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The benefit of eating figs

alb419_ny
December 1, 2007

found this information while surfing the net.(1)Figs have this nutrient called Tryptophan that promotes good sleep.(2)Figs have a high level of fiber.(3)figs contain Pectin wich is known to lower Colesterol,they are also good for Diabetes ,Hearth Disease,and Hyper-Tension.(4)5 figs provide 250mg.of calcium.(5)Figs are rich in Potassium a mineral crucial in controlling High Blood Pressure.(5)And the best reason for eating figs beside all the health benefits,they are just delicious.Ciao,

Giuseppe

Comments (22)

  • italiangirl74

    Ciao Giuseppe, I agree, figs are very nutritious. The people in my family lived long, I believe it was from Figs, Olive oil, good food in general. They never worried about what they eat, They just ate and lived long. I am surprised about the tryptophan, Thats wonderful Ciao, Maggie

  • bjs496

    As someone with diabetes, I'll address #3.

    Figs, as with most fruits and vegetables, have a significantly different effect on blood sugar between the varieties. Unfortunately, I haven't kept records of how each one is. I do remember that eating a half dozen of the Celeste which grows in my backyard does not have a marked effect on blood sugar. Some other varieties make a big impact on blood sugar levels with just a couple of figs.

    For the same reason, I would guess that the benefits of figs for other ailments will vary with the variety. Another good excuse to grow many different figs. After, of course, that they just taste good.

    ~james

  • peg919

    Hi James,

    I do not have Diabetes but thought your comment very interesting.

    "Some other varieties make a big impact on blood sugar levels with just a couple of figs."

    Does this mean some figs have an Adverse impact? Have you ever figured out which ones to avoid?

    Peg

  • bjs496

    Peg,

    I wouldn't say it has an adverse impact... just an impact. All carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels. Diabetics need to know how much a given food will raise blood sugar levels.

    There is a difference between Type 1 (insulin dependent) and Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes. I am Type 1. I use insulin to offset the food I eat. I count carbohydrates then inject an appropriate amount of insulin. I don't necessarily have to avoid any of them, I just need to know how it will effect my blood sugar so I know how much insulin to inject.

    Type 2 diabetics are a bit more restricted in what they eat. In some ways, it is the trade off for taking fix doses of oral (and now an injectable) meds. Their carbohydrate count should remain somewhat constant from day to day.

    For me, I would inject a different amount of insulin for different varieties of fig (as I mentioned, this holds true for most fruits and vegetables). The Celeste figs, I can eat a bunch and not take any additional insulin. With other varieties, I would need to inject.

    For a Type 2 diabetic, they might be limited in how many figs they could eat, but that number might vary with the variety.

    There are other health benefits to growing figs... stress relief and physical activity. Both benefit blood sugar maintenance as well as a host of other benefits.

  • mountainman0826

    It is curious that the Celeste variety, which is one of the sweetest varieties of figs, in my experience, should have a less pronounced effect on blood sugar than other varieties of figs. I have read that, in addition to the previously mentioned vitamins, minerals, and fiber, that figs contain tannins (chemicals that are powerful antioxidants).

  • paully22

    James -- I am surprise that celeste have less pronounced effect on your blood sugar. Looks like I would have to get a few celeste trees in pots. My family doc says that my sugar is on the higher side now but no medication needed yet. So I am really happy to come across your input as I have been wondering how I am going to enjoy the fruits physically apart from the other benefits of figging which I enjoy very much. Well, looks like my wife would still have some competition, keeping an eagle eye on the ripe ones which seem to disappear usually during working hours & all I have is that sweet smile. I'm HAPPY AS LONG AS SHE IS & hope that she won't blame me for her sugar problems. Thanks James.

  • bjs496

    Paully,

    Controlling diabetes (and blood sugar levels) is not such an exact science as we might believe. What works one way on me, may not work the same for you. For me, OJ doesn't seem to have an immediate impact on my sugar levels. For others, it is the choice to combat hypoglycemia.

    Also, it is important to note, I have not experimented so much with measuring figs' impact. Mostly it has been casual observances over several summers. There are other factors which effect blood sugar and it is near impossible to measure or control them all.

    For these reasons, your experience may vary from mine. If you have a glucometer, it would be worthwhile to check one variety against the next. This may allow you to avoid giving up fruit all together and just eliminate some that give you more problems than others. Also, if tending to your garden provides you exercise and calms your stresses (like it does me) the net effect of fruit on your blood sugar levels may be less than what you might think.

