Fresh and dried figs (Anjeer) are widely consumed in Mediterranean countries and it is popularly known as ‘the poor man’s food’. Fig fruit and its other parts such as bark, leaves, shoots, latex and seeds are medically important. Figs are an important source of antioxidants and consuming figs increases the plasma antioxidant capacity. Studies have shown that figs have purgative (laxative) and anti-pyretic (reduces fever or lowers high body temperature) properties. It is reported that figs include hypoglycemic, antibacterial, antiviral, hypotriglyceridemic and cancer suppressive effect. Fig fruit juice when combined with honey is used as an effective remedy for hemorrhagia. In addition to this, figs are also used as a diuretic and expectorant.
Figs (Anjeer) are fleshy, sweet, healthiest, multipurpose and delicious fruits. They are available in fresh as well as dried preserved form. Figs consists 62% sugar in the dried form and 22% sugar in the fresh fruit form. This fruit is processed and used for cooking pies, cakes, jams, puddings and preserves.
Table of Contents
- 1 Figs (Anjeer) Nutrition Facts
- 2 Health Benefits of Figs (Anjeer)
- 3 Different Ways to Consume Figs
- 4 How to Store Figs
- 5 Safety Profile
- 6 Fruit Description, History & Origin
Figs (Anjeer) Nutrition Facts
Anjeer contains carbohydrates, protein, cellulose, oil, mineral salt and water. Moreover, it is a good source of iron, vitamins, lime, potassium, sodium, sulphur, phosphoric acid and other vital nutrients.
Fresh Figs Nutritional Information
100 grams Fresh Green Figs contain:
Major nutrients in Fresh Figs
|Major Nutrients||Fresh Figs||% Daily Value|
|Calories from the fats||2.7|
|Saturated Fat||0.1 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0.1 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||0.1 g|
|Dietary Fiber||2.9 g||7%|
Vitamins in Fresh Figs
|Vitamins||Fresh Figs||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin A||140 IU||5%|
|Vitamin C||2 mg||3%|
|Vitamin E||0.11 mg||1%|
|Vitamin K||4.7 µg||4%|
|Folic Acid||6 µg||1.5%|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.3 mg||3%|
Minerals in Fresh Figs
|Minerals||Fresh Figs||% Daily Value|
Phyto Nutrients in Fresh Figs
|Phyto nutrients||Fresh Figs||% Daily Value|
|Beta Carotene||85 µg||NA|
|Lutein Zeaxanthin||9 µg||NA|
Dried Figs Nutritional Information
100 grams of Dried Figs contains:
Major nutrients in Dried Figs
|Major Nutrients||Fresh Figs||% Daily Value|
|Calories from the fats||9|
|Saturated Fat||0.3 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0.3 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||0.3 g|
|Dietary Fiber||10 g||7%|
Vitamins in Dried Figs
|Vitamins||Fresh Figs||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin A||10 IU||0%|
|Vitamin C||1.2 mg||2%|
|Vitamin E||0.4 mg||2%|
|Vitamin K||15.6 µg||19%|
|Folic Acid||9 µg||2%|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.4 mg||4%|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 mg||5%|
Minerals in Dried Figs
|Minerals||Fresh Figs||% Daily Value|
Health Benefits of Figs (Anjeer)
Both fresh and dried figs have an amazing nutrient composition, which makes it extremely beneficial for human health. Even today, figs form a significant part of the Mediterranean diet. It is found that more than 28% of fiber present in figs is in the soluble form, which helps to control high plasma glucose level and plasma cholesterol level and promotes weight loss too. Darker the color of figs, greater is the concentration if antioxidants and flavonoids in it. The health promoting potential of fig fruits is due to the presence of a variety of health promoting compounds. So let’s have a look at its nutrient profile of Anjeer:
Nutritional Benefits of Figs (Anjeer)
Fig is an extremely nourishing food and is used as an important ingredient in industrial products. It is a rich source of various vitamins, minerals, water and fat. As compared to other plant sources, figs are one of the highest sources of dietary fiber and calcium. Dried figs are abundant in manganese, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium and thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin K. Figs contain 17 different types of amino acid out of which glutamine and aspartic acid are the highest ones. Figs also contain plenty of health promoting bioactive compounds such as ARABINOSE, β-AMYRINS, β-CAROTENES, GLYCOSIDES, β-SITOSTEROLS and XANTHOTOXOL. Figs are a rich source of carotenoids such as LYCOPENE, LUTEIN, CRYPTOXANTHIN, β-CAROTENES and α-CAROTENES.
