Figs can be eaten either fresh or dry and has a sweet taste and variety of health benefits that it provides. Though in India fresh Figs are not easily available but can be found in the form of dry fruits popularly known as Anjeer. The high amount of calcium, iron and potassium present in it along with the high amount of fiber and low fat makes it a healthy food to include in your diet which can be eaten alone or mixed in yogurt, salad and toppings on cereals and oatmeal.
Figs are nutritious but do they help in weight loss ? Should one eat figs regularly if you are trying to lose weight. Lately figs are fast becoming popular with nutritionists that are recommending it as a part of weight loss diets. Let us help you understand why it might not be the healthiest weight loss food option.
Lets start with understanding the calorie and nutrition content of figs. Figs are rich in Vitamins A, B1 and B2, manganese and potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorus. The high levels of potassium and low sodium helps people with hypertension. High calcium levels present in figs promote bone health. High mucilage content in figs, helps to heal and protect sore throats. Figs also contain beta-carotene as well as benzaldehyde (anti-cancer compound), flavonoids and a digestive enzyme called ficin.
Dried figs provide higher amount of calories than fresh figs and around 100gms provide 220 calories approx. Though it is recommended to be eaten in moderations but its sweet taste and pulp makes it addictive making you eat more than actually required. Other than the calories figs are sweet and have a medium glycemic index of 61 and a glycemic load of 16 which is high.
The high glycemic load (GL) of figs makes the blood sugar levels rise as dried figs quickly release high level of sugar in the body which may not be helpful for people on weight loss and people suffering from type 2 diabetes. The high amount of fiber and high glycemic load makes the body feel satisfied. The GL provides energy and makes you feel fuller longer making you crave less food. This might make you miss out on a balanced diet which is essential to regulate the metabolism in the body.
Besides it high glycemic load figs have other benefits also. The high fiber content improves digestion and benefits people with constipation. The fiber helps in throwing away the toxins out of the body. They have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-oxidants present in them fights diseases and cancer in the body. They help regulate blood sugar levels and reduces cholesterol in the body.
Foods that are sweet and provide quick energy should be eaten early in the day so that the energy released by them can be burnt in the day itself. Also figs are recommended to people who have iron deficiency. Every diet especially available online is very generic and might not be applicable to you. You need a diet plan that is customized to your lifestyle, eating habits and medical conditions. Its important to get professional consultancy from a qualified fitness expert before you start any diet plan.Author Information — this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo