Top 6 Reasons to Include Figs in Your Diet
One of my favorite snacks is dried figs. I buy my dried figs at local ethnic grocers, or at Whole Foods. I also enjoy fresh figs, but these are harder to come by here. There are many varieties of figs, which are grown in warm, dry climates such as the Mediterranean and parts of Asia and California. Figs come in many different colors, from purples to browns and yellows. Figs are soft when they are ripe, like a plum, and will not last long at room temperature, so enjoy them within a few days of picking. Otherwise, consider drying your figs for a delicious, chewy snack. I really love dried figs. Figs are not only a sweet treat, they are so good for you! Here are some of the amazing health benefits of figs.
- May help lower high blood pressure. A standard American diet is high in sodium (thanks to the salt added to processed foods), but low in potassium-rich foods (fruits and vegetables). Low intake of potassium-rich foods, especially when coupled with a high intake of sodium, can lead to hypertension. Figs are a good source of potassium. Eating figs, and other potassium-rich fruits and vegetables, can decrease a person’s chance of high blood pressure.
- A good source of fiber. Most Americans don’t eat enough dietary fiber. Fiber adds bulk to the diet and makes one feel full faster, helping with weight management. It helps digestion and helps prevent constipation. Increasing dietary fiber may influence breast cancer survival.
- Protect against vision loss. The primary cause of vision loss with aging is macular degeneration. Eating 3 or more servings a day of fruit may lower this risk. Add figs to your diet!
- A good source of calcium. Eating a cup of figs has as much calcium as a cup of milk. This is great news for those that suffer from lactose allergies or who need to reduce their dairy intake.
- High in iron. Iron is the mineral that helps create red blood cells and prevent anemia. Figs are a great snacking choice for pregnant women, or those that struggle with low iron.
- May balance estrogen levels. When functioning properly, our bodies produce the right amount of estrogen in each season of life. Unfortunately, environmental toxins, processed food, and even an individual’s health can all affect how much excess estrogen we take in. Too much estrogen in the body can lead to weight gain, mood swings, and headaches. An overload of estrogen can also contribute to hormonal problems in women, and even be a factor in breast and uterine cancers. The list of negative reactions and severe health issues caused by too much estrogen is staggering. Figs can naturally help remove this abundance of estrogen, called estrogen dominance.
Here are some tips for freezing and storing your fresh-picked figs. Now I want my own fig tree! Pick Your Own Figs
Here is a great source for recipes and information on California Figs.
Here is a great page on figs for those readers who like to know the gardening and scientific information behind a fruit. Fig Fruit Facts
Do you like figs? Do you prefer fresh or dried? I love to snack on figs just as they are, but they are yummy in smoothies also.