Fruit, whether dried or fresh, makes a delicious and healthy snack. Some fruits are considered "superfruits", meaning that they have more than the usual amount of health benefits.
Figs, or angeer, are one of these fruits. The Common Fig is derived from the fig tree, is often known as Angeer or anjeer, and comes from the mulberry family. It can be served in a variety of recipes or simply enjoyed on its own. The health and wellness benefits of fresh figs or dried figs are more than you may have realized! From strong bones to healthful digestion to regulating blood pressure, figs are definitely something you should add to your daily diet!
Let's take a look at just some of the fantastic health benefits of anjeer.
1. Helps Maintain Blood Pressure
Figs, dried or otherwise, are rich in potassium. This is great for maintaining good blood pressure. This is because potassium works to regulate sodium levels, which can have a negative effect on the body. Eating too much salty food can raise your sodium levels. On top of this, potassium stimulates muscle and nerve function, improves blood circulation, and dilates blood vessels. This helps to lower high blood pressure.
2. Manages Blood Sugar Levels
It is possible that dried figs can work to balance blood sugar levels, by increasing the amount of insulin your body develops. Drinking fig leaf tea may work well towards maintaining optimal blood sugar levels.
However, beware. Dried figs are much higher in sugar and calories than fresh figs or fig teas. Dried figs still have plenty of health benefits, but take into account the higher dosage of sugar you'll get from dried fruit.
3. Optimizes Digestion
Figs are high in fiber. Fiber is a necessary part of our diet, stimulating a healthful digestive system, but it also works to minimize cravings. Eating high-calorie, low-value foods leaves us feeling hungry again soon afterwards. This in turn can lead to cravings for more unhealthy food. Fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are rich in fiber fill us up properly. We feel full for longer, while also providing our body with the nutrients it needs for good health.
There are plenty of foods you can eat that provide high levels of fiber, and figs are one of the absolute best.
4. Works to Prevent Constipation
Figs, or angeer, are an age-old treatment for constipation. Packed with soluble fiber, these fruits soothe irritated intestines and act as a natural laxative. A serving of dried figs can be just what you need to get over the embarrassing pain of constipation.
However, since figs have a diuretic effect, beware of eating them in high quantities when you aren't constipated. They may cause diarrhea and subsequent stomach upsets. If you're not hoping to tap into the laxative properties of figs, then enjoy anjeer in moderation.
5. Promotes Good Heart Health
We've already discussed how figs help to regulate blood sugar levels. That alone will be beneficial to your heart, but there's more. Although studies are ongoing, the heart-healthful benefits of figs have been noted to lower high blood cholesterol and blood fat levels. Combined with their ability to lower blood sugar levels, this means that figs can go a long way to promoting good vascular health. Taken as part of a balanced diet, dried figs may well greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.
6. Aids Weight Loss
Losing weight can be difficult, and it's important to eat the right foods. Figs provide a sufficient level of fiber and other nutrients, and works well to curb appetite. This is due to its high levels of fiber, which make you feel fuller for longer. Eating foods like this can help you manage cravings and snacking due to boredom.
However, this doesn't mean you can eat nothing but figs all day. It's recommended to eat around 2-3 figs a day as part of a balanced diet. While they make a delicious snack, dried figs will be much higher in sugar, and contain more calories than fresh figs.
7. Fills Sweet Cravings Without Adding Extra Calories
Dealing with cravings can seem impossible at times, and sugar cravings are especially powerful. If you've decided to cut out dessert as part of your diet and can't stop thinking about a delicious slice of cake, a couple of figs can really hit the spot. Most fruits contain sugar, and fresh figs taste dry, sweet, and delicious. They can handle your sweet cravings and deliver nutrition without you needing to break your diet.
If you're trying to lose weight, it's best to avoid dried figs, or indeed any fruit in dried form. They contain more sugar and calories than their fresher alternatives. If you must eat dried fruit, keep the amounts to a minimum.
8. Builds Healthy Bones as a Good Source of Calcium
Calcium can be a tricky nutrient to get into our bodies. Humans require about 1000mg of calcium a day, and this is solely down to what we eat. Milk is the most well-known source of calcium, but this is unlikely to provide the kind of calcium levels we need.
Fresh figs are a great way of making up your calcium levels, being rich in the nutrient. As well as promoting good bone health, calcium can help with good dental health.
9. Good for Gaining Weight and Muscle
This might seem to contradict what we've already said about figs - that they aid weight loss. However, the type of figs you eat will have a huge effect on your body. Fresh figs provide a low-calorie, high-fiber, nutritious snack.
Dried anjeer is also nutritious, but contains a much higher calorie count. For many of us, this isn't ideal. But for professional bodybuilders, athletes, or anyone trying to shape their body into something spectacular, a balanced amount of dried figs, combined with a healthful diet and plenty of exercise can help you gain weight and build muscle.
