Figs are native to the Middle East and Western Asia and are now cultivated throughout the world. Figs have a unique taste and texture. They are sweet and chewy. The smoothness of the fruit and the crunchiness of its seeds make a beautiful combination to eat. Dried figs are available throughout the year whereas fresh figs are available from June to September.
Figs are oval or pear-shaped and come in white, green, red, yellow, purple, and black colors. You can eat them raw and fresh, dried, or incorporate them in various recipes
The name ‘fig’ originates from a Latin word called ‘ficus’ and an older Hebrew name called ‘feg.’ Figs are known to be the first fruits to be harvested and cultivated. They were native to India and Turkey and came to America in the 1500s.
Figs were used as sweeteners by the Assyrians in 3000 B.C. The fig plant is known to be the first plant to be cultivated by humans.
The Nutrition Facts of Figs
Figs are a powerhouse of various essential nutrients. They are rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins. Dried figs are highly concentrated in minerals and vitamins.
Figs reduce the triglyceride levels in your blood and contribute to improving your heart health. Figs also contain vitamin B6 that is responsible for producing serotonin. This serotonin boosts your mood and lowers cholesterol.
Figs are a powerhouse of antioxidants, and they neutralize the free radicals in your body and fight diseases. The riper a fig is, the more antioxidants it contains
Figs contain calcium, potassium, and magnesium, all of which aid bone health Figs improve bone density and decrease the breakdown of bones, which begins as you age
Figs are amongst those fruits that contain the highest amount of fiber
- Dried figs contain iron, which is a key component of hemoglobin. Consuming dried figs was found to improve the hemoglobin levels in the blood
- It is well known that figs are a recurring theme in religion: it is the first fruit tree mentioned in the Bible, and some traditions believe that it was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. It was the tree under which Buddha received enlightenment. Figs can also have powerful impacts on everyday life, both in a positive or negative fashion. For instance, Kikuyu women in Africa smear themselves with the sap of fig trees to ensure pregnancy. In Bolivia, soul-stealing spirits dwell in the canopy of figs and walking under, or felling, these trees can cause illness. In Papua New Guinea, figs are believed to be the haunt of evil spirits which would be released if they are felled.
And for the many of us who live in the Middle East, we are blessed with myriad of fruits with the natural goodness of sugars, yet we choose processed foods. It’s time to make that change – that switch and make fruits a consistent portion of our daily diets