Get the fig outta here: 15 surprising health benefits of figs
Not all superfoods wear capes.
Kale, coconut oil, açai, and other superstar foods tend to hog the spotlight, leaving ordinary foods with extraordinary health benefits off the radar.
Well, it’s time to give the humble fig the praise it deserves.
That’s right. Figs are loaded with superfood-like health benefits for your heart, brain, eyes, bowels, bones, blood pressure, hair, skin, and even your sex life.
Now have we got your attention?
Good. Here are 15 reasons to add figs to the menu and how to reap their full health benefits.
1. Lower Cholesterol
Battling high cholesterol? Swap the unhealthy snacks loaded with unsaturated fats for juicy, sweet figs.
The high fibre content in figs acts as a laxative and can help extract excess clumps of cholesterol as it passes through the digestive tract.
Try It: Blend up a batch of dried fig and cacao bliss balls for a sweet, yet cholesterol-lowering treat. Get the recipe here.
2. Improve Digestion
Figs are a great source of dietary fibre, which promotes regular and healthy bowel functions.
The fibre absorbs water and softens the stool, supporting regular bowel movements and even relieving constipation.
Try It: Soak 2-3 figs in water overnight and eat with raw honey the following day.
3. Prevent Colon Cancer
Another benefit of improved digestion is that it reduces your risk of colon cancer.
Regular consumption of figs helps eliminate waste in your body. What’s more, the seeds inside a fig contain mucin, which flushes out mucus and waste in the colon.
4. Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women, with 1 in 8 women developing cancer in their lifetime. Studies have proven a high-fibre diet during early adulthood is associated with a lesser risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Figs are on the list of fruits containing the highest fibre content along with apples, pears, dates, and prunes. So, eat up for breast health.
Try It: Make a fibre fruit salad with chopped figs, apples and pears.
5. Regulate Blood Pressure
Another benefit associated with dietary fibre – balanced blood pressure.
The fibre in figs helps lower the risk of high blood pressure while the potassium, omega 3 and omega 6 all help maintain it.
6. Rejuvenate Your Skin
Figs are great for your insides, but they also bring a number of benefits when applied topically.
Figs can cure skin inflammations such as boils and warts. They can also hydrate the skin, as well as reduce wrinkles, acne, and freckles.
Try It: Scoop out the flesh of two figs and mash. Add a teaspoon of honey and stir. Apply the mixture onto the face and let sit for 10 minutes. Wash off with warm water.
5. Boost Your Immune System
Figs are loaded with antioxidants, eliminating the cell-damaging free radical molecules in your body and helping fight diseases.
When combined with vital vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium, antioxidants can help kill bacteria, viruses, and roundworms.
When it comes to a fig’s antioxidant levels, the riper the better!
8. Protect Your Heart
The combination of high antioxidants and fibre keeps blood pressure regular, making figs great for heart health.
Regularly eating figs neutralises the free radicals in the body, which otherwise could block the coronary arteries.
9. Strengthen Bones
Figs are rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus – four vital nutrients for healthy bones. Calcium is vital for strengthening our bones, while magnesium helps the body absorb the calcium properly.
The potassium content in figs acts like a bodyguard for the calcium. If you have a high salt diet (hello bacon) you could be at risk of losing precious calcium. The body gets rid of excess sodium when urinating, taking calcium along with it. Potassium conserves calcium and reduces urinary calcium loss.
Finally, the phosphorus found in figs encourages the bones to regrow and repair if any damage is done.
10. Treat Sexual Dysfunction
Figs have been considered a powerful sexual supplement and fertility booster for centuries.
Rich in all the vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium, figs provide an energy boost and increase stamina. They also increase blood flow to the sexual organs due to nitric oxide, which produces amino acid.
Try It: Soak figs in milk overnight and eat the following day to enhance sexual capabilities.
11. Condition Your Hair
Fig extract is a common ingredient found in hair conditioners, as it provides moisture to strands without making hair heavy.
The hair-nourishing nutrients of vitamin C, vitamin E and magnesium found in figs stimulate the blood circulation in the scalp to help grow healthy, strong hair.
12. Prevent and Lessen Asthma
If you suffer from asthma, figs could be the tastiest medicine yet. Figs moisturise the mucus and the membrane while draining phlegm, therefore relieving the harsh symptoms of asthma.
Try It: Blend fresh figs with honey and finely grounded fenugreek seeds into a smoothie to reduce asthma.
13. Keep Your Vision Clear
Figs may enhance vision and keep your eyes healthy as you age.
It’s all due to their high dose of vitamin A, a nutrient essential for good vision. Vitamin A protects your vision by providing healthy eye vitamins to prevent macular degeneration and retinal damage.
14. Relieve a Sore Throat
Figs’ natural juices help soothe a sore throat by relieving pain and stress on the vocal cords.
The fruit’s high content of mucilage heals and protects against a sore throat. They also help reduce the swelling and irritation associated with tonsillitis.
Try It: Soak 2-3 figs in a quarter cup of warm water for 2 hours. Mash or blend to make a paste and apply directly on your throat for 10 to 15 minutes.
15. Help You Sleep Better
Sleep is just as important as eating healthy and exercising.
Adding figs to your diet may improve your quality of sleep due to the fruit’s amino acid tryptophan contents, which helps the body create the sleep-promoting hormone melanin.
There you have it – 15 great reasons to put figs on the shopping list. Your body will thank you!