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Figs: Nutrition, Types & Health Benefits


For centuries, figs have been popular around the world. The flesh of fig has a naturally sweet flavour, soft and chewy texture and is filled with crunchy, edible seeds.

Figs are called by various names such as 'Anjeer' in Hindi, 'Anjura' in Kannada, and 'Dumoor' in Bengali. According to their colour, figs are divided into three groups - black, white and red.

Different Varieties Of Figs

1. Black Mission - It is one of the valuable and available fig varieties in the world. This type of fig is small in shape with pink flesh.

2. Brown Turkey - This type of fig is largely grown across the world. They have purple skin and red flesh with a mild flavour.

3. Calimyrna - They are greenish-yellow on the outside and yellowish-orange on the inside. Calimyrna figs taste of honey and butterscotch with a nutty flavour from the seeds.

4. Sierra - It is a yellowish-green coloured fig and they are large and round in shape.

5. Kadota - It is the most common green fig with purple flesh and the least sweet among all the varieties of figs.

Nutritional Value Of Figs

100 g of figs contain 79.11 g water, 74 kcal (energy). They also contain

  • 0.75 g protein
  • 0.30 g total lipid (fat)
  • 19.18 g carbohydrates
  • 2.9 g fibre
  • 16.26 g sugar
  • 35 mg calcium
  • 0.37 mg iron
  • 17 mg magnesium
  • 14 mg phosphorus
  • 232 mg potassium
  • 1 mg sodium
  • 0.15 mg zinc
  • 2.0 mg vitamin C
  • 0.060 mg thiamine
  • 0.050 mg riboflavin
  • 0.400 mg niacin
  • 0.113 mg vitamin B6
  • 6 μg folate
  • 142 IU vitamin A
  • 0.11 mg vitamin E
  • 4.7 μg vitamin K

Health Benefits Of Figs

1. Manage weight

Figs contain a good amount of fibre which helps in losing weight. Fibre adds bulk, therefore, it makes you feel satisfied after a meal and keeps your calories under control. Most fibrous foods including figs involve chewing which is another reason you feel satisfied after eating them [1] . Both soluble and insoluble fibre increase post-meal satiety and decrease hunger cravings [2] .

2. Reduce diabetes

The leaves of the fig shrub are known to improve insulin sensitivity and have other anti-diabetic properties according to a 2016 study[3] . Another study showed that figs can aid in treating diabetes by making the vitamin E and blood fatty acids level normal [4] .

3. Lower high blood pressure

If you are dealing with high blood pressure, add figs to your diet. A study has shown that figs contain potassium and fibre that help in stabilizing blood pressure [5] . Potassium reduces blood pressure by removing excess salt from the kidneys and controls the amount of fluid stored in the body.

4. Promote heart health

Figs lower triglyceride levels in the blood which contribute to heart health. It contains fibre that helps lower bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by binding with cholesterol particles in your digestive system and eliminating them out from the body before they get absorbed [6] .

5. Prevent cancer

Consuming figs every day will lower the risk of cancer. It is due to the presence of antioxidants and phenolic compounds in figs that inhibit cancer cell proliferation and reduce the progression of tumours, thereby reducing the risk of cancer [7] . A study done by the China Pharmaceutical University shows that certain elements in figs are toxic to various cancer cells [8] .

6. Treat common illnesses

Common illnesses associated with the digestive, reproductive, respiratory and endocrine system have been treated with fig fruits. These illnesses include anaemia, leprosy, liver disease, ulcers, paralysis, gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract infections [9] .

7. Strengthen immune system

Figs have the ability to stimulate the response of the immune system in fighting bacteria and virus, thus making figs a great immune-boosting food [10] . Figs contain essential nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin B6 that help to boost immunity and stave off common cold.

8. Promote oral health

The antibacterial and antifungal properties of figs work in combating oral bacteria. Fig leaf extract contains active substances such as tannins, flavonoid, and terpenoid which are known for their antibacterial activity in eliminating the bacteria Enterococcus faecalis, commonly found in the root canal after root canal treatment [11] .

9. Prevent constipation

The fibre in figs maintains regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. A study showed the effectiveness of figs in preventing constipation because of its laxative effects coming from fibre [12] . So, if you are suffering from constipation, consume figs on a daily basis.

10. Promote bone health

The fig fruit is a good source of calcium, a mineral that increases bone density. Also, the potassium content in the fruit counteracts the urinary excretion of calcium caused by high salt diets. This in turn aids in storing the calcium in bones and lowers the risk of osteoporosis [13] .

11. Protect the skin

Figs contain vitamin C and E which work great for the skin by protecting the cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals [14] . It has anti-ageing properties that delay the onset of fine lines and wrinkles. In folk medicine, figs are used to treat skin issues like vitiligo, psoriasis and eczema.

