Health Nutritions and Benefits of Fig


Fig fruit has been a typical component in the health-benefiting Mediterranean diet for
millennia. Its major health benefit is possibly its anti-oxidative or anti-cancer activities.
Wang ZB and Ma HL from Jiangsu University, China, extracted the active components from
Fig using supper Critical carbon dioxide. The extracted compounds showed anti-cancer
activities on U937, 95D and AGS cancer cells in vitro. [2] On the other hand, Serraclara A
and co-workers at University Hospital, Spain, demonstrated of using decoction of fig
leaves in diets to help control postprandial glycemia in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
(IDDM) patients (six men, four women, age 22-38 years, body mass index (BMI): 20.8 +/-
3.0 kg/m2). [3]

Solomon A and co-workers from The Volcani Center, Israel, analyzed the contents of six
commercial fig varieties. They found that color appearance of fig extract correlated well
with total polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and antioxidant capacity. Extracts of
darker varieties showed higher contents of phytochemicals compared to lighter colored
varieties. In addition, fruit skins contributed most of the above phytochemicals and
antioxidant activity compared to the fruit pulp. [1]

The serving size is 1/2 cup (raw; 74 g). It has 90 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 g of total fat,
0 g of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 0 mg of sodium, 24 g of total carbohydrate, 2 g of
dietary fiber, 11 g of sugars, 1 g of protein, 15% daily value of vitamin A, 25% daily value of
vitamin C and 2% daily value of iron. The percent daily values are based on a 2000 calorie
diet.

Figs, one of mankind’s oldest fruits, is only now receiving its due attention in homes across
the United States. Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower inverted into itself.
They are the only fruit to ripen on the tree. Originally native from Turkey to northern India, the
fig fruit spread to many of the Mediterranean countries. The primary producers of dried figs
today are the United States, Turkey, Greece, and Spain. This highly nutritious fruit arrived in
the United States by Spanish missionaries settling in Southern California in 1759. Fig
trees were soon planted throughout the state.

Varieties

There are hundreds of fig varieties but the following are most commonly found in today’s
markets.

The Calimyrna Fig: Is known for its nut-like flavor and golden skin. This type is commonly
eaten as is.

The Mission Fig: Was named for the mission fathers who planted the fruit along the
California coast. This fig is a deep purple which darkens to a rich black when dried.

The Kadota Fig: Is the American version of the original Italian Dattato fig, that is thick-
skinned with a creamy amber color when ripe. Practically seedless, this fig is often canned
and dried.

The Brown Turkey Fig: has copper-colored skin, often with hints of purple, and white flesh
that shades to pink in the center. This variety is used exclusively for the fresh fig market.

Fig varieties and photos courtesy of the California Fig Advisory Board

Availability

Fresh figs are available July through September. Dried figs are never out of season, and
are available all year. You can find them in your favorite grocery store in the produce or
dried fruit section.

Selection

Look for figs that are soft and smell sweet. Handle carefully because their fragile skins
bruise easily.

Storage

Store fully ripened figs in the refrigerator up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before
serving.

Using Dried Figs As a Replacement For Fat in Your Recipes
Dried figs are excellent replacement for fat in baked goods. Just remember when using
dried figs to replace shortening or oil in baking do not overmix or overbake. Use only half of
the normal amount of shortening, margarine, butter or oil, in a recipe when using dried
puree. For instance, if 1 cup of margarine is called for, use only ½ cup. Then use ½ of the
fig puree. Here’s a simple fig puree recipe to include in your baking recipes..

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2008 ZHION If you have any question, you should discuss with your doctor. Thank you.

[1] Solomon A, et al, Antioxidant activities and anthocyanin content of fresh fruits of common fig (Ficus carica L.). J Agric Food
Chem. 2006 Oct 4;54(20):7717-23. [2] Wang ZB, Ma HL. Study on anti-cancer components of Fig residues with supper critical fluid
CO2 extracting techniqueZhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2005 Sep;30(18):1443-7 [3] Serraclara A, et al, Hypoglycemic action of an
oral fig-leaf decoction in type-I diabetic patients. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1998 Jan;39(1):19-22. Source CDC.gov