Figs, with a number of exceptional health benefits and a long interesting past, are precious and essential allies to be added to our diet. Considering that they come from a rather ancient tree, they have been used over time as a cure for a wide range of the most common ailments for thousands of years. More than 40 diseases related to the respiratory, endocrine, digestive and reproductive systems have been treated with the fruits, extracts, leaves and components of this magical tree. For this reason fig tree is considered a promising candidate in the development of new medicines.
6 Benefits and properties
Various studies also show how figs are an excellent source of treatment for anemia, diabetes, liver disease, skin diseases, ulcers, urinary and gastrointestinal tract infections, paralysis and leprosy.
1) Figs are a source of potassium, fibers and nutrients
Potassium and fiber are two basic components for a healthy and balanced diet. Unfortunately, many of us do not get enough of them. Fig is a highly fiber-rich food, both in its fresh and dried form. The fibers help to support the digestive system, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and increasing the sense of satiety (thus promoting weight loss).
Depending on how it is assumed, fig also provides a percentage of potassium that varies between 7% and 19% of the recommended daily dose, so consuming this fruit helps to limit the damage created by an unbalanced diet. Potassium is found in every cell of the body and it is essential for maintaining normal bodily functions.
Dried figs are also an excellent source of manganese, magnesium and calcium, each of which does not appear in our diets as much as it should. Eating them as a snack is a way of increasing the intake of these essential nutrients, without so many calories.
2) Figs provide a powerful antioxidant action
The fig provides an enormous support to the human body thanks to its antioxidant capabilities. As oxidation affects almost all body systems, the damage it causes has been related to many greater diseases, and also aging and cancer. Considered a highly antioxidant food, fig helps to prevent this kind of diseases.
Some figs are richer than others, but most of them contain polyphenols, which help fight oxidative stress. These natural health allies are located in the fruit (pulp and skin) and in the leaves. Studies have shown that properly dried figs, compared to their natural form, may be an even longer source of phenolic components and increase levels of antioxidant action. This is probably the reason why figs are so revered throughout history. Easy to preserve, dried figs can provide incredible benefits to those who face long journeys or to those who are confronted with very dry climates that prevent the use of fresh fruit.
3) Figs have an antitumor potential
In traditional medicine, figs have a reputation as a remedy for many health problems, including that of being considered a natural anti-tumor treatment. Although the research is still under investigation, the studies conducted so far show that some bio-active chemical components present in the fruits are toxic to many human tumor cell lines.
The leaves of this plant are instead natural suppliers of bio-active components that fight the damage caused by free radicals. Some studies have used information about the composition of the leaves, to develop better forms of photodynamic therapy, useful in the treatment of some types of skin cancer.
4) Figs are useful for those suffering from diabetes
Preliminary studies show a reduction in blood glucose levels in rats to which a fig leaf extract is administered. Further results also confirm a decrease in cholesterol levels, as well as a normalization of antioxidant activity useful to fight oxidative stress caused by diabetes.
The fruit of this plant has instead proved to be effective in treating the side effects of diabetes. With its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, figs are able to normalize different bodily functions damaged by this disease, making them a potential natural remedy.
5) Figs are effective against fungi and bacteria
The fig can act as a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent. Some studies show the ability of fig extract to fight a number of oral bacteria, as well as various fungi and microbes. Other studies show the ability of figs to stimulate an effective immune response, which makes them an exceptional immune system support.
6) Figs reduce wrinkles
Several studies have shown the effectiveness of fig leaf extract (both in combination with other fruits and alone) in preventing wrinkles. Those who use creams based on fig leaves and fruit extract show a significant decrease in the length and depth of facial wrinkles, thanks to an intense antioxidant and anti-collagenase activity. In addition, other studies conclude that the creams containing figs extract can be used to help hyperpigmentation, acne and even the formation of ephelides.