Figs or ‘Anjeer’ as they are known in India, are one of the oldest fruits consumed by humans and traces its origin in the asiatic Turkey to the northern parts of Indian subcontinent. Grown and consumed the world over, figs have found a special place on the culinary tables across, due to the distinct taste and also its potentially healing health benefits.
Figs are fruits that grow on the Ficus tree, they are oval shaped and about the size of the thumb. It has an edible green peel which turns either brown or purple once it ripens. The flesh of the fruit is pink with a sweet taste. Figs are available in numerous colours such as red, green, yellow, white, black, and purple.
Nutritional Facts of Figs
Anjeer is rich in phytonutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. They are a rich source of fibre and natural sugars.
As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, anjeer contains 74 kcal, 0.75 gm of proteins, 2.9 gm of fiber, 19.1 gm of carbohydrates, 1 mg of sodium, 0.3 gm of fats, 232 mg of potassium, 35 mg of calcium, 6 µg of folates, 0.3 mg of iron, 17 mg of magnesium, 0.1 mg of zinc, 0.4 mg of niacin, 0.3 mg of pantothenic acid, 4.7 µg of vitamin K, 2 mg of vitamin C, 85 µg of Carotene-ß, and 9 µg of Lutein-zeaxanthin.
Potential Health Benefits of Figs ‘Anjeer’
1/5. Lowers cholesterol
1. The pectin content of anjeer is capable of decreasing cholesterol levels.
2. The fiber content in figs eliminates excess cholesterol in the digestive system.
3. The vitamin B6 content of figs is responsible for producing serotonin which reduces cholesterol.
4. The omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids, and phytosterols contents of dried fig reduce the natural cholesterol synthesis in the body.
2/5. Cures Anaemia
The iron component of dried fig improves the hemoglobin levels in the blood thus, curing anemia. Lack of iron causes iron- deficiency anemia.
3/5. Strengthens the Bones
1. The potassium, calcium, and magnesium content of anjeer helps in promoting bone health. Calcium is vital in maintaining healthy bones. Potassium prevents the thinning of bones.
2. Figs enhance bone density and reduce the breakdown of bones, as age advances. The strontium content of anjeer contributes to bone health.
4/5. Promotes Reproductive Health
1. Minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese present in anjeer contribute towards enhancing reproductive health. Magnesium produces sex hormones – androgen and estrogen.
2. Fig produces an amino acid which is responsible for accelerating the nitric oxide production, which increases blood flow to the sexual organs.
3. Figs are useful in several types of sexual dysfunction such as erectile dysfunction and sterility.
5/5. Other possible Benefits…
Fig produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as enhances digestive health, improves heart health, prevents colon cancer, lowers sugar levels, prevents breast cancer, regulates high blood pressure, treats asthma, prevents venereal disease, reduces throat pain.
Figs also help prevent macular degeneration, improve liver health, treat piles, cure insomnia, boost the immune system, prevent wrinkles, rejuvenate the skin, cure boils and warts, promote hair growth, aids in loss of weight, manage blood sugar levels and prevent constipation.
The sap of fig tree has made it rank as a poisonous tree according to the US FDA but the same sap has been used as a traditional medicine for curing boils, remove warts, soften calluses and deter parasites.
How to incorporate Fig into the Diet?
The entire fig can be consumed raw and fresh. Fig can be also consumed in the dried form. They can be incorporated into several recipes. Some of the ways by which they can be incorporated into the diet are as follows:-
- Added to salads or desserts.
- To prepare fig jam or preserves.
- Consumed fresh for a great snack.
- Added into oatmeal or whole-grain breakfast porridge.
How to prepare Fig Jam?
Take 2 large pigs and cut them into pieces. Toss the fig pieces with 1½ cups of sugar and stir it for approximately 15 minutes. Let the sugar get dissolved.
Add ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice and ½ cup of water to it and bring it to boil.
Simmer the mixture over moderate heat until it becomes soft and achieves a jam-like texture.
Transfer the jam into jars and let it cool at room temperature with the lids on.
The jars are to be kept in the refrigerator and can be stored for a couple of months.