Figs are plentiful in the summer but organic figs are available in most health food stores year-round. This fruit isn’t the most popular, but they have a distinction of being one of the healthiest of the fruits and are a communal and communicative fruit. This is the only fruit that has an opening called the “ostiole” or “eye.” This is not connected to the tree. The fig’s eye increases communication with its surrounding environment. This fruit is so human-like in its two-way communication ability, how could you not love a fruit like that?
According to recent research, figs also have a terrific advantage of having specific anti-cancer properties.
This is not surprising because historically, figs have been known to be a medicinal food. Researches now tell us the reason for this. It was thought since the 1970’s that high fiber was protective against cancer. However, recent studies have been inconclusive. The theory behind why high fiber is cancer-protective remains compelling, and maybe research will one day catch up with sound reasoning. Fiber protects specifically against colon cancers because insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools, moving the waste through the gastrointestinal tract more swiftly and efficiently. This fiber also discourages the growth of harmful bacteria and encourages healthy bacteria growth.
There have been 9 bioactive compounds that have been extracted from figs. Currently the researchers are studying the compounds. Fig extracts have already proven toxic to melanoma, breast, stomach, throat, bone, brain and liver cancers in studies.
Dried figs contain greater nutritional value than the fresh figs and are also higher in concentrated sugars. This can be a problem for cancer patients. Commercial dried fruits are very often treated with sulfur dioxide gas and sulfites during processing. These compounds serve as preservatives in helping to prevent oxidation and bleaching of colors, but it can cause some adverse reactions. The organic figs do not contain the sulfites.
There are many ways to use figs. Fig pudding, fig cookies and many other recipes can be found online. Don’t forget to use Stevia instead of sugar. One thing from the past that I remember my mother making were the fig cookies, and slicing them cold from the refrigerator to place on the cooking sheets. This may be a taste you will acquire over time through some of those good recipes out there. Enjoy and be healthy at the same time by trying something new!
-Dr Fredda Branyon