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Figs - Facts, Nutritional And Health Benefits

Updated on January 3, 2016
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.


About Fig

Latin Name : Ficus carica

In India, fig is called Anjeer.

Fig is also called 'common fig'.

The fig tree is native to Egypt and Western Asia from where it spread to Greece and Rome and the to the Mediterranean and then over to the other parts of the world. It is an important commercial crop that is now widely grown worldwide.

The fig tree is about 20 to 30 feet tall with big deeply lobed fragrant leaves having 3 to 5 lobes. The tree bears fruit twice a year.

The flowers are borne as an inflorescence but within a common fleshy structure called syconium, which is hollow. Thus the blooms are not visible externally. The syconium is a ballooned hollow ended stem that contains the flowers.

At the other end of the syconium is a small orifice through which wasps enter, primarily to lay their eggs as they find this a safe place which also has nutrition for the growing larvae. Pollination is incidental.
This is the reason one frequently finds wasps or their larvae in figs.

Raw fig is green in color and matures to a brown or purple color. The fig plant exudes a milky sap that is irritating to our skin.

The fig plant can grow in any type of well drained soil. The roots are aggressive and go deep down to locate underground water, even searching for water in cracks in the rocks.

The fig tree offers a cool environment in hot ares and provides a cool shelter in times of extreme heat.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
a cut figunripe figs
a cut fig
a cut fig | Source
unripe figs
unripe figs | Source

Uses Of Fig

The fig tree is grown for its edible fruit as well as for its ornamental value. Figs are eaten fresh and dried. They are also processed in various ways in the form of jams, marmalades, fig newtons etc. They are used in the making of many bakery products. The fruits are also candied.

Dried cull figs are roasted and ground to use as a coffee substitute. Low grade figs are used to make alcohol in Mediterranean countries.

An oil can is produced from its seed that is edible. The leaves are used as a fodder and in France the extract of the leaves is used as a material used to make perfumes.

fig newton or fig cookie
fig newton or fig cookie | Source

Nutritional Benefits Of Figs

  • Figs are low in calories providing about 74 calories/100 grams of fruit. Dried figs provide 249 calories per 100 grams.
  • They contain good levels of dietary fiber, abuot 7% of the daily requirement per 100 grams.
  • Figs are excellent source of the minerals calcium, copper, manganese, magnesium and iron.
  • 100 grams of dried figs contain 640 mg copper, 162 mg calcium, 2.03 mg iron and 232 mg of potassium.
  • They contain rich amounts of polyphenolic phytonutrients like carotene, lutein, tannin, chlorogenic acid etc
  • Figs contain good levels of various Bcomplex vitamins and Vitamin A (5%), Vitamin K (4%) and Vitamin C (3%) of the daily value per 100 grams.
  • Figs are sodium and cholesterol free.

Nutrition Facts - Fig

Fig fruit (Ficus carica)
Nutrition Value per 100 grams
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
74 Kcal
19.18 g
0.75 g
Total Fat
0.30 g
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
2.9 g
6 mcg
0.400 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.300 mg
0.113 mg
0.050 mg
Vitamin A
142 IU
Vitamin C
2 mg
Vitamin E
0.11 mg
Vitamin K
4.7 mcg
1 mg
232 mg
35 mg
0.070 mg
0.37 mg
17 mg
0.128 mg
0.2 mcg
0.15 mg
85 mcg
9 mcg
dried figs
dried figs | Source

Health Benefits Of Fig

  • Cancer Protection

The fiber in fig is cancer protective especially colon and breast cancer as studies indicate. The fig leaves also prevent growth of certain cancers.

  • Benefits In Diabetes

Consumption of fig leaves reduces the requirement of insulin. This is especially useful for those who have high insulin requirement and need to take insulin injections.

The American diabetes Association recommends figs as a high fiber food to counter diabetes. The potassium content also controls sugar levels.

  • Cardiovascular Benefits

Figs contain phenols, omega-3 and omega-6 which reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

The leaves lower triglyceride levels while the fiber lowers cholesterol levels, prevents atheroscelerosis and hardening of arteries. Potassium lowers blood pressure.

  • Improves Bone Health

The calcium in figs promotes the density and health of bones while potassium prevents excretion of calcium by way of urine which diets high in salt cause.

  • Aphrodisiac Value

Fig consumption aids in reducing sexual inadequacies. eating 2-3 figs morning and night with milk gives this benefit.

