Just about every babies mom has shoved a Fig Newton in their face to shut them up. That's how most of us were first exposed to figs. Soft and sweet perfect for babies and adults too. Well Figs are the fruit of the Ficus tree, which are related to Mulberry trees. Many figs are dried either by spending time in the sun or by an artificial process, but they can be enjoyed through out the year.
Figs can trace their history back to the earliest of times with mentions in the Bible and other ancient writings. They are thought to have been first cultivated in Egypt. They spread to ancient Crete and then subsequently, around the 9th century BC, to ancient Greece, where they became a staple foodstuff in the traditional diet. Figs were held in such esteem by the Greeks that they created laws forbidding the export of the best quality figs.
Figs were deemed so important in Classic Greece that sportsmen ate them before entering a competition. Figs were also revered in ancient Rome where they were thought of as a sacred fruit. According to Roman myth, the wolf that nurtured the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, rested under a fig tree. During this period of history, at least 29 varieties of figs were already known. Jump ahead to the late 19th century, when Spanish missionaries established the mission in San Diego, California, they also planted fig trees. Today, California remains one of the largest producers of figs in addition to Turkey, Greece, Portugal and Spain.
Soluble fibre means that the fibre dissolves in water and forms a jelly-like paste with other foods in the intestine. This feature is very important because it reduces the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. Soluble fibre not only lowers LDL cholesterol, the "bad" guy, but it also raises HDL cholesterol, the "good" guy. Insoluble fibre does not have any effect on cholesterol but it is very beneficial for our whole body because it acts as a natural laxative. When our meal includes soluble fibre, bacteria in the colon ferment it. This fermentation produces certain compounds that prevent the formation of cholesterol. This results in lower levels of cholesterol circulating in your blood vessels. Figs contribute high amounts of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium, three essential minerals for the health of our heart. On the other hand, they are very low in sodium, a major contributor to hypertension. Figs per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of Fresh figs, contribute 53 calories, 1.6 grams of fibre, 44 milligrams of calcium, and 1.1 milligrams of sodium. Dried figs contribute with 272 calories, 12.9 grams of fibre, 193 milligrams of calcium and 40 milligrams of sodium. Dried figs contain an impressive 250mg of calcium per 100g, compared to whole milk with only 118mg. Figs are amongst the most highly alkaline foods, making them useful in balancing the pH of the body. They are a good source of potassium, important in helping to regulate blood pressure. I'v also found articles reporting figs are good for various respiratory disorders including whooping cough and asthma. Since they are also good for digestion, they help in treating constipation, indigestion, stomach ache, etc. Figs are also good for fever, ear-ache, boils, abscesses, venereal diseases and is excellent for the liver.
Fig's are lusciously sweet with a texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. California figs are available from June through September. So don't even think about passing them up this year, in the mean time try some dried from your nearest market and remember buy organic. Good Luck...
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