Figs (or Anjeer) are one of the most ancient “fruits” that provide the body with wonderful fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Figs do contain oxalate – an organic acid that can lead to calcium oxalate stones in individuals predisposed to this condition. Ingesting too many figs can lead to digestive problems.
The fig tree is from the Mulberry family and this interesting “fruit” does not flower on the outside but on the inside after it is pollinated by wasps. The fig tree loves warm dry climates and the inside of the fig contains many tiny seeds that add to its crunchiness. Some people are concerned that the fig’s crunchy texture may be left over from a wasp’s exoskeleton but enzymes within the fig digest any insect matter.
Figs are a great source of dietary fiber. Fiber is very important for a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Fiber is a missing nutrient in many diets so boosting your daily intake will support healthy digestion and elimination. Fiber is filling and also supports weight loss and healthy glucose and cholesterol levels. Some of the fruits with the most fiber content include apples, dates, figs, pears, and prunes. Research studies in women who eat high fiber fruits have shown a 34% decrease in breast cancer risk compared to women who eat less fibrous fruits.
Figs are high in antioxidant power. This helps to combat the adverse effects of toxic free-radicals that bombard us every day. Figs are considered an anti-aging fruit that has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The antioxidant value increases as the fig ripens.
Figs are also high in essential minerals such as magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper and potassium. Figs also supply the body with Vitamin B6 and K (which helps blood clotting). Because figs contain Vitamin K, individuals on blood thinners (such as Coumadin) should be careful not to ingest too many figs on a daily basis.
Figs also have topical value for the skin and hair. The high levels of omega 3 fatty acids in figs helps to keep the skin moisturized and well- conditioned. A “fig paste” can be used to help dry skin and cracked lips. Applying baked fig to the skin has been used for inflammation, boils and infections. Fig paste has also been shown to be beneficial for acne. Appling fig paste to the skin will tighten the pores and control excess sebum secretion. The peels of figs contain several active enzymes, which can be used as exfoliating agents to remove dead cells from the skin.
Figs are very popular in the hair care industry. Fig extracts are used to create hair conditioners and masks. These light extracts condition the hair and prevent breakage without weighing it down. Fig oil is an excellent ingredient to soothe out dry, damaged, rough hair. It hydrates the scalp, promotes a silky sheen and detangles the hair naturally.
Obviously there are marvelous nutritional and topical properties in figs. However, eating several servings of figs daily can lead to intestinal distress. Some people are sensitive to fiber and this may manifest as an irritable bowel-gas, bloating, loose stools, abdominal discomfort or nausea. In very rare instances obstruction of the bowel has been reported due to the clogging of the bowel from a plethora of fig seeds.
Figs contain oxalate, an organic acid that in high amounts can lead to kidney or gallbladder stones. In some individuals with certain disease states such as Crohn’s disease (inflammatory condition of the bowel) there is a predisposition to these types of calcium oxalate stones. These individuals need to monitor their intake of any oxalate containing food. Oxalate can also aggravate gout.
Dried figs (as with other dried fruits) can contain elevated amounts of sulfites. These sulfites can cause allergic reactions and respiratory distress in a small percentage of patients.
Possible short-term side effects
- digestive upset
- allergy and/or respiratory distress
- interaction with blood thinning drugs
Possible long-term side effects
- bowel obstruction (rare)
- gi bleeding (rare)
- kidney or gallbladder stones
- flare up of gout
- increased sensitivity to the sun (large amounts)
- good source of fiber
- contains essential minerals, vitamin k and b6
- powerful antioxidant with anti-cancer properties
- natural anti-inflammatory
- helps with weight management
- supports good cholesterol and glucose levels
- can help with acne and other inflammatory disorders of the skin
- moisturizing to the skin
- can help improve hair growth
Organic figs (what is this?)
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Written by Dr. Becky Maes | 01-12-2018
Written by Dr. Becky Maes
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