The common fig bears the distinction of being one of the first plants ever to be cultivated. Humans have been planting and harvesting figs since 9000 BC, even before the farming of crops like wheat or barley. In the history of agriculture, figs have been there since the beginning.
The plant is quite hardy. It can thrive on poor soil and even tolerate the occasional drought. One of its adaptations is an aggressive root system that can really go deep in search of groundwater. This is why wild figs can grow successfully despite inhospitable surroundings. In return, fig trees and their water source help cool down the nearby habitat and provide shelter for various animals.
Figs are advantageous to both man and environment. It makes sense for the fruit to have been part of the human diet for so long as it offers some of the more essential nutrients. There is a small health risk to be considered but it doesn’t outweigh the benefits. Read on and figure out the pros and cons of figs.
Figs are beneficial in the areas of bone density, blood pressure and body weight. Here’s a brief look into three nutrients that are relatively abundant in the fruit.
Calcium – There are 162 milligrams of this important mineral in every 100 grams of fig. This can account for around 16% of your body’s need for this nutrient. As you may know calcium is a major component of bones and is necessary to maintain its proper density. Take note that this mineral can’t be made internally and only comes from dietary sources.
Potassium – In the same 100 gram serving of fig, your body can receive 680 mg of potassium or approximately 14% of the daily requirement. Apart from being one of the primary electrolytes of the human body, potassium helps lower blood pressure and may consequently lower risks of strokes. Its significant presence in figs along with calcium is advantageous as this nutrient can counter above normal urinary calcium loss that is usually a result of eating too much salt.
Dietary fiber – This is a benefit common in most fruits and vegetables and in figs there are about 9 grams out of 100. Besides its well known cardiovascular and digestive benefits, fiber rich foods aid in body weight management because their bulk adding property leads to faster satiety.
When it comes to properly balancing acid-forming and alkaline-forming foods in your diet, figs can be an important factor as they are considered to have the biggest alkaline potential. Most nutrition experts recommend a ratio of 20% acid and 80% alkaline food in a regular diet.
Insulin medication and certain other types of anti-diabetes drugs work by lowering blood sugar levels. The edible leaves of figs can actually be used for the same therapeutic purpose. It is not yet clear if the fruit is as potent as the leaves in this regard. Nevertheless it would still be prudent to consult your doctor about the safety of eating figs if you already happen to be taking insulin treatment or anti-diabetes drugs. Sudden dips in blood sugar are just as dangerous as sudden spikes for people with a diabetic condition.
Fig Practical Uses:
The fruit is quite fragile and can perish quickly. Purchase just enough figs that you can consume within two days. Choose pieces that are plump, slightly tender and deep colored. Ripe figs also have a sweet fragrance. It is at full ripeness that fruits usually contain the maximum amount of phytonutrients.
Freezing figs in vacuum containers may work to prolong the fruit. You’ll need to freeze them dipped in a water-sugar solution added with a bit of ascorbic acid to preserve color and flavor.
Aside from the usual baked recipes and preserves, fresh figs are used in salads or other dishes that don’t require cooking. Most food and cooking enthusiasts say that figs go well with warm spices like cinnamon, aged cheeses like parmesan, and cured meats such as prosciutto.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of natural dried fruit and how to moderately use it in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the fruits on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
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