10. Provides a Good Source of Energy
The high potassium, calcium, fiber, vitamin K and more that dried and fresh figs are rich in go a long way towards keeping our bodies healthful. There's a popular saying that we are what we eat, and good food provides us with plenty of energy. Dried figs make an excellent snack when you're on the go, and fresh figs made a perfect start to the day. Good digestive and heart health are their own rewards!
11. Aids Menstruation and Sexual Health
Figs can help support reproductive health and prevent related issues, including erectile dysfunction and low stamina levels. Dried figs are known as an aphrodisiac fruit. These problems usually have underlying causes, however, so if you're concerned, it's best to see a doctor.
Additionally, anjeer can help ease the pain of menstrual problems. Some menstrual problems include PMS, cramping, nausea, constipation, or a heavy flow. Fresh figs or fig leaf tea may help to soothe some of these problems.
12. Soothes Symptoms of IBS
IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, can be a debilitating disease. It causes stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea/constipation. While too many figs aren't recommended if you're already suffering from diarrhea, they can help with other issues. Up to four dried figs a day can help ease stomach pain and deal with painful bloating.
Figs are already well established as a treatment for constipation! Fig paste can also be an effective treatment for constipation, as well as the usual fresh or dried figs. Drinking a hot cup of anjeer leaf tea can be a natural solution to soothe the bowels.
13. May Aid the Treatment of Piles
Piles is a painful and embarrassing condition, which can often be caused by IBS, or persistent constipation. Piles are usually caused by pressure in the rectum, which in turn builds up due to constipation. One of the benefits of figs is their rich natural laxative property, which smooths the passage of food through the digestive tract. The nutrients from the anjeer fruit adds bulk and shape to the stools, making it easier for you to pass them.
This eases pressure on the rectum and thereby easing pressure on the hemorrhoids, too. While this may not be a fun subject to discuss, good digestive health is a crucial part of keeping a healthful body. Regular constipation can cause any number of digestive issues, as well as causing significant pain and distress.
14. Treats Insomnia
Getting poor or insufficient sleep will affect every aspect of a person's life. Dry angeer, or dried figs, is known to be a sleep-inducing food. Figs also improve blood circulation, which is an essential part of good quality, unbroken sleep.
Alternatively, a cup of fig leaf tea before bed may have a soothing effect on someone who suffers from insomnia. Eating too many figs before bed is not recommended, however, as you may find yourself getting up in the night, experiencing the infamous laxative effect of figs!
15. May Aid the Treatment of Diabetes
Diabetes is not a pleasant disease, but it can be managed. Figs are a good food for a person suffering from diabetes. The nutrients and antioxidants in fresh figs help to lower insulin requirements, and the high levels of potassium in anjeer regulate blood sugar and prevent post-meal blood sugar spikes.
However, those suffering from diabetes should be careful when eating dried figs. As mentioned before, dried figs contain more sugar than fresh fruit.
16. Good for Skin and Hair Health
A healthy inside often creates a healthy outside when it comes to the human body. Conversely, poor health can be seen in the quality of our skin, hair, and nails. Here's a quick rundown of how figs (dried, in tea form, or otherwise) offer benefits that can help you achieve glowing skin and glossy hair.
A cream made from dried fig fruit extract may work towards fighting free radicals that cause aging and dealing with skin conditions such as dermatitis. While regularly prescribed creams are the norm, figs still have antioxidant properties. This helps to improve the appearance of wrinkles and reduce collagen breakdown.In fact, fig extract was traditionally used to treat warts and other skin conditions.
Figs are high in potassium, magnesium, iron, and other nutrients. These minerals, especially iron, play a key role in keeping hair glossy and healthful. Fig extract is a common ingredient in many commercial hair products, working to improve hair moisture and reduce frizziness.
Aside from merely promoting skin health, anjeer figs contain antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C, all of which work towards hydrating rejuvenating your skin. Anjeer extract is used in some facial washes and scrubs due to its many related healthful properties. Making a quick DIY fig paste as a face mask can give a beautiful, youthful glow to your skin.
Combining the Benefits with the Risks
All in all, we can see that anjeer figs boast a whole host of important benefits, and are a delicious and nutritious food, a wonderful natural addition to anyone's daily food instke.
However, you can have too much of a good thing. Too many figs will have a laxative effect, which isn't great if you aren't already constipated. As part of a balanced diet, figs in any form in moderation will promote a healthy digestive system and good gut health. Too many figs will have the opposite effect when it comes to your bowel movements!
Also, while figs offer a sweet kick without the associated calories and sugars, the sugar in anjeer can quickly add up. While they're healthier than a handful of sweets, thanks to their vitamins & minerals, figs are delicious and moreish. Giving in the temptation to eat too many will be something you regret!
The average serving size is one medium fig. You can eat around two to three fresh figs a day, but it's best to cut back on dried figs.
Fig leaf tea can be a good way to get a little of the fig fruit goodness without the calories, although be aware that too much anjeer tea can also have a laxative effect.
However, don't let worries about eating too many figs let you miss out on the benefits of this delicious and healthy snack!