Healthy gut, strong bones: Some benefits of eating figs
Shaped like a teardrop, figs are filled with hundreds of seeds and covered by an edible peel that ranges from green to violet in color. Figs are sweet and have a soft but chewy texture with crunchy seeds. Since figs are delicate they are often dried and eaten later. Before the invention of refined sugar, figs were used as natural sweeteners.
- Figs are fleshy fruits that have strong antioxidant, antidiabetic, and anti-obesogenic activity.
- The antidiabetic activity of figs is due to the inhibition of enzymes involved in the breakdown of starch (α-amylase and α-glucosidase).
- The anti-obesogenic effect is due to anti-lipase activity, an enzyme that helps with fatty acid digestion in the intestines.
- In traditional medicine, figs are also used for their antihypertensive effect.
Fresh figs are nutrient-rich fruits that are low in calories, therefore a perfect addition to a healthy diet plan. They decrease the risk of heart diseases, promote healthy digestion, and regulate your blood sugar levels. Like every food, figs are healthy as long as consumed in moderation. The sugars in the fruit can add up rapidly if you eat too many at once.
Figs are a natural laxative. The fruit is used as a home remedy for constipation. The fiber in the fruit has prebiotic properties, which feeds the gut's good bacteria, promoting gut health. A study on people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome with constipation concluded that those who ate dried figs twice daily displayed a decrease in symptoms.
Figs contain both calcium and potassium, therefore they can improve bone density and prevent the risk of osteoporosis. A potassium-rich diet has proved to help improve bone health and lessen bone turnover. Calcium is also crucial for growing children and adolescents as it helps in building strong bones and can advance bone mineral structure. So, figs are equally beneficial for kids and adults.
Figs help control sebum production and prevent epidermal water loss. The topical application of figs can also reduce wrinkles by promoting collagen production. Figs may be highly beneficial for people with dry and itchy skin. A study involving children with dermatitis found that a cream made from fig extract was more effective than the standard treatment.
Those who are on a low oxalate diet should not eat figs as they are rich in oxalates. If you are taking blood-thinning medication you should limit consumption of figs and other food rich in vitamin K. Those allergic to birch pollen or latex may undergo a reaction to figs. Eating too many figs may also cause diarrhea owing to their anti-constipation properties.