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Under the Fig Leaf

Updated: Sep 5, 2022


Get your mind out of the gutter! We are talking about FIGS! Those little “fruits” packed with nutrients. Why did I use quotation marks around “fruit”? Because the fig does not produce blossoms or fruit in the traditional sense. The flowers of the fig are found inside the fruit, and they can only be pollinated by a specific kind of wasp! This symbiotic relationship has preserved both species for thousands of years. Scientists estimate that the fig was one of the first domesticated fruit species about 11,000 years ago. Fig trees hail from the southwest region of Asia, the Middle East, and eastern Mediterranean. Now, they are grown around the world in temperate climates. I even have a couple growing in my back yard that I planted 2 years ago.

Traditionally, the fruit, root, and leaves were used to treat a variety of ailments including colic, indigestion, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sore throats, coughs, and cardiovascular disorders. They were also used for their anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. I also discovered that figs were an ancient remedy for topical anthrax.

These fresh little bundles are nutrient dense and relatively low in calories, but they can also be dried. Be careful with the dried figs because they are very high in sugar. Always pair the dried version with fiber, fat, or protein to reduce the sugar spike that can occur (and of course, consume in moderation). We don’t want naked carbs (but I guess we could cover them with a fig leaf. Oh. There I go again).

Figs are an excellent source of copper, which is used in metabolism, energy production, the formation of red blood cells, connective tissue, and neurotransmitters. They also contain vitamin B6, which is essential for protein metabolism and brain health, vitamin K (blood clotting), manganese and potassium. Polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins are just some of the antioxidants found in figs. These antioxidants fight free-radicals and oxidative damage to cells.

Figs contain pre-biotic fibers to feed the gut microbiome and can be used as a home remedy for digestive issues such as constipation. They may also improve blood pressure and lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. They also contain antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.


Fresh figs are a delicious addition to your diet (in moderation of course) especially if you are prone to gastrointestinal disorders. This is one nutritious package that deserves to be seen!


Are you ready to PIVOT to functional health and wellness?


Images: California Fresh Figs Available Now (prnewswire.com); www.purenature.co.nz; Figs - Produce Made Simple

References:

H. L. Aref, K. B. H. Salah, J. P. Chaumont, A. Fekih, M. Aouni, and K. Said, “In vitro antimicrobial activity of four Ficus carica latex fractions against resistant human pathogens (antimicrobial activity of Ficus carica latex),” Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 53–58, 2010.

Badgujar SB, Patel VV, Bandivdekar AH, Mahajan RT. Traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Ficus carica: a review. Pharm Biol. 2014 Nov;52(11):1487-503. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2014.892515. Epub 2014 Jul 14. PMID: 25017517.

Ficus carica L. (Moraceae): Phytochemistry, Traditional Uses and Biological Activities (hindawi.com)

Rezagholizadeh L, Aghamohammadian M, Oloumi M, Banaei S, Mazani M, Ojarudi M. Inhibitory effects of Ficus carica and Olea europaea on pro-inflammatory cytokines: A review. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2022 Mar;25(3):268-275. doi: 10.22038/IJBMS.2022.60954.13494. PMID: 35656183; PMCID: PMC9148402.

S. Rubnov, Y. Kashman, R. Rabinowitz, M. Schlesinger, and R. Mechoulam, “Suppressors of cancer cell proliferation from fig (Ficus carica) resin: isolation and structure elucidation,” Journal of Natural Products, vol. 64, no. 7, pp. 993–996, 2001.

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