For those of us in North America, fresh figs might not be on the menu very often, but that doesn’t mean we should overlook this tasty, incredibly nutritious fruit. A member of the mulberry family, the fig (ficus carica) has been a part of Mediterranean diets for centuries, and modern science has shown it is a good source of nutrients that help prevent everything from heart disease to osteoporosis.
A versatile fruit grown in many areas of the world including the Mediterranean, Turkey, and elsewhere, this fruit can be readily dried for easy storage, transport, and consumption throughout the year. Though the full enjoyment of fresh figs is not as easy to come by everywhere, the sweetness of dried figs can be found enlivening dishes and drinks all across the globe including the familiar and much beloved fig bars popular as a snack food.
Figs contain a measurable amount of the recommended daily value of many important vitamins and minerals. These include nutrients that provide a wide variety of health benefits for your body including helping you process and store calcium, optimizing digestive health, improving eye health, bolstering bone health, helping regulate blood pressure, lowering your cholesterol, and more. A few of the most important nutrients found in figs include:
In addition to their long list of nutrients, figs are rich in antioxidants. These compounds help reduce the oxidative stress caused by free radicals that contributes to chronic inflammation, cognitive decline, and a host of other medical issues. By eating a diet rich in whole, natural foods such as figs, you can help your body stand up better against the stresses of life and aging that we all face.
Figs also have a role to play as natural sweeteners if you are looking to optimize your diet for weight loss. With their balance of natural sugars, figs can help add a little light sweetness to your diet while helping your body regulate blood sugar levels.
For all the health benefits of figs, they do contain carbohydrates, which might take them off the menu for people who are attempting to follow strict no-carb rules such as the keto diet. Despite being a food that improves heart health, figs can also have negative side effects when combined with certain medications like blood thinners.
Though figs are rich in many important nutrients, there is a limit to the number of figs you should eat in a day. Thanks to their high levels of dietary fiber, you could be heading to the toilet more often than you would like if you end up eating too many figs.
It turns out that high fiber fruits such as dates, figs, and apricots are all easily processed, stored, and shipped as dried fruit, which can be both a good thing or a bad thing. If you are looking for a home remedy for mild constipation, adding the natural laxative power of a handful of dried figs to your diet might do the trick. Dried fruit contains nearly the same high fiber content as the fresh versions, though, which means you might end up loosening your stool if you eat too many dried figs at one time.
It is also worth noting that, like cranberries and some other fruits, if you are on blood thinners, you will want to exercise caution in how many figs you eat. The high levels of vitamin K found in figs can result in complications with some blood thinning medication, so be sure to seek medical advice from your health care provider before including figs or supplements containing fig extract if you are on blood thinners.
At FruitSmart, we know that building great flavors means starting with the best possible ingredients. We work hard to source only the best fruit from around the globe, and ensure it is processed with the highest standard of quality to provide you with the most flavor and nutritional content possible in all our products.
Some fruits are just finding their way into industrial food production, but figs have a long history in dried food products. FruitSmart’s range of dried fig fruit solids are available in a variety of powders, dices, and pieces. Due to their guaranteed low moisture content, they can be included with confidence in recipes where shelf-stability is imperative.
Whether you are flavoring a kombucha or hard seltzer, adding a little nutritional punch to a fruit and granola bar, or working with a new variety of a favorite fruit juice, FruitSmart has the ingredients for success. If you are interested in learning more about our wide range of NFC juices, concentrates, essences, and fruit solid products, contact us today.