  • Protects Vision

Figs contain antioxidant polyphenols lutein and zeaxanthin which help prevent age related vision disorder like macular degeneration.

  • Reduces Weight

The dietary fiber and the low calories in figs make it an ideal addition to one's diet to obtain benefits of reducing weight while obtaining the various vitamins and minerals.

However if consumed with milk they increase weight.

  • Prevents Digestive Problems

With almost 5 grams of dietary fiber in 3 figs keeping the digestive system functioning well. Issues like constipation, indigestion ,stomach ache etc are taken care of.

Some More Health Benefits Of Fig

  • Apart from these benefits, some other heath benefits of figs are:
  • It is useful in a variety of respiratory disorders like whooping cough, asthma etc.
  • It is alkaline and helps to regulate body pH making it less prone to disease.
  • It improves liver function.
  • Baked figs applied on inflammations relieve boils and abscesses.
  • Mashed figs applied on the face cleanse the skin and prevent and cure acne and pimples.
  • Figs make an excellent substitute food to obtain calcium especially for those who are allergic to dairy products.
  • Figs contain tryptophan and help to get good sleep, their iron content prevents anemia.
  • Juice of green figs helps to soften corns.

Some Amazing Fig Facts

  1. Fig fruit bears the flowers inside it.
  2. Fig puree can be used instead of fat in making baked goods.
  3. Olympic athletes in early days used fig as a training food and figs the first to be handed out as Olympic medals.
  4. The fig tree is a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness.
  5. 1/2 cup of figs has as much calcium as 1/2 cup of milk.
  6. Fig is the most talked about fruit in the bible.
  7. Fig leaves were the first to be used as a clothing as per the Bible.
  8. Figs contain a chemical that prolongs the freshness and moistness of baked goods.
  9. California produces 100% of the country's dried figs and 98% of fresh figs.
  10. The fig tree was held sacred in all countries of Southwestern Asia, Egypt, Greece, and Italy.

5 out of 5 stars from 4 ratings of Figs-Facts, Nutritional And Health Benefits


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Int J Cancer. 2008 Jan 15;122(2):403-12.

How to make Fig Bars

Home-made Fig Newtons

How to Make Fig Pinwheels

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Paul. I appreciate the read, comments and sharing.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


      This is an awesome hub which is well-researched. I haven't had figs in a long time, but I remember eating a lot of fig Newtons when I was younger. I also have eaten dried figs which I loved. I never realized that figs have an aphrodisiac value. Voted up and sharing. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Nicole.

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      I've never had figgy pudding but I'm thinking this is where it comes from! Nice hub, I learned a lot!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Suzie - I'm glad to have made you like figs more and I appreciate all the votes and sharing. Thank you.

      @ Elias - thank you.

      @ Mycee -thanks for stopping by.

      @ Kathryn - thanks for being motivated and I hope you try out the baked recipe. Thanks for visiting.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      6 years ago from Windsor, Connecticut

      This is another very informative article. I love figs, athough I haven't had them in a while. I remember when I went to school early for the free breakfast, many times dried figs were one of the provided foods, and I enjoyed it very much!

      The baked goods look delicious! I have never cooked with figs, but I bet they taste great.

      I am going to put dried figs on my grocery list. It will be such a treat! I don't think Target has whole figs, otherwise I would buy one.

      Thanks for sharing this information with us.

    • unknown spy profile image

      Not Found 

      6 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Figs! I never seen one before Rajan.. Very informative post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 

      6 years ago from Athens, Greece

      I really like figs, especially when fresh! Nice hub! Voted up and useful!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      6 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Rajan,

      This is such an informative hub! I certainly found out facts and interesting info on figs I never knew about.When We have been in Italy we have been given dried figs to take home from friends as figs are extremely popular there as you pointed out. Never a fruit I really ate I will view it differently now, thanks Rajan!! Voted up, Useful, Interesting, Tweet, Shared.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for sparing time to read and comment, Cathy.

    • ytsenoh profile image


      6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Very interesting and full of information! I love figs in date bars! Thanks for all the medicinal tips included also. Have a good week!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Graham, good to know you like these health hubs. Thanks.

      I do hope you give the fig puree a try to see how the bread turns out.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • alifeofdesign profile image

      Graham Gifford 

      6 years ago from New Hamphire

      Figs are wonderful! I'm so enjoying your hubs on all these fruits, Rajan. Fresh figs, dried figs-no mater, I enjoy them both. I have made fig cookies on more than one occasion. My mom has a great recipe. I haven't tried replacing fig puree to make bread, but I think that I shall try that.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ GTF - figs are probably not a favorite maybe because they have a different texture because of the presence of seeds . I'm glad you appreciate the health value of this fruit. Thanks.

