The figs and their numerous health benefits have been utilized by many cultures for ages. Figs have been considered to be the symbols of peace, prosperity and fertility. One of the first cultivated plants in the world is the fig tree, and the first records and written references to figs date back to the Sumerian King Urukgina, 2,900 B.C.
Obviously, the fig is native to Western Asia, and then people have spread it all over the Mediterranean. In 1520 it was spread to America as well by the Spaniards, and it was planted by the Spanish Missionary Priests, which is why nowadays it is often called the California Mission Fig.
The Bible contains numerous references to figs and fig trees. According to it, the Jewish King, Hezekiah, underwent a fig treatment and was cured of a life-threatening plague (2 Kings 20:7). Namely, he was cured thanks to the figs that were applied to the infected areas.
Figs are also present in the ancient Greek, Arabian, and the ancient Egyptian culture and history. There are numerous descriptions of figs in their ancient frescoes and reliefs. They have been considered to be very beneficial and were used by the ancient doctors for the treatment of leprosy, fever, sores, malaria, boils, tumors, syphilis, and measles.
Moreover, according to Plato’s recordings, Greek athletes at Olympia consumed a lot of figs so that they boost their performance and their body strength. In addition, the health benefits of figs were highly appreciated, so that even their export was banned.
If grown in positive and encouraging conditions, the fig tree can survive for around two centuries, and not only survive, but bear fruit as well.
The season of fresh figs is quite long and it lasts from June to October. They have the higher quality when ripe, as they are rich in antioxidants. Figs can also be kept in the fridge and last for two to three days. However, they should always be well washed prior to consumption.
In other words, it is long known that the consumption of figs is really advantageous and precious, because of the fact that they can provide numerous health benefits. Moreover, figs are known to promote weight loss and have no side effects.
Figs are abundant in essential nutrients, including organic acids, pectin substances, proteins, vitamins C, A, P, B1, B3, calcium, iron, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Phosphorus and iron are the minerals of essential significance for the proper function of the heart muscle. They also improve the overall health and strengthen the immune system.
Figs leaves are also useful, as they are rich in flavonoids and polypohenols such as catechin, rutin, syringic acid, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, and epicatechin. Moreover, fig leaves contain extracts of psoralen and essential oils which have powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties. They also have potent anti-diabetic effects.
Some of the most significant health benefits of figs are the following:
Figs help digestion: the fact that figs are loaded with soluble and insoluble fiber makes them very helpful when it comes to boosting the digestion. Soluble fiber is known to regulate the levels of sugar in the blood and to boost digestion.
Figs control the high blood pressure: their rich potassium content makes them highly beneficial when it comes to regulation of the blood pressure and preventing hypertension.
Figs strengthen the bones: figs are rich in calcium and phosphorus, minerals that help the formation of bone tissue and that promote the regeneration of it in case of damage.
Figs help in cancer prevention: figs contain the phytochemical known as benzaldehyde which has been proven to prevent cancer.
Figs prevent anemia: the rich iron content of figs makes them beneficial for preventing anemia and for production of red blood cells.
Figs slow down the aging process: this fruit is rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids, polyphenols, and anthocyanins. These antioxidants neutralize and fight the free radicals, substances that accelerate the aging process.
Figs promote weight loss: figs contain great amounts of fiber and a helpful digestive enzyme known as ficin, which turns the proteins into amino acids and adds to the laxative properties of these fruits.
Hence, with regular consumption of figs, you will improve and help your digestive system. The digestive enzymes present in figs will break down the food starches into smaller molecules and thus alleviate the process of digestion.