The sweetest fruit around!
Fig is known as one of the oldest fruits known to man. In the Bible, it is highly mentioned and is believed to be the forbidden fruit, but the history goes further back. In 2500 B.C., the Sumerians recorded the use of Figs in their stone tablets.
Ficus Carica is the scientific name of fig and they belong to the Mulberry family. It first grew in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and in the Mediterranean. In 1520 the Spaniards brought it to America. Wild fig tree can grow to a height of 100 feet and to a good 16 feet if domesticated and well pruned. They bloom in late summer until fall. The amazing thing about figs is that they are not really fruits, but inverted mass of flowers and whose seeds are pollinated by tiny synergetic wasps. They have an opening called “ostiol” and is not connected to the tree. This helps the flower in its development and the real fruit is actually the seeds!
Do you know what Flavonoids are? Well, these are compounds with antioxidant properties that are found in most fruits and vegetables. Now guess what? Figs contain two! Yes, two very powerful flavonoids - Quercetin, which is known to fight colon and lung cancers and Luteolin which is highly effective at stopping the growth of tumors and preventing skin cancer.
This superfood is naturally high in dietary fiber which is good news to weight watchers. Taking food with high fiber gives you a feeling of being full and takes away craving. What a sweet way to lose weight! It also nourishes the intestines and acts as a natural laxative which is good for people suffering from constipation and gastrointestinal problems. Figs improve the digestive system, thanks to its probiotic contents which support the pre-existing good bacteria in the stomach. The best part is that taking it raw increases one’s sexual stamina. Too much of anything is bad and same goes with figs. Figs contain oxalates and eating excessive amount of figs can cause this substance to crystallize in our body and becomes a health issue. For persons with existing gallbladder and kidney problem, you may want to avoid this fruit.
And like any commercially grown and dried foods, figs may also be treated with chemicals as preservative to prevent bleaching and oxidation. This is not good for people with asthma and that is one reason why it’s best to buy organic foods.
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Picture courtesy of: http://mybioinfinity.blogspot.com/2013/01/top-10-aphrodisiacs-to-improve-your.html