Figs are native to the Mediterranean Sea and come from the Ficus tree, which is part of the mulberry family. Also known as “fruits with no flower”, figs have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years and are used prominently as an ingredient in Chinese medicine. There are many ways to consume figs, but they are best eaten raw or after it has undergone a thorough drying process.
A popular health snack, dried figs have several health benefits. They include the ability to combat inflammation, promote digestion, lower blood pressure and blood sugar, and prevent cancer.
The nutritional properties of figs include natural sugars, amino acids, dietary fibre, selenium, B vitamins, and vitamins C and E. They attribute to the ability of figs to treat or support the treatment of different disorders.
Here are a few ways to consume this healthy snack, as well as a brief overview of its many health benefits.
4 Different Ways to Eat Dried Figs
You can eat dried figs on their own. Interestingly, they also pair well with desserts, baked treats, as well as breakfast, lunch, or dinner dishes.
They make a delicious addition to your cheese platter
You can include dried figs on a platter alongside different cheeses, including blue, brie, feta, or goat cheese. Drizzle the platter with balsamic vinegar or olive oil and serve with slices of bread or crackers.
They can be used to bake bread or cakes
You can also chop dried figs and add in a bread or cake batter before baking. You can also use them to complement the flavours of goat cheese when making a pizza.
They can be added to your salad
If you are particularly fond of salads, this is for you. Place a few dried figs onto a bed of arugula or mixed greens. Add nuts, cheese, and croutons to the salad. Then drizzle the salad with a vinaigrette dressing before eating.
As an alternative, you could also add grilled chicken slices to the salad. You can also replace the nuts with prunes, dried apricots, or dates if you have a nut allergy.
They can be included as part of your breakfast meal
Dried figs are a versatile ingredient. You can add them to oatmeal or yoghurt for a quick and nutritious breakfast. You can also pair them with any cheese dish, such as bagels smeared with cream cheese.
4 Health Benefits of Eating Dried Figs
Dried figs offer a creamy, sweet, and delectable taste profile unlike any other. According to The Compendium of Materia Medica, figs are sweet, non-toxic, and neutral in nature. That being said, they are so much more than just a tasty treat.
They could prevent constipation and treat digestive system disorders
Dried figs could induce a natural laxative effect without causing diarrhoea in people who struggle with constipation. This is all thanks to the roles of carbohydrates, polysaccharides, and phenolic acids in dried figs, which all exhibit the ability to improve faecal parameters, water content, oxidative stress indicators, lipid metabolism, and intracellular mediators.
The consumption of a herbal soup mix that combines figs with ingredients like astragalus root, Chinese yam and tangerine peel can be beneficial for your health in numerous ways.
They support adaptive immunity against immunodeficiency diseases
The consumption of dried figs can support the development of B-lymphocytes. These antibody-forming immune cells play a particularly significant role in producing antibodies known as immunoglobulins, which aids in the destruction of bacteria and viruses. Alternatively, it can also help to suppress over-stimulation of the brain stem.
They reduce the risk of certain cancers
A review on the efficacy of dehydrated fruits such as figs, raisins, prunes, and dates finds that these foods could reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Specifically, increasing the consumption of dried fruits by three or more servings per week may help reduce the risk of bladder, colon, pancreatic, prostate, and stomach cancer.
They protect against cardiovascular diseases
Dried figs also contain bioactive compounds that could help to prevent cardiovascular, respiratory, and inflammatory diseases. These compounds include phenolics and flavonoids, which could reduce oxidative stress by scavenging and destroying free radicals.
Consuming a beverage that contains extracts of hawthorn and dried figs could help to boost your heart health. In addition to the antioxidant activity demonstrated by dried figs, the consumption of hawthorn could also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by dilating blood vessels, improving blood flow, and protecting blood vessels from damage.
Irrespective of how you choose to consume dried figs, the most important things to remember are that they taste great, and they could improve your health and lower your risk of chronic health problems. Consider including dried figs into your healthy diet starting today.
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- US National Library of Medicine. 2013. Ficus carica L. (Moraceae): Phytochemistry, Traditional Uses and Biological Activities. [Accessed 16 June 2021]
- ScienceDirect. Ficus Carica. Available at [Accessed 16 June 2021]
- National Library of Medicine. 2020. Dried Fruit Intake and Cancer: A Systematic Review of Observational Studies. [Accessed 16 June 2021]
- Institute of Food, Science + Technology. 2020. The effects of power – ultrasound, peroxyacetic acid and sodium chloride washing treatments on the physical and chemical quality characteristics of dried figs. [Accessed 16 June 2021]
- National Library of Medicine. 2020. Chemical composition and bioactivity of dried fruits and honey of Ficus carica cultivars Dottato, San Francesco and Citrullara. [Accessed 16 June 2021]
- Mount Sinai. Hawthorn. [Accessed 16 June 2021]
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