Rich in Polyphenolic Compounds
Both fresh and dried figs are excellent sources of phenolic compounds. Research has shown that wine and tea are two good sources of phenolic compounds, but the amount of phenolic compounds, particularly PROANTHOCYANIDINS in fig is much greater than tea and wine. One research showed that the total phenolic compounds, anthocyanins, and antioxidant activity lowered after fresh figs were sun-dried. The basic polyphenols present in figs are:
- FLAVONES: APIGENIN, ASTRAGALINE, CAMPHEROL and RUTIN
- CHLOROGENIC ACID
- GALLIC ACID
- SYRINGIC ACID
Because of high phenolic content of fig, it is called a functional food.
Rich in Antioxidants
Scientific studies have found that figs are an excellent source of antioxidants. Research has observed that regularly eating two dried figs, that is equivalent to 40 grams, significantly increases the antioxidant capacity. The high antioxidant activity of figs has shown to protect against the development of diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Research has shown that fig fruits, fig stem bark and leaves exhibit strong antioxidant properties. Such effects are attributed to the presence of high levels of phenolic compounds. The antioxidants present in figs also prevent oxidative degradation of lipids and thus, protects the body against chronic diseases. Furthermore, it is found that figs have a very strong free radical scavenging property and thus, it reduces the load of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). Besides phenolic compounds, flavonoids present in figs also exhibit a very strong antioxidant property. Fig pulp and peels contain organic acids such as:
- OXALIC ACID
- CITRIC ACID
- MALIC ACID
- FUMARIC ACID
- FERULIC ACID
- QUINIC ACID
- CHLOROGENIC ACID
These organic acids present in figs are very effective in combating oxidative stress.
Fatty Acid Composition
Most of the fruits are rich in dietary fiber, but fig is one such fruit that is rich in both dietary fiber as well as fatty acid. Different fatty acid were determined in dried figs, these include:
- MYRISTIC ACID (14:0)
- PALMITIC ACID (16:0)
- STEARIC ACID (18:0)
- OLEIC ACID (18:1)
- LINOLEIC ACID (18:2)
- LINOLENIC ACID (18:3)
Out of all these, the most predominant one was LINOLENIC ACID, which accounted for 53.1% of total fatty acid composition followed by PALMITIC ACID and OLEIC ACID. The content of unsaturated fatty acid was about 84% of total fatty acid. Figs also contain Phytosterols that are plant sterols, which are similar to cholesterol. These Phytosterols play an important role in lowering high cholesterol levels. Sitosterol is the most predominant Phytosterol present in figs. Such a healthy fatty acid composition makes fig a very important food for individuals with altered lipid profile.
Therapeutic Benefits of Figs (Anjeer)
Fresh and dried figs have a great potential to protect against a number of diseases and disorder. Besides the fruit, fig leaves also exhibit great medicinal properties. Let’s have a detailed look at therapeutic benefits of fig leaves and fig fruits:
Research has shown that figs have a laxative property and thus, it helps in the treatment of constipation. Figs contain cellulose, a component found in plants that increase the excretion of stools by increasing the water content and bulk and it also elevates the viscosity. Furthermore, figs also increase the colonic transit time of the stools. Therefore, eating figs can ease the passage of stools without adding too much strain or pressure on the system.