12. Promote hair growth

Figs have the ability to strengthen hair and stimulate hair growth due to the presence of vitamin C and vitamin E. Both these nutrients help in proper blood circulation in the scalp to increase the growth of hair.

Side Effects Of Figs

Diabetic patients should be aware that figs are naturally sweet, so if they re consumed in excess, they will increase the blood glucose levels. Figs contain a high amount of oxalates which lead to the formation of kidney stones. So, enjoy figs in moderation.

Ways To Eat Figs

  • Figs can be eaten both in fresh and dried forms.
  • Fresh figs can be used for making juices and the dried ones can be eaten as a snack.
  • Add fresh figs to your green salads, cakes and ice creams.

What Is The Best Time To Eat Figs?

The best time to eat dried figs is in the morning on an empty stomach. Soak 4 to 5 dried figs in boiled milk. When you wake up in the morning have this concoction to reap the maximum benefits.

View Article References
  1. [1] Hadrévi, J., Søgaard, K., & Christensen, J. R. (2017). Dietary Fiber Intake among Normal-Weight and Overweight Female Health Care Workers: An Exploratory Nested Case-Control Study within FINALE-Health.Journal of nutrition and metabolism,2017, 1096015.
  2. [2] Howarth, N. C., Saltzman, E., & Roberts, S. B. (2001). Dietary fiber and weight regulation.Nutrition reviews,59(5), 129-139.
  3. [3] Irudayaraj, S. S., Stalin, A., Sunil, C., Duraipandiyan, V., Al-Dhabi, N. A., & Ignacimuthu, S. (2016). Antioxidant, antilipidemic and antidiabetic effects of ficusin with their effects on GLUT4 translocation and PPARγ expression in type 2 diabetic rats.Chemico-biological interactions,256, 85-93.
  4. [4] Perez, C., Canal, J. R., & Torres, M. D. (2003). Experimental diabetes treated with ficus carica extract: effect on oxidative stress parameters.Acta Diabetologica,40(1), 3-8.
  5. [5] Alamgeer, Iman, S., Asif, H., & Saleem, M. (2017). Evaluation of antihypertensive potential of Ficus carica fruit.Pharmaceutical biology,55(1), 1047-1053.
  6. [6] Mawa, S., Husain, K., & Jantan, I. (2013). Ficus carica L.(Moraceae): phytochemistry, traditional uses and biological activities.Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2013.
  7. [7] Russo, F., Caporaso, N., Paduano, A., & Sacchi, R. (2014). Phenolic compounds in fresh and dried figs from Cilento (Italy), by considering breba crop and full crop, in comparison to Turkish and Greek dried figs.Journal of food science,79(7), C1278-C1284.
  8. [8] Jing, L., Zhang, Y. M., Luo, J. G., & Kong, L. Y. (2015). Tirucallane-type triterpenoids from the fruit of Ficus carica and their cytotoxic activity.Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin,63(3), 237-243.
  9. [9] Badgujar, S. B., Patel, V. V., Bandivdekar, A. H., & Mahajan, R. T. (2014). Traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Ficus carica: A review.Pharmaceutical biology,52(11), 1487-1503.
  10. [10] Yang, X., Guo, J. L., Ye, J. Y., Zhang, Y. X., & Wang, W. (2015). The effects of Ficus carica polysaccharide on immune response and expression of some immune-related genes in grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella.Fish & shellfish immunology,42(1), 132-137.
  11. [11] Nirwana, I., Rianti, D., Soekartono, R. H., Listyorini, R. D., & Basuki, D. P. (2018). Antibacterial activity of fig leaf (Ficus caricaLinn.) extract againstEnterococcus faecalisand its cytotoxicity effects on fibroblast cells.Veterinary world,11(3), 342-347.
  12. [12] Oh, H. G., Lee, H. Y., Seo, M. Y., Kang, Y. R., Kim, J. H., Park, J. W., Kim, O. J., Back, H. I., Kim, S. Y., Oh, M. R., Park, S. H., Kim, M. G., Jeon, J. Y., Hwang, M. H., Shin, S. J., … Chae, S. W. (2011). Effects of Ficus carica paste on constipation induced by a high-protein feed and movement restriction in beagles.Laboratory animal research,27(4), 275-281.
  13. [13] Cappuccio, F. P., Kalaitzidis, R., Duneclift, S., & Eastwood, J. B. (2000). Unravelling the links between calcium excretion, salt intake, hypertension, kidney stones and bone metabolism.Journal of nephrology,13(3), 169-177.
  14. [14] Vinson, J. A., Zubik, L., Bose, P., Samman, N., & Proch, J. (2005). Dried fruits: excellent in vitro and in vivo antioxidants.Journal of the American College of Nutrition,24(1), 44-50.
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