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ow can we forget that

Adam and Eve were

said to have clothed

themselves with

fig leaves, though

it was eating from an apple tree that

got them thrown out of the Garden of

Eden. Figs have long been a staple in

Mediterranean cuisine -- archaeological

evidence for the cultivation of figs

goes back as far as 5,000 B.C and

Ancient Egyptians knew that figs were

an extremely nutritious fruit. In Greece,

the first Olympians not only savored the

fruit, but wore them as medals for their

achievements. Today, California remains

one of the largest producers of figs in

addition to Turkey, Greece, Portugal and


Since fresh figs are delicate and

perishable, some of their mystique

comes from their relative rarity. Because

of this, the majority of figs are dried,

either by exposure to sunlight or through

an artificial process, creating a sweet

and nutritious dried fruit that can be

enjoyed throughout the year.dried figs

travel well, which makes them excellent

served on their own as a snack you can

eat on-the-go.

Fresh figs taste great but many

are sold and traded as a dried crop

because they last only about a week

after harvest. Even dried, they have

the highest fiber and mineral content of

all common fruits, nuts or vegetables.

They also have as much as 1,000 times

more calcium than other common fruits

and by weight they have more calcium

than skimmed milk, so they are great

for bone health. Figs are 80% higher

in potassium than bananas, and have continued over


more iron than any other of the common

fruits while being high in magnesium.

Dried figs contain phenol, Omega-3 and

Omega-6. These fatty acids reduce the

risk of coronary heart disease.

Fibre options

Famously, they are also stuffed full of

fibre - you'll be getting 5 grams of fibre in

every three-fig serving, fibre being good

for healthy, regular bowel function and

can also be an aid to weight reduction,

although each fig has around 20 to 40

calories. Containing the soluble fibre

pectin, figs can help mop up excess

clumps of cholesterol in the digestive

system, and eliminating it from the body.

Watch out though, too many figs can

have a laxative effect (they are one of the

most fiber-dense foods available).

Copper activates enzymes that keep

connective tissues strong, and protects

against iron deficiency, among other

benefits. A serving of fresh figs is 19%

of the RDA of copper, while a serving of

dried figs is 24%.

They're also are good sources of

vitamin K, which allows your body to

control bleeding, especially after an

injury. Both fresh and dried figs provide

significant amounts of vitamin K -- around

10% of RDA. In addition, fresh figs about

13% RDA for vitamin A, which aids in

cellular reproduction and supports eye


Wait, there's more

In case you thought that was all a bag

of figs -- and fig leaves -- was good

for, keep reading. In some cultures, fig

leaves are a common part of the menu.

Regular ingestion of the leaves of the

fig have repeatedly been shown to have

'anti-diabetic properties', reducing the

amount of insulin needed by persons with

diabetes who require insulin injections*. In

one study, a liquid extract made from fig

leaves was simply added to the breakfast

of insulin-dependent diabetic subjects

in order to produce this insulin-lowering


Figs are rich in potassium, which helps

to regulate the amount of sugar absorbed

into the body after meals. Large amounts

of potassium can mean that blood sugar

spikes and falls are much less 'steep'.

People usually take in sodium in the

form of salt, but low potassium and high

sodium level can lead to hypertension.

Figs are high in potassium and low in

sodium, so they are a good defense

against hypertension.

But too much of a good thing can be

bad for you, and eating a lot of figs can

cause diarrhea and dried figs are high

in sugar and can potentially cause tooth

decay as well as high blood glucose levels

so enjoy the fruit - better fresh than dried

in a diabetic diet - but beware of the



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