The first figs appear in late summer and are still in season in October, but are hard to find at the grocery store. They spoil quickly, so the best idea is to look for them at the local fruit and vegetable market and eat within a day or two. Enjoy them while they are still available, as figs are one of the healthiest and most nutritious fruits around.
Loaded with Fibre
Many of us aren’t getting enough fibre – so it’s good to know that few foods are as rich in dietary fibre as figs. Three large figs provide 5.6 grams, or about one fifth your daily requirement.
Given this is such a high fibre fruit, let’s remind ourselves of the benefits of fibre. Most of us know dietary fibre helps with constipation and lowers the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. However, fibre also slows the speed at which sugars enter our bloodstream, preventing excessive insulin release associated with being overweight and the risk diabetes. Fibre binds to toxins in the gut, perhaps explaining why countries where high fibre diets commonly have lower rates of diabetes, obesity and bowel cancer.
Loaded with nutrients too!
Figs are rich in minerals -‐ Iron, Magnesium and Calcium -‐ three large figs contain about one-‐fifth your daily Calcium requirement, a good source of nutrients vital for bones, teeth and for proper function of the brain and nervous system. All varieties of figs contain the same minerals but some have higher concentrations in the pulp and others have higher concentrations in the seeds therefore the most nutritious approach is to not worry about the kind of fig you buy but to just ensure you eat the whole thing – skin and all!
To avoid the oxidation that degrades their nutrient content, cut in half or cut a cross in the top and press your finger in to splay them out. For a nutritious lunch or starter add 3 or 4 ripe figs to a salad of fennel, rocket and mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or for a desert alternative stuff fresh figs with goat’s cheese and drizzle with honey, before baking until warm.