During constipation, the movement of the food throughout the digestive tract decreases. Fig paste has also shown to increase the intestinal peristalsis, that is, it increases the contraction and relaxation movements that push the food, which you eat, through digestive tract towards its release at the excretory opening . Therefore, individuals suffering from chronic constipation, particular where it is due to diet can safely consume figs. Thus, figs can be used as a useful therapeutic and preventive strategy for chronic constipation.
Three pieces of anjeer has 5 grams of fiber. Fiber enables healthy and regular bowel management. These are quite useful not just in treating constipation, but also in indigestion, stomachache and various other intestinal problems.
How to Use: Soak 2-3 figs in water overnight. Consume the soaked figs with honey in order to relieve the problem of constipation.
Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus
Among all the dried fruits, figs have the best nutrient score. Besides having an excellent nutrient profile, figs are also valued for its medicinal properties. Fig fruits and leaves have been extensively used in the management of plasma glucose level. Figs contain healthy compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids and antioxidants that play an important role in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. These flavonoids have hypoglycemic properties that alter glucose and oxidation metabolisms. Furthermore, flavonoids present in figs modulate glucose transport and significantly decrease elevated plasma glucose level.
Ferulic acid is a predominant phenol compound that suppresses high plasma glucose level and alleviates oxidative stress. A high level of oxidative stress is associated with hyperglycemia (high plasma glucose levels). Antioxidants present in fig neutralize the harmful free radicals and combats oxidative stress.
Anjeer Leaves are more beneficial than figs fruits. Anjeer leaves help in supporting functional control of diabetes. Fig leaves regulate the amount of sugar captivated into the body after meals. Blood sugar alteration rate may become less frequent. Even a special tea, made from the leaves of figs, is available in market for diabetic patients.
Muscle Spasm & Cramps
Research has shown that dried figs help in relaxing the gut. Such property of figs is attributed to the presence of ALKALOIDS, FLAVONOIDS, COURMARINS, SAPONINS and TERPENES. Figs have also shown to have anti-spasmodic effect, that is, it helps to relieve spasm of muscles. Furthermore, eating figs also inhibits contractions and thus, helps the muscles to relax. Because of its anti-spasmolytic effect, figs have also been recommended for the treatment of different hyperactive gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
Boosts Immune System
Individuals with poor immune system are more prone to infections and diseases. Therefore, researchers are now concentrating more on strengthening the immune system in order to keep diseases and infections at bay. Fig has a very rich nutrient profile, that is, it is an important source of many vitamins, minerals, phenolic compounds, antioxidants and flavonoids. The presence of so many health-promoting compounds in fig helps to modulate immune response and alleviates diseases.
A research suggests daily consumption of fig significantly reduced the suppression of immune response. In addition to this, consumption of figs also strengthens the immune response and helps to fight against diseases and disorders. Furthermore, fig also stimulates the action of various immune cells and thus, protects the body.
The total white blood cell count also increased in a group treated with fig fruit extract. Such an increase may be related to the presence of phenolic compounds such as CAROTENOIDS, FURANOCOUMARINS, PSORALEN and ANGELICIN. These phenolic compounds strengthen the immune system and boost the production of white blood cells.
Liver is a major organ that is exposed to ingested toxins. Such an exposure for a prolonged period may cause damage to the liver and may alter its structure and function too. Drugs used in the treatment of such liver diseases often have many side effects. Research has shown that fig leaf extract exhibits a significant protective effect against PARACETAMOL induced liver damage.
Another research showed that group treated with fig extract reduced liver damage and lowered the levels of liver enzymes, which were otherwise elevated during the damage. Therefore, fig fruit and fig leaf extract are effective in the treatment of liver diseases and thus, restores the liver cell function and normalizes the liver structure.
High Triglyceride Level
Research has found that fig leaf extract has hypolipidemic activities and it helps in lowering plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Furthermore, it was observed that fig leaf extract also increased the plasma levels of HDL – high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (good and healthy cholesterol). Such an increase in HDL cholesterol level protects the heart and keeps cardiovascular diseases at bay. Fig leaf extract increases the production of APOLIPOPROTEIN A-1 and modifies remodelling of HDL particles within the blood vessels.
In addition to this, APOLIPOPROTEIN A-1 also contributed to anti-inflammatory and antithrombogenic (prevents the formation of clot and thus, protects against heart diseases) properties. Another study showed that fig leaf decoction lowered the triglyceride levels. Such an effect was due to the presence of bioactive compounds in fig that influences the breakdown of fat and thus improves the overall lipid profile. Therefore, it also cuts the risk of coronary heart diseases.
A research observed the effect of fig fruit extract on hematological aspects such as hemoglobin concentration, packed cell volume (PCV), total white blood cells count and platelet count. It was found that fig fruit significantly increased the hemoglobin concentration. Besides this, an increase in packed cell volume was observed in a group, which was treated with fig fruit. Such an increase may be due to the presence of small amount of iron in fig fruits. Furthermore, it has been found that, both dried and fresh figs contain protein. Iron and protein are necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and presence of both these nutrients in fig makes it a perfect fruit for hemoglobin synthesis.
The presence of so many nutrients and health promoting compounds in fig are necessary for the process of blood cell formation (hematopoiesis). Thus, fig fruit plays an important role in improving the hematological parameters.
Many studies have reported anti-microbial and anti-viral activities of fig. The anti-bacterial activity of fig leaves extracts showed strong activity against –
- GORDONII – gram positive bacteria that causes dental problems
- ANGINOSUS – causes build-up of pus (abscess) in the brain or liver
- INTERMEDIA – causes inflammation of tissue around teeth and gums
- ACTINOMYCETEMCOMITANS and P. GINGIVALIS – a gram negative bacteria that causes inflammation of tissue around teeth and gums
Teeth & Gum Diseases
Some of the phenolic compounds present in figs exhibit anti-caries activity and such activity is due to the ability of fig extract to inhibit oral bacteria. Furthermore, the presence of flavonoids in figs exhibit anti-bacterial properties and thus, protects against the harmful action of bacteria. Therefore, the presence of flavonoids and phytochemicals in fig play an important role in reducing the oral bacterial infection and thus, provides protection to gums, teeth and overall tissue of the oral cavity. Therefore, fig can be employed as a natural anti-bacterial agent in oral care products.
Fevers & Debility after Fever
Studies have found that fig leaf extract has a significant anti-pyretic effect, that is, is helps in lowering the body temperature in case of fever. Such an effect of fig leaf extract was similar to PARACETAMOL, a drug used in the treatment of fever. Figs fruits are beneficial in the treatment of debility after fevers or chronic diseases.
Fluid Overload or Oedema
Diuretics are a class of drugs that increase the passage and output of urine. These drugs are of great importance to individuals with fluid overload. Fig fruits extract have shown to exhibit natural diuretic property. A research found that fig fruit extract increased the total volume of urine and concentration of electrolytes such as sodium, chloride and potassium in urine. Such effect of fig was similar to a diuretic named FUROSEMIDE. Thus, fig fruits extract can be used as a natural diuretic agent.
Source of Energy
Dried figs or Anjeer are the excellent supplements of iron, which is required in our body for delivering oxygen in the blood cells. Inadequate intake of iron can result in tiredness, weakness and makes us more vulnerable to infections by affecting the functionality of immune system.
Reducing or Increasing Weight – For Nutritional Support
Since Anjeer has multiple nutrients, dieticians recommend a small quantity of figs to overweight people as it helps to boost their weight loss program. However, when consumed with milk the high calorie level of milk combined with figs can result in weight gain at the desired places. Figs also contains high amount of sugar content, so its intake should be restricted to 1 to 2 figs a day.
