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Historians often cite the Middle East as the home of civilization. Some of the earliest records of this culture describe the grains, vegetables, and fruits that they learned to grow from native wild species, such as fig trees. Modern science is discovering the many benefits of adding figs to your diet.
FIGS: AMBROSIA OF THE GODS
For thousands of years, eastern cultures recognized figs as a delicacy fit for divinity, royalty, and workers alike. As trade and discovery spread from the eastern to the western hemisphere, fig trees were among the many shared plants.
Sacred texts, art and literature around the world adore this tender fruit. In the Christian tradition, early humans sewed fig leaves to make aprons to hide their nakedness. For those of the Muslim faith, these sweet orbs were considered a divine blessing, along with olives and grapes.
In the afterlife traditions of ancient Egypt, royal souls were said to be encased in one of these fruits after death. The first myths associated certain species with natural spirits, both good and bad. For some cultures, both were feared and adored.
They have been a respectful representation of history and culture, which continues today. If you can't find figs seasonally, you can usually find them dried or canned as a paste. While they tend to be a bit pricey, they are worth it.
FIG FRUIT OR FLOWER?
When you mention these teardrop shaped fruits, many people immediately associate them with a filled cookie of the same name. If you enjoy these delicious cakes, you will love figs in their fresh form. The tender and meaty interior provides a delicate sweetness that can complement savory or sweet dishes.
The common fig, also known as Ficus, is a relative of the mulberry tree, with at least 840 known varieties. Although we generally consider them fruits in culinary traditions, they are botanically an inverted flower. Ficus bulbs enclose their flowers, which nourish them to maturity.
The complex sweetness and delicate aroma of Ficus have often been compared to honey. Its small seeds are edible and give them a bit of texture. In Mediterranean cuisine, Ficus is classically paired with cheeses, nuts, and wine, or cooked with bold meat dishes.
The pureed form is often used to make delicious cookies and cakes in many global kitchens. It is often made into delicious jellies, jams, and syrups. Some people around the world use Ficus syrup to flavor coffee, tea, and cakes.
8 INCREDIBLE BENEFITS OF EATING FIGS REGULARLY
Did you know that including delicious figs in your diet and exercise regimen can benefit your health? They have natural sugars and a lovely flavor that can be savored in moderation, as eating too much can act as a laxative. You can enjoy them fresh or as dried fruits like dates and plums.
Medical research has not only focused on the whole fruit but has also studied the effects of extracting Ficus leaves. This essential oil can be ingested as a supplement or used topically. Either form of the fruit suggests possible benefits for various health conditions.
Before incorporating Ficus or leaf extract into your diet, discuss it with your healthcare professional. Its sugars or natural enzymes can counteract certain medications or be a risk for some disorders. Here are eight ways that enjoying figs can benefit your well-being.
1. NURTURE YOUR SKIN
Do you have a dry and irritated complexion? Rather than relying on chemical-based ointments and lotions, Ficus can do the trick. Dermatological studies have shown that Ficus-infused lotion can relieve the burning and itching of dermatitis, as well as common recipes.
Eating these delicious fruits from the Ficus tree can also make your skin feel fresh and youthful. Scientific research on Ficus enzymes found that they are powerful antioxidants that can destroy free radicals that damage cells. Don't be surprised if you find that your skin is radiant and that fine lines and wrinkles are less visible.
2. BENEFIT YOUR CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM
Cardiovascular disease is one of the main causes of death in our country. Your professional healthcare provider has probably discussed the importance of good nutrition and exercise for your heart health. You may be learning to avoid fat-laden processed foods for fresh whole foods, like figs.
This tasty fresh or dried fruit has shown promising results in lowering levels of LDL, which is bad cholesterol. Lowering your LHD means less plaque buildup in your vascular system, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. If you are taking a statin drug for high cholesterol, never change or stop your doses without the advice of your healthcare provider, but nature can help.
Are you being treated for high blood pressure or hypertension? Ficus can also help lower blood pressure, which reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease. Check your blood pressure regularly as recommended by your healthcare provider.
3. REGULATES YOUR BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS
While some adults can develop type 1 diabetes, the second type is more common. Unlike type 1, type 2 diabetes can be prevented and more manageable with the right lifestyle changes. One food that you might consider adding to the menu is the fruit of the Ficus tree.
Fruits and some other foods have natural sugars that can cause your blood glucose levels to spike and drop suddenly. It can make you tired, irritable, and hungry, and it can be dangerous in the long run. Nutritionists recommend that you eat whole foods with a low glycemic index, such as Ficus fruits.
4. IT CAN PROMOTE HEALTHY DIGESTION
With poor food choices in the average American diet, it's no wonder many people struggle with gastrointestinal health problems. Partying with overly processed products that are loaded with chemicals and man-made ingredients can wreak havoc on your gut, leading to dire consequences.
Ficus is a nutritious food rich in probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In addition to promoting healthy gut nutrition, the extra fiber helps move waste through your system more efficiently. Probiotics stimulate the growth of beneficial flora in your digestive tract.
5. YOU CAN REDUCE YOUR RISKS OF CERTAIN TYPES OF CANCER
So far, no miracle food or supplement has been discovered that can prevent or cure cancer. However, countless studies show positive correlations between certain foods and possible anti-cancer benefits. One of these delicious foods is Ficus.
Some sciences focused on eating the fruit, while others studied the positive effects of its extraction of leaves. Many researchers are encouraged by how the extraction of Ficus leaves has reduced or destroyed the tumor cells in the test tubes. The evidence is still in its infancy and more research is needed.
6. CAN PROMOTE BONE HEALTH
Our bodies depend on our skeleton for protection and support. What you eat and your physical activity can benefit or be harmful to your bones. While it's normal for your bones to weaken as you age, a healthy lifestyle can keep them strong during the golden years.
For optimal bone health, bone and joint specialists recommend that you enjoy foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, and magnesium. Did you know that Ficus fruit is packed with these bone-healthy nutrients? Eating them in moderation can be a delicious way to prevent osteoporosis and brittle bone disease.
7. BRING THE VITAMIN A
For years, people have eaten healthy carrots because experts promote the high content of vitamin A in vegetables, which is good for the eyes. You may be pleased to see that Ficus are also an excellent source of this vital nutrient.
Vitamin A is not only beneficial for your vision, it also increases your immunity system in the process of building new blood cells. Every system in your body needs vitamin A for optimal health and function. It benefits all of your internal organs.
8. IT CAN PROMOTE YOUR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
It is perhaps not a coincidence that many ancient cultures considered Ficus an aphrodisiac. Before nutrients like magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron were discovered, they intuitively knew that this fruit benefited the reproductive systems.
If PMS is a problem for you, it might be worth adding some figs to your diet. It is a perennial folk remedy for painful periods. Some medical reports found that Ficus can help regulate female hormones and reduce PMS symptoms for some women.
SOME PRECAUTIONS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Almost everything has its exceptions, including Ficus. Although the increased fiber in the fruit can promote healthy digestion, it can cause diarrhea and bloating in people with gastrointestinal conditions. Nuts can act like its notorious colon cleansing cousins, the prune.
Talk to your professional healthcare provider if you take blood-thinning medications, as Ficus' vitamin K content can be counterproductive. If you are allergic to latex, avoid these fruits. Its thick meat is a natural source of latex.
FINAL REFLECTIONS ON ADDING FIGS TO A HEALTHY DIET
Whether you taste them fresh, dried, or pureed in a velvety syrup, figs can be a healthy addition to your diet. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about any medical conditions or medications you take before starting. Discover the culinary love that people have shared for this divine fruit from the beginning, as they are delicious and nutritious.