    ~james

  • marylandmojo

    Giuseppe:

    I like everything about Figs--the beautiful tree, and the delicious and healthy fruit--and I was (originally) clearly drawn to the fact that it is a tree that can be grown without chemical input, and that it is a tree that requires very little care, once established. My kind of tree.

    Because, besides the health benefits you mentioned, we all, as fig growers, have the choice of growing our figs without chemicals--another added health benefit. Little fruit bought in our grocery stores today (and grown conventionally) is chemical free; but the figs we grow, ourselves, can be, if we wish it so.

    A note: I have a daughter who lives in Norway, who must buy figs because they cannot be grown successfully anywhere in that country, without a greenhouse. It just doesn't get warm enough during the growing season to grow figs to maturity.

    She bought some fresh figs a few months ago, and called me, wondering why they were covered with a BLUE residue. I got the name of the company who sold the figs--from Brazil, as I recall--and looked them up on the internet. They had a nice site, with pictures of their fields, and rows upon rows of neatly manicured fig trees loaded with fruit--ALL BLUE, THE TREES AND THE FRUIT.

    I read the material on their site, and at one point they mentioned that the figs they sold were blue because of Copper Sulfate, a HARMLESS and SAFE chemical they used, as a fungicide.

    Then I searched "Copper Sulfate", and found it may not be as harmless and safe as the company would like its customers to believe--particularly for the workers at the plantation, who are in constant contact with it. They weren't pictured on the site, but I'm guessing they're BLUE, also.

    Although I happen to be an organic grower, this is certainly NOT a post intended to promote organic (or biological) methods of growing. I'm not--nor do I wish to be--my brother's (or sister's) keeper, and others can dump all the synthetic chemicals they wish on their food before they eat it. Be my guest--it's your food and you can do what you want with it.

    This IS a post stating that, among the other health benefits derived from figs, they are also a fruit that I can grow and do not find it necessary to poison with chemicals before I eat them, and for that I am grateful.

    A further note: I find it a bit sad that figs are grown commercially in climates and areas with so much moisture that they must be constantly be sprayed BLUE with Copper Sulfate to ward off fungal infections. A tropical climate seems a poor choice of location to grow figs, but I pretend to be no expert on growing ANYTHING in a tropical climate.

    I saw a recent post--I believe on this forum--about growing figs in Hawaii, and my thought of the figs grown in a tropical climate in Brazil came immediately to mind. Will the figs from Hawaii be BLUE, also?

    (Is that a Brown Turkey you're eating? No, it's a BLUE Turkey.)

    Ciao.

  • ottawan_z5a

    Of course there will always be a smile on one's face when eating a richly flavoured tree ripe fresh fig and that by itself may have some therapeutic effect. But don't forget the therapeutic effects that come from watching your fig plants growing, bearing fig fruits, fruits gradually getting bigger and bigger and then getting some colour blush and then getting close to ripening and then you make schedule when to eat it and finally beating the squirrels and raccoon to it. This is all fun and has as much therapeutic effects as the fig contents.

  • alb419_ny

    Marylandmojo,
    I really enjoy reading your post.Not sure how safe Copper Sulfate is ,but I remember that my grandfather used this chemical in Italy on his grapes vines.All the wines sold in the USA , by law have Sulfate in them ,and some people can get headache from it.I believe is put in the wines to control fungus,hope someone will correct me if I m
    wrong.The nice thing about figs they don`t require any chemical spray ,they like arid places,for sure they don`t like hot humid places.Here where I live is very cold in the winter ,still I can grow some good figs in containers,
    the last two days we had a heat wave that melted all the snow,today I was able to give my figs a drink of water,it made me feel so good to see my fig trees,they don`t look
    that good now,but when spring will arrive is a different story.I grow many different fruits in my yard,but figs are special,for sure my favorite fruit.Ciao
    Giuseppe

  • marylandmojo

    Guiseppe:

    All wine contains SULFITES--a small portion of them being natural--contained in the grapes to naturally prevent spoilage. More sulfites (usually Sulfur Dioxide) are added to further prevent bacterial spoilage, to keep the grapes from "browning", and to preserve the wine.

    As you say, some people are allergic to sulfites, and get headaches and other varying symptoms (heartburn) from drinking wine, particularly white wine, which contains more sulfites than red wine.

    This is different from the Copper Sulfate I mentioned, which is applied topically to crops during periods of extended moisture, to prevent fungal disorders. I would guess that it may be specifically used to control/prevent Rust in figs.

    Didn't mean to veer off topic--which is the health benefits of figs--but it struck me as very strange that figs would be grown commercially in a climate that requires that they be constantly sprayed with fungicide--in this case, a fungicide (Copper Sulfate) that turns the entire plant, including the fruit, a bight blue.

    Wonder how many people would want to eat fresh figs with blue residue coating them?

    The warm weather you mention is coming to my area in Maryland and Virginia, also. It was 55 degrees F (13 degrees C) in my area of Maryland today, and 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) in south-central Virginia. I believe we will see more warm weather in the next few days, also.

    I'm sure figs are my favorite fruit, also. We have cold weather in Winter here, too. Not as cold as your area, but a lot colder than outdoor figs prefer.

    So it's even more special to grow figs in an area with cold Winters, and have them ripen fruits for us in Summer.


  • Joeray

    I would disagree with the statement that figs do not like to grow in hot, humid places. I live in south Louisiana, about as hot and humid as you can get, and figs do very well here. LSU Purple and Gold varieties were developed here; Brown Turkey and Celeste do well here.

  • alb419_ny

    joeray,
    you proved me wrong,thanks for the information.Ciao,
    Giuseppe

  • marylandmojo

    joeray:

    I'm thinking southern Brazil is more tropical than hot and humid.

    You don't find it necessary to have a permanent coating of fungicide on your figs (and trees)in Louisiana, do you?

  • bjs496

    I live in the heart of what use to be fig country. From the City of Friendswood's history page:

    Through 1920, the population was swollen by an influx of farmers, lured by Houston developers who advertised the Gulf Coast as a Garden of Eden where figs, oranges, and rice grew practically wild. By the early 1920s, there were 17,000 to 18,000 acres of figs from Winnie to San Leon, and 17 fig preserving plants. Two of those plants were in Friendswood. Support personnel for the farms brought more people to Friendswood, and the early 1930s brought families dispossessed by the Depression looking for a new chance in life.

    From another article:
    The town had 1 grocery store, 1 gas pump, (at the grocery store) a post office and a fig processing/canning plant owned by Cecil Brown. The fig plant polluted the ditches to the creek with lye water used to remove most of the peel from the Magnolia figs, from there, it polluted Clear Creek. No alcoholic beverages and tobacco was "roll your own" or snuff. No police department and no fire department.

    It is hot here. It is humid here. I don't know if there was wide spread use of any type of fungicide on the fruit back then. I seem to remember reading the figs were picked before ripe and canned/process. This prevented souring and splitting issues from the humid weather.

    Aside from the issue of splitting/souring, I can tell you that leaf rust is a problem. However, the directions for Bordeaux mixture is to apply frequently early on then discontinue use as the trees begin to fruit. Rust causes leaf drop and if it occurs early enough, cause the tree to drop its fruit. Most of the time, however, the trees here will not defoliate until after fruiting season is over... there are some late producing figs which are the exception to this.

    ~james

    p.s. For a little more history on the area... Mountainman has told me the name for the 'Magnolia' fig came about when a salesman sold fig trees as Magnolia trees. This might explain why there were so much land devoted to figs... they thought they were replacing all the Magnolia trees (which was growing everywhere in the area) which were lost during the hurricanes in 1900 or 1915 with like trees.

    Also in the middle of this area, about five miles north of San Leon (mentioned above) is Seabrook, TX. This is reportedly the home of the 'Banana' variety

  • peg919

    Hi James,
    Nice interesting post. Thanks.

    Peg

  • herriman

    I have been fascinated with the health benefits of eating figs for at least five years now. It is such an unique food in that the fig itself is not scientifically classified as a fruit. Also, the subtle way the fig plant is mentioned in the Bible infers that it was growing in the Garden of Eden.

    My best friend has type 2 diabetes and his doctor told him that his health has improved significantly since my friend starting eating figs on a regular basis. Another friend did not need surgery to relieve his bowel movement problems after eating figs.

    Just my research on the web has shown numerous benefits including cancer prevention in the lower digestive system by being high in fiber as well as specific nutrients found in the edible fig.

