The common fig (Ficus carica) is a species of flowering plant from the family Moraceae, known as the common fig (or just the fig). The fig is native to the Middle East and western Asia, where it has been sought out and cultivated since ancient times and is now widely grown throughout the temperate world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant. The fruit is 3–5 centimeters (1.2–2.0 in) long, with green skin, sometimes ripening towards purple or brown.
Here are the seven health benefits of figs.
1. Figs can help improve digestive health.
Figs contain a significant amount of dietary fiber with 15 grams per cup. The daily recommended dietary fiber intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively. Fiber can help promote regularity, preventing constipation, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, fecal impaction, hemorrhoids, and irritable bowel syndrome.
2. Figs can help you have a more peaceful slumber.
Figs have been known to help an individual sleep with its high content of magnesium, which is a mineral that is directly linked to improving the quality, duration, and tranquility of sleep. Figs also help regulate the metabolism, to help reduce sleep disorders and the occurrence of insomnia.
A double-blind study, published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, investigated how magnesium supplementation affects the elderly in 46 participants. The participants who took supplementation had statistically significant increases in sleep time, sleep efficiency, the concentration of serum rennin, and the melatonin levels, all factors of overall sleep quality.
3. Figs can contribute to maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Figs are full potassium while having small amounts of sodium. One cup of figs contains 1,013 milligrams of potassium, compared to 14.9 milligrams of sodium. This ratio is critical for managing high blood pressure and improving heart efficiency.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who eat a diet high in sodium and low in potassium are 50 percent more likely to die from any cause and about twice the risk of death from heart attacks.
4. Figs can help to improve your kidneys.
Figs contain much potassium, which is very helpful in cleaning or washing out the toxic depositions in the kidneys. The drupe also helps in reducing the concentration of uric acid in the blood and reducing the chances of kidney damage and the formation of renal calculi in that organ.
5. Figs can help decrease the risk of various cancers.
Figs possess high amounts of the soluble dietary fiber pectin. Research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that pectin consumption could inhibit the spontaneous metastasis of prostate adenocarcinoma cells in rats. Fragments of pectin combine with galectin 3, a protein that plays a significant role in all stages of cancer.
6. Figs can assist in energy production and antioxidant defense.
One cup of figs contains 38 percent of the mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in some enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. For example, some enzymes disarm free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells), which require manganese.
7. Figs can assist in a healthier circulatory system.
Copper and iron are essential for the new blood cell formation. One cup of figs contains 17 percent of the recommended value of iron and 21 percent for copper. A deficiency in iron or copper can lead to anemia.