Relief for Throat Pain and Other Problems
Anjeer helps in healing as well as prevention from sore throats due to mucilage content. Figs and its natural juices can also reduce the pain and stress on the vocal chords. Figs are also used for fever, earache, boils, abscesses, etc.
Having a cup of milk mixed with a teaspoon of powdered Anjeer can act as a quick cure for mouth ulcers.
The adequate amount of essential nutrients such as proteins, minerals, vitamins, fiber and carbohydrates found in figs, can keep the respiratory system hydrated. Figs help in clearing the chronic cough and other obstructions. That is why most dieticians prescribe figs for various respiratory disorders.
1 to 2 soaked figs will be sufficient for breathing troubles and asthma. Clinically, it works when you feel weakness, fatigue or tiredness and in particular breathing difficulty due to excessive exertion or physical weakness. Otherwise, it is also good to eat, but as a nutritious tonic for respiratory system. Patient may require other remedies to control breathing troubles if weakness or respiratory fatigue is not the cause.
Figs are also recommended for the patients suffering from insomnia. It contains tryptophan, which encourages adequate and good sleep by stimulating proper blood circulation all over the body.
Figs have been used traditionally to treat people having infertility. Anjeer has a good nutritional value, which helps balancing hormones.
Anjeer can enhance energy and stamina. Soaking a couple of figs in milk overnight and consuming them in next morning regularly can increase the vitality and fertility.
Fig Tree Latex in Common Warts
Fig (Anjeer) tree latex is beneficial for common warts. It is applied over the warts that reduce size of mass of warts. It is effective short duration therapy.
Figs or Anjeer provides a preventive health benefits as follows:
Prevention of Colon Cancer
Fiber present in anjeer helps in flushing out the harmful toxins from the physical structure and promotes the excretion of free themes and other cancer (particularly colon). Some antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols present in figs help in preventing the damage caused by free radicals.
Prevention from Post-Menopausal Breast Cancer
Fiber quantity in Anjeer fights against breast cancer in adult females. After menopause, the hormones in the body fluctuate frequently and these fluctuations influence the immune system, which have an effect on the ability of antioxidants to fight free radicals (major sources of the development of cancer). Thus, intake of figs is advisable for prevention against post-menopausal cancer.
Prevention of High Blood Pressure
Figs contain high quantity of potassium while they are low in sodium content. This is the reasons figs can help in resisting the emergence and effects of hypertension. The proper intake of potassium enables diminishing the effects of sodium, thereby lowering the blood pressure.
Boiling three Anjeer leaves in a cup half of water and drinking the solution can lower the blood pressure, settle the nerves and bring some tranquillity at once.
Nutritional Support in Venereal Diseases
The presence of nutrients in figs benefits our health by curing the venereal diseases. Direct intake or topical application can render the prevention of venereal diseases.
Give Strength to Bones
Figs are rich in phosphorus, which promotes bone formation and encourages re-growth in case of degradation of bones. However, the calcium content in figs helps to fortify the bones. Anjeer should be a part of the daily intake of growing children.
Figs are also used for skin problems as it helps in removing wrinkles as well as dark circles under the eyes. The high enzyme and vitamin C content removes the impurities and dead skin. Regular intake of Anjeer can provide youthful and radiant glow to the skin.
The amount of potassium present in figs washes away harmful toxins from our body through urine. It also reduces uric acid level by increasing uric acid secretion. It helps in regulating the content of the waste in urine also.
Prevention of Deterioration
Figs help in preventing eye problems, vision of loss and the other diseases related to macular degeneration. Moreover, figs are referenced as good snack options to avoid symptom of early aging.