    Here are some links that I have found recently that in part describe the numerous health benefits some of course already mentioned above.

    http://www.bnbqld.com/cancer/fighting-cancer.htm
    http://paroslife.parosweb.com/story.html?story=1962
    http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/benefits-of-figs-1707.html
    http://www.healthboss.com/fruitsandvegetables/
    http://www.thewayoftheupright.com/health/figs.pdf
    http://www.igonutrition.com/2008/04/fig.html
    http://www.everynutrient.com/healthbenefitsoffigs.html
    http://www.pinoyvegetarian.com/fruits.htm#figs
    http://food-facts.suite101.com/article.cfm/fabulous_figs

    Here is a link that might be useful: adobe file link

  • saad_2009

    Japanese Group Converts Due to Quran Miracle

    According to al-Jazeera newspaper of Saudi Arabia, a Japanese research group who were investigating the chemical changes occurring within a special protein in human brain was astonished when it received the research findings of Dr. Ibrahim Khalifah, a Muslim physician who had investigated the issue in accordance with the Quran. All the group members converted as a consequence.
    While the group was working on mythalonids, a protein produced in human and animal brains, they found out there must be a relationship between the substance and olive and fig, two fruits to which Allah (swt) has taken an oath in the holy Quran, al-Jazeera reported.
    Mythalonids is an important substance for the human body which can reduce the blood cholesterol level and increase heart function ability and self-confidence.
    According to the report, the human brain begins to produce the substance between 51 and 53 years. The production then declines and finally stops at the age of 60 and therefore, the protein could not be achieved easily.
    Therefore, a Japanese group was assigned to focus on plants to achieve the substance, since the scientists believed the protein was effective in the prevention of old age symptoms. After a hard struggle, researchers found the substance they were looking for could just and only be found in two fruits: olive and fig.
    And one more thing that they realized was that the substance could only be achieved from the combination of these two. What they found out next was really and truly amazing. They realized that in order to get the protein, they had to make a mixture of 7 olives and 1 fig.
    They kept studying until they received (completely by an accident) a letter from Dr. Ibrahim Khalifah in which he had explained the findings of his investigations on olive and fig in the Quran. According to the findings of the Muslim Arabian physician, Quran has used the term Âanjeer (fig) only once whereas the term Âaz-zaytoon (olive) was mentioned seven times (6 times explicitly and once implicitly) in the holy Book.
    This is exactly what the Japanese group had found whereas the fact had been mentioned in the Quran 1400 years ago.

    "æóÃáÃøöíäö æóÃáÃøóíúÃõæäö¡ æóÃõæÃö Ãöíäöíäó¡ æóåóÃóà ÃáúÃóáóÃö ÃáúÃóãöíäö¡ áóÃóÃú ÃóáóÃúäóà ÃáúÃöäÃóÃäó Ãöí ÃóÃúÃóäö ÃóÃúæöíãò Ãã ÃÃÃäÃÃ¥ ÃÃÃá ÃáÃÃÃáíä .." (ÃáÃíä: 4-1)

    ""I swear by the fig and the olive, And mount Sinai, And this city made secure, Certainly We created man in the best figure then we made him descend to the lowest bottom of creation, " ((95: 1-4)

    The quran phrase links between both figs & olives and the aging of the...

  • dieseler

    Saad2009,
    thats interesting, im also curious do you have any idea if this was achieved by just eating them or were they processed in another way such as in cooking.
    Martin

  • italiangirl74

    Wow, Amazing and I believe every bit of it!!! No wonder the old grandparents lived so long and had such a sharp mind, eating figs and Olives was something that was just done every day of their lives. Such a good and hopefilled read. Ciao

  • ottawan_z5a

    Saad2000 made reference to the chapter "Fig Tree" in the Qur'an. It is a short chapter "#95 Fig Tree" close to the bottom of the translation by "Thomas B. Irving of Cedar Rapids" at the folloing site (for completet translation showing exception to those sent to the dregs of the bottom):

    "http://almubin.tripod.com/irving.htm"

  • oxankle

    LOL; Don't know about olives, but tryptophan is all over the brown Turkey. Been reading about that for years.

    On a more serious note, there is no doubt that regular consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables leads to good health. So does the exercise necessary to growing and harvesting them. They grow in peaceful and eye-pleasing surroundings and they grow best where the weather is conducive to outdoor comfort. We should all be so lucky.
    Ox

    PS: Hate to burst your bubble, but the prophet, PBUH, was most likely speaking of the need to eat figs after eating the binding olives.

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