Go FIGure! The Health Benefits of Figs & Recipe

By Diana Bellofatto

By Diana Bellofatto

Figs have long and varied cultural history—think of Adam and Eve and their fig clothing. It’s believed they were one of the first plants cultivated by humans. They are the fruit of the f. Carica ficus tree, which is native to the Middle East and full of nutritional value and sweet taste. 

Figs satisfy sweet cravings while providing many important health benefits. However, you may benefit from adding figs to your diet even if you’re not looking to satiate a sweet tooth. Here are some health benefits you can enjoy when eating figs.

Health Benefits

Nutrients. Figs are a good source of Vitamins K, A,  and C, as well as the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. They are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free, and one of the highest sources of plant-based calcium. Figs are also a great source of antioxidants and soluble fiber.

Potassium. Figs are rich in potassium which can help reduce high blood pressure by correcting imbalances in the system. 

Fiber. Their high fiber content means figs aid in digestion and can help with issues such as constipation and diarrhea. And as an excellent source of prebiotics, figs can improve gut health.

Calcium. The calcium and potassium in figs can improve bone density and overall bone health. 

Doshic Effects. Figs pacify vata and pitta and can increase kapha in excess.

Fit Figs Into Your Diet

“Nothing important comes into being overnight; even grapes and figs need time to ripen.  If you say that you want a fig now, I will tell you to be patient.  First, you must allow the tree to flower, then put forth fruit; then you have to wait until the fruit is ripe.  So if the fruit of a fig tree is not brought to maturity instantly or in an hour, how do you expect the human mind to come to fruition so quickly and easily?” —EPICTETUS

Epictetus reminds us that things take time to grow and come into their own.  The same is true for good health. But adding figs to your diet can be easy. You can chop them up and add them to smoothies, oatmeal, plant-based yogurt, savory grain or vegetable dishes, and fruit compotes.

This fig shake can get you off on the right foot with fiber and protein for nutrition and spices for digestive aid.

RECIPE: FIG SHAKE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups organic plant-based milk (i.e., Almond, cashew, coconut, oat)
  • About 6 fresh figs—the number of figs will depend on the size and the type of figs you choose, which may be dependent upon what you can get in your area. *Soak the figs in very warm water for about five minutes to soften them if necessary. The soaking water can be added to the blender as well. Not sure which type of figs to get? Read about fig flavor profiles here.)
  • 12–15 almonds, (soak overnight in water, then pop the skins off between two fingers, and discard the skins)
  • 1–2 teaspoons chia seeds; the amount depends on how thick you like your shake
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon or a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • *Optional: Maple syrup to taste or pitted Medjool dates

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend/process until smooth.
  2. Drink your fig shake at room temperature for the best digestion, and enjoy!

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