Different Ways to Consume Figs
- You can eat fresh figs raw
- Dried figs can be enjoyed all throughout the year
- Figs can be combined with other fruits to make your own chilled milkshake
- People who dislike milk can make some fig smoothie
- Fig ice-cream is extremely delicious
- Sugar can be replaced with fig pulp while making sweets
- Dried figs are added to a number of Indian sweets
- Make your own delicious fig jam
- Make your own healthy granola bar using figs
- Frozen figs is another way to enjoy figs
- Canned figs are also easily available
- Add some fig pieces to your bowl of oatmeal
- You can also poach some figs in juice of wine
- Enhance the taste of your baked goods such as fig cakes, fig bread or fig muffin by adding figs to them
- Mix figs with other fruits and nuts
- Add some figs to your yogurt
How to Store Figs
Dried figs are easily available in the market all throughout the year, but one should not miss the unique and delicious taste of fresh figs. Figs are highly perishable and wrong storage techniques may affect its taste and overall quality.
- Consume figs within one or two days after you purchase them. Storing them for long may lower its sweet taste.
- Avoid figs that are mushy and bruised.
- Select figs with deep dark color and smooth and unbroken peel (outer covering/ skin)
- When you hold a fig it should be plump and tender.
- You can also smell the figs to determine its level of freshness. A slight sweet fragrance indicates that figs are fresh but a sour small is a clear indicator of spoiled figs.
- In addition to this, fully ripe figs contain high amount of antioxidants, whereas over-ripe figs tend to lose antioxidants and other phytochemicals.
- Storing figs at a cool temperature will slow down its deterioration.
- Place figs in a dish in the refrigerator and cover it so that they do not dry out.
- In the refrigerator do not place figs very close to strong smelling foods such as onion and garlic
- Under-ripe figs should be placed in a dish at room temperature until they are completely ripe. Place them away from sunlight.
- Figs can be frozen whole in an air-tight container for almost a year
- Dried figs can be kept safely in the refrigerator or in a cool and dry place.
- Place dried figs in an air-tight container or bags as too much exposure to air may make them hard and dry
Figs (Anjeers) are Likely Safe well fruits and do not have any major un-wanted effects.
However, it may have slight laxative effect, so it may lead to diarrhoea on excessive consumption.
A very few cases of food allergy to fig have been reported. Research has shown that fig skin has a much higher allergenicity (capability of inducing allergy) than fig pulp. A case report showed that eating figs caused oral allergy syndrome followed by respiratory disorders. In second case, symptoms such as blocked nose, watery eyes, sneezing and dry cough appeared after dried fig was consumed. Skin tests were positive for dried fig, skin and pulp of green fig, leaf and latex. Thus, it was concluded that different parts of figs have different capability of inducing allergies, but the most important allergens are related to the skin of the fig fruit. Pollen Allergic patients or people has allergy to FICUS BENJAMINA should not take fig fruits (FICUS CARICA).
Fig leaf extract may interact with anti-diabetic drugs and may lower the level of plasma glucose level. Consuming both, either at the same time or within short time gap may drop down the plasma glucose level below normal range and may lead to hypoglycaemia. However, more studies are still required to confirm such an effect of fig leaf extract.
Fruit Description, History & Origin
History reveals that figs have been around since 5000 B.C. The scientific name of fig is ‘Ficus Carica’ and it is the unique member of the genus Ficus and family Moraceae. Ficus has more than 800 different species of shrubs, trees, climbers and creepers. Out of all the species, ‘fig’ is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical countries and has a high commercial value.
Fig is native to eastern Mediterranean and South west Asia. Fig tree is cultivated in regions with dry and warm climates and dried figs have been a familiar food since B.C. 3000. Commercial production of fig is carried out in different countries such as South America, Australia, California and Mediterranean countries. Turkey leads fig production in the world.
A fig tree is usually a small or moderate-sized deciduous tree, which is 15 to 30 feet high. Fig fruits are pear shaped and they vary in size and color. Fig fruit has a jelly like flesh with tiny seeds embedded in it. It has a tough outer peel, which is greenish-brown or purple in color. Up on ripening the tough peel cracks open, exposing the pulp beneath. Fig tree grows best on heavy clays, rich loams and light sandy soils with free drainage. At the time of fruit maturation and development, a dry climate is necessary and it thrives best in dry localities with light rain.