In fact, figs are your best friend! Especially in the summertime, when they’re abundant and in season. I’m not talking about the figs in fig newtons, I’m talking about the whole, fresh, colorful figs you can find in your local farmer’s market. These little jewels from the earth boast all sorts of health benefits. Our friends at One Green Planet summed it up best with these fig fun facts…
1. Richer in Fiber
Per fruit, figs offer a much better source of soluble fiber, with 4-5 grams per fruit versus dates which have around 2-3 grams. Figs are also linked to good digestive health, help to relieve constipation, and contribute to good heart health.
2. Lower in Sugar
For all of you out there who watch your sugar intake (good for you!), you’ll be glad to know that dried figs contain almost 7-10 grams less than dates per weight. Two to three dates is around 23 grams of sugar(depending on the size and variety), while the same amount of figs is only 13 grams of sugar. Since figs are higher in fiber and lower in sugar, they’re better if you have sensitive blood sugar levels.
3. Higher Source of Minerals
Figs also offer more minerals, especially iron, magnesium and calcium, in which they’re plentiful by double the amount of dates. The only exception is potassium, which figs are still high in, but not as high as dates. Figs are also higher in zinc than dates, but not by double like the other minerals. Calcium is an important nutrient for strong bones and a healthy nervous system, as is magnesium and iron. Zinc contributes to a healthy immune system and can also help keep your skin clear by combating inflammation.
4. Lower in Calories
Not to focus on calories over quality, but while we’re making a comparison, figs win in the calorie department too. Figs have 15 percent less calories than dates, which means you can eat double the amount that you can of dates and still satisfy your sweet tooth, or eat half the amount you would of dates to take in less sugar. Though it might not seem like a large amount, 15 percent by weight makes a big difference each time you eat.
5. Helpful For Removing Harmful Estrogens
Estrogen is a hormone both women (and even men) have naturally. When functioning properly, our bodies produce the right amount at the time needed. However, environmental toxins, low-quality food, and even our health can all affect how much excess estrogen we take in. Too much estrogen in the body can lead to weight gain, mood swings, contribute to menopause problems or cause polycystic ovarian syndrome in women, cause headaches, and even breast or uterine cancer. Some foods naturally help remove harmful estrogens, and figs are one of the best, most well-known foods for this issue (along with pomegranates, onions, avocados, citrus fruits, kale, and broccoli). Dates don’t offer this same benefit, so if estrogen is a concern to you, rethink using those dates and try some figs instead.
So, there you have it- five reasons to give dried figs a try. Want the most antioxidants? Go with Black Mission figs, which are higher in antioxidants than other types of figs, along with higher than all forms of dates.
Get yourself to the farmer’s market for some fresh figs and stay tuned for fig recipes later this week!
Happy weekend, everyone!