We all crave what we cannot have and despite being readily available all year round a dried fig has nothing on a fresh one! Prime time for these juicy treats is June to September when they are in the peak of season. The majority are imported from California and so they have soaked up the best of the Californian heat before being picked, shipped and sold. Figs can also be grown in Europe but on a much smaller scale and so will only be available at selected stores.
As figs are so small their nutrient content may seem insignificant but they are in fact extremely nutrient dense. One fig offers up 6% of your recommended fibre intake. Increased fibre intake has been linked to improved weight control and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
As well as the benefits above, figs are an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper, manganese, potassium, and pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5).
Vitamin B6 plays a vital part in red blood cell production. Red blood cells require the protein haemoglobin in order to transport oxygen molecules in the blood to the muscles. To make this haemoglobin Vitamin B6 must be present otherwise the oxygen cannot be transported.
Diets rich in copper, manganese and potassium have been associated with increased bone density and reduced risk of osteoporosis.
Women are more at risk from both anaemia and osteoporosis. Research into the health benefits of the micronutrients found in figs strongly recommends including these superfoods in our diets, especially for women.
Potassium intake is positively linked to a decrease in high blood pressure, stroke, heart and kidney failure, and stress. All of which men tend to be at a greater risk so listen up boys, this purple packed power is for you too!
Pantothenic acid works alongside CoA (Coenzyme A) to break down fats into molecules which can then be used as fuel for our muscles. Although the body typically uses carbohydrates as the first form of energy, if we can target the fat stores we stand a better chance of burning that unwanted excess we all carry from time to time.
All this talk of figs has got me craving pudding.
Figgy pudding anyone?