvest is usually done in the morning, to prevent the mature units from spoiling in the sun and can be sent to the markets on the same day, to avoid loss.
That’s why it shouldn’t be stored too long. To give you an idea, in less than seven days they lose water and can be completely attacked by fungi, in addition to gaining a sour taste.
The fig can be kept at room temperature, in a place where it doesn’t get tight, but it should be consumed within a few days or used in the preparation of sweets. In the fridge it tends to last a little longer.
A curiosity is that the fig is a pseudo-fruit , also called a false fruit, just like the strawberry. What we eat is actually a hollow shell stuffed with several small berries, which are often mistaken for its seeds. ( 6 )