Anjeer (Dried Fig): Uses and Health Benefits
Anjeer (Fig) is the edible fruit of Common Fig (Ficus carica) plant. It is commonly consumed as a dry fruit in India. These thumb-sized fruits have a fleshy and mildly sweet taste, with a soft and juicy interior. They have an edible green or purple peel with pink flesh. Unlike fresh figs, dry figs are sweeter and chewier. Despite their texture, they are highly nutritious and offer various health benefits. Consuming dry figs can aid in promoting healthy digestion, reducing the risk of heart disease, and regulating sugar levels in the body.
Figs have a composition of 73.50% carbohydrates, 4.67% protein, 0.56% fat, 3.68% dietary fiber, and provide an energy of 317.78 kcal per 100 grams. Dried figs are rich in various minerals such as strontium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, cadmium, copper, manganese, arsenic, chromium, titanium, nickel, tin, zinc, and cobalt.
Dried figs serve as a reservoir of antioxidant flavonoids, encompassing carotenes, lutein, tannins, chlorogenic acids, polyphenols as well as vitamins A, E, and K, among others. Anjeer provide a substantial amount of dietary fiber, aiding in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Additionally, they serve as an excellent source of calcium, promoting the strength of bones and teeth. With their high sugar content, dried figs offer a natural energy boost. Moreover, they contain antioxidants that effectively combat inflammation within the body. Lastly, due to their low glycemic index, dried figs make for a suitable snack choice for individuals with diabetes.
Medicinal Properties of Figs
- Figs are rich in flavonoid compounds, known for their hepatoprotective properties. Hepatoprotection, also known as antihepatotoxicity, refers to the capacity of a chemical substance to safeguard the liver from damage.
- Figs possesses Hypolipidemic properties. Hypolipidemic medications belong to a category of drugs that decrease the levels of lipoproteins, which are responsible for transporting cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream.
- Figs exhibit antidiabetic properties. Antidiabetic drugs are pharmaceuticals developed to stabilize and regulate blood glucose levels in individuals with diabetes.
- Figs also show antipyretic behaviour. An antipyretic substance is capable of reducing fever by causing the hypothalamus to counteract the increase in temperature induced by prostaglandins.
- Figs contain antispasmodic properties. An antispasmodic, also referred to as a spasmolytic, is a medication or agent that suppresses muscle spasms.
- Figs exhibit antibacterial and antifungal traits. Antifungal medications are used to treat fungal infections, including ringworm, yeast infections, as well as skin and nail infections. Antibacterial agents are a primary type of antimicrobial substances primarily used against bacteria, with the ability to either kill or inhibit their growth.
- Figs show Immunomodulatory activities. Immunomodulatory drugs alter the response of the immune system by either enhancing (immunostimulators) or reducing (immunosuppressives) the production of serum antibodies.
Health Benefits of Anjeer
Regulate Blood Pressure
Figs possess a high potassium content, counteracting the impact of sodium and aiding in the management of blood pressure. Additionally, figs contribute to controlling the effects of aging through their abundant supply of essential nutrients such as iron and oestrogen.
Help in Weight Management
Moderate number of figs can help in controlling weight. Figs are rich in fiber, and therefore dietitians suggest that eating figs is a good way to keep junk and fried foods at bay.
Beneficial for the Heart
Figs, known for their heart-healthy properties, effectively lower the levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream. These fat particles, which tend to accumulate along the blood vessels, are the main culprits behind the development of heart disease and the occurrence of heart attacks.
Reduce Risks of Cancer
Dried Figs possess a high concentration of antioxidants, which aids in regulating the release of harmful free radicals and mitigating chronic inflammation. The occurrence of chronic inflammation, which includes cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, can be attributed to the presence of free radicals.
Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Figs regulate blood sugar: The presence of chlorogenic acid in figs aids in the reduction of blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.
Enhance Bone Health
Calcium, the essential component for strong bones, can be obtained naturally from dried figs. Although dairy products are a reliable source, they alone may not be adequate, making figs a beneficial supplementary option.
Dried Figs are beneficial for relieving constipation due to their high fiber content. They promote intestinal motility and help prevent the occurrence of constipation. The fiber present in figs acts as roughage, facilitating smooth bowel movements.
Maintain Reproductive Health
Anjeer plays a crucial role in maintaining the reproductive system: Figs contain essential minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and manganese that promote vitality and fertility. Figs can be soaked in milk and consumed or enjoyed in various other forms as mentioned earlier. Therefore, if you are expecting or considering pregnancy, it is highly recommended to incorporate this superfood into your diet.
Prevents Kidney Stones
Dried Figs have been found to be effective in preventing the formation of kidney stones. To harness their benefits, simply boil some figs in water and allow the mixture to cool. This water can then be consumed over the course of a few days to help prevent the occurrence of kidney stones. If you have any specific concerns or questions, it is advisable to seek guidance from a qualified Dietitian/Nutritionist.
How to Eat Dried Figs
- Take 2-4 dried Anjeer pieces.
- Take a small bowl and fill it halfway with water. Proceed to soak the Anjeer pieces in the water and allow them to soak overnight.
- The following morning, ensure to drain out the water.
- Consume the soaked figs on an empty stomach, and if desired, you may also add a drizzle of honey on top.
Fresh figs, fig leaves, and fig leaf tea are excellent additions to a nutritious diet. They offer a range of potential health advantages. However, it is important to note that figs should be consumed in moderation due to their high sugar content, and individuals taking blood thinning medications should be cautious as figs contain vitamin K which may interfere with the medication's effectiveness.
Excessive consumption of dried figs, despite their overall health benefits, can lead to side effects. One of the most prevalent side effects is digestive problems due to their high fiber content. Additionally, figs contain furocoumarins, which can potentially cause bleeding when combined with specific medications such as anti-platelet drugs or blood thinners, thereby interfering with the effectiveness of the treatment.
To conclude, dry figs are an incredibly nutritious type of dried fruit that offers a multitude of advantages. The benefits of Anjeer have been scientifically proven to aid in the maintenance of a healthy digestive. Additionally, Anjeer benefits extend to regulating blood pressure, promoting respiratory health, and combating orthopaedic issues. These remarkable benefits can be easily obtained by consuming anjeer (dried figs) every day.