Times of Oman
Nov 27, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 07:12 AM GMT
Bite into a delicious health fig
January 17, 2013 | 12:00 AM

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve used fig leaves for clothing. Fashions have changed a lot since then but figs have never gone out of style. Today, you can find figs in a variety of forms, including the popular Fig Newton cookie — a healthy alternative to most desserts. When you get down to it, figs mean fibre. Pound for pound, figs pack more of this precious stuff than any other fruit or vegetable. Five figs, fresh or dried, give you a whopping 9 grams of fibre, more than a third of the recommended dietary allowance. Besides fibre, figs are loaded with minerals and nutrients to help fend off heart disease, cancer constipation and even diabetes. Plus, figs taste great. These chewy treats, sometimes called "inside-out strawberries" contain tiny edible seeds.

The healthy power
1)  If you eat a lot of fibre, you will have a better cholesterol level and the bottom line is lowering artery-clogging cholesterol lowers your risk of heart disease. Figs also contain lots of polyphenols, plant compounds that act as antioxidants. Polyphenols stop low density lipoprotein cholesterol from oxidising then building up in your arteries and they keep your blood from becoming sticky and clumping together.

2) The triple punch of fibre, potassium and magnesium in figs means extra protection from stroke, especially if you have high blood pressure and more nutrient rich fruits and vegetables should be your first line of defence.

3) Remember fibre can help you lose weight, which will not only shrink your waistline but your risk of heart disease and other health problem, too.

4) If you are worried about high blood sugar but still want a tasty treat, look no farther than the fig. Figs are not a high-carbohydrate food so they would be typically a good thing for someone who has diabetes to consume and the fibre will also lower your glucose by slowing the amount of glucose your body absorbs from small intestines.

5) When you make figs part of your diet, you also welcome a host of natural crusaders which go after the free radicals that can damage your body and cause cancer.

6) The main advantage of eating figs is still their astonishingly high fibre content; that seems to be what's unusual about them relative to other foods because fibre can improve the digestive tract. It has a laxative effect on people and speeds up the movement through the digestive tract. So say hello to figs and good bye to irregularity.

Pantry pointers
Refrigerate fresh figs and try to eat them within two to three days because they go bad quickly. Besides fresh or dried, you can even buy fig concentrate, a seedless puree used to flavour desserts or as an ice cream topping. Eat figs as a snack, add them to dishes or bake with them.

A word of caution

If you have rosacea, a condition that makes your nose and cheeks red and bumpy, you might want to avoid figs. They contain histamine which causes flushing and can further irritate your skin. Figs can also interfere if you are on certain types of anti depressant drugs

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