      @ Patricia - nothing compares to the joy of plucking a fruit off the tree and eating it. All of us as children have done it and enjoyed doing this.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from sunny Florida

      Who knew that the fig trees growing in our yard when I was a little girl would be so versatile and good for us? We used to pick them off the tree and eat them right on the spot.

      And fig newtons---they are my all time favorite.

      Thanks for sharing this, rajan jolly.

      Sending you Angels this evening. :)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from sunny Florida

      Who knew that the fig trees growing in our yard when I was a little girl would be so versatile and good for us? We used to pick them off the tree and eat them right on the spot.

      And fig newtons---they are my all time favorite.

      Thanks for sharing this, rajan jolly.

      Sending you Angels this evening. :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for this hub. Figs are one of those highly underrated fruits that people don't seem to like very much. I love fresh figs when they are ripe and they really are healthy. Good info.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Prasetio, I'm glad this hub provided you with useful info. Thanks for all the votes and I appreciate you sparing time to read.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very informative hub, brother. I have never heard about "Figs" before reading this hub. Thanks for writing and share about health benefits of figs. Voted up and pressing the buttons, except funny.


    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Sheri - thank you for reading.

      @ moonlake - that's good to hear. Thanks for coming by.

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      I have never really liked figs but my husband loves them and he would like the recipe for the fig bars. Voted up.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 

      6 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Mmmmmm...fig newtons! Great hub!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Pooja - thanks for being so appreciative and for the vote and sharing.

      @ Bill - thanks my friend for your visit and blessings; appreciated as always.

      @ Eddy - you are so kind. Thank you.

      @ MsDora - I'm glad you love this marvelous fruit. Thanks for the votes.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      Fig Newtons are very tasty and satisfying. Thanks for sharing the other, more important benefits of the common fig. Voted Up and Useful.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      6 years ago from Wales

      Wow yet again another true gem from this wonderful series rajan.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm laughing because I didn't even know what a fig looked like, although I've eaten Fig Newtons for decades. LOL Thanks for the information my friend and blessings to you and your family.

    • poojasd7 profile image


      6 years ago from India

      So good! It's always a pleasure to read these informative hubs by you, Rajan. Voting up and sharing it.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Jo - thanks for your visit and sharing. I'm glad you use it regularly.

      @ Carol - thanks and it's always a pleasure to see you visit.

      @ Sheila - I'm glad to note you have fond memories associated with figs. good to know even your granddaughter loves fig cookies. Thanks for all the votes.

      @ Mary - Thanks and I'm glad you learned something new.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Devika- that is wonderful to learn. Thanks for the visit and input.

      @ wetnosedogs - Absolutely delicious so even the birds love them. Thanks for stopping by.

      @ Dilip - thanks.

      @ Margaret - I'm glad the info has been useful to you. It will surely help your husband. Thanks for the visit, votes and sharing.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      You really threw some new facts into this one, at least for me. I never knew figs were used to make alcohol, anywhere. I was also surprised at the fact that figs grow flowers on the inside! So many other facts that make me want to go out and buy figs.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      When I was young, one of our neighbors had a fig tree in their backyard. I can remember climbing to the top of their fence and plucking some figs to take home and eat. I agree that figs are very nutritious, I keep the original Fig Newton cookies here for our 16 month old granddaughter to eat. She loves them. Great hub as always, Rajan! Voting up, useful and interesting! :)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Hope this goes through..The first one did not. So with that being said as always I appreciate your well researched hubs on different foods.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      6 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Another gem for the collection, well done as always.

      I love figs, but mostly uses it in cakes and dessert recipes, with the aim to staying regular, so its good to know about the added benefits. Up and sharing.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 

      6 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      My husband is a diabetic, and I'm going to tell him about the good effect figs have on cutting down insulin. Thanks for this helpful article - voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 

      6 years ago from India

      Very good hub, well written with all the essential information.

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      6 years ago from Alabama

      I have a fig tree and if I am not quick enough, the birds and critters get their fair share of figs! They are delicious.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Brilliant my friend, we have acres of fig trees and every year we have good harvesting. Figs are dried and eaten fresh I so much enjoy this fruit. Native t o Croatia as well and is used widely here.


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