WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Figs-





I have to admit, never been a huge fig fan, but never needed to be.. dried apricots,prunes,dates,raisins and an abundance of other fruits kept me away from the fig. Unless it was in a fig newton that is! I have some fond memories of eating entire packets of fig newtons... In our past food life that is! :-)


In all seriousness though, Abby is very limited in fruit choices. As I think of a new one we look it up on the histamine list, if it is safe there she samples. Most have failed the sample test- except figs. The figs sat so well with Abby that it really has been hard to keep her away from them, and after reading more about them, I figure she can eat all she wants! (unless she struggling to keep her BP high enough, as they can lower Bp)


As we are headed into fig season I have been reading about fig recipes, fig freezing, fig drying.. even fig canning! Some of the huge benefits to figs listed below;

Health Benefits
Help Lower High Blood Pressure

Figs are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure. Since many people not only do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, but do consume high amounts of sodium as salt is frequently added to processed foods, they may be deficient in potassium. Low intake of potassium-rich foods, especially when coupled with a high intake of sodium, can lead to hypertension. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study, one group ate servings of fruits and vegetables in place of snacks and sweets, and also ate low-fat dairy food. This diet delivered more potassium, magnesium and calcium. Another group ate a "usual" diet low in fruits and vegetables with a fat content like that found in the average American Diet. After eight weeks, the group that ate the enhanced diet lowered their blood pressure by an average of 5.5 points (systolic) over 3.0 points (diastolic).

A Sweet Way to Lose Weight

Figs are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber and fiber-rich foods may have a positive effect on weight management. In one study, women who increased their fiber intake with supplements significantly decreased their energy intake, yet their hunger and satiety scores did not change. Figs, like other high fiber foods, may be helpful in a weight management program.

Fruit and Cereal Fiber Protective against Postmenopausal Breast Cancer

Results of a prospective study involving 51,823 postmenopausal women for an average of 8.3 years showed a 34% reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit fiber compared to those consuming the least. In addition, in the subgroup of women who had ever used hormone replacement, those consuming the most fiber, especially cereal fiber, had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to those consuming the least. Int J Cancer. 2008 Jan 15;122(2):403-12.

Fruits richest in fiber include apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes. When choosing a high fiber cereal, look for whole grain cereals as they supply the most bran (a mere 1/3rd cup of bran contains about 14 grams of fiber).

An Insulin-Lowering Leaf in Diabetes

You probably do not think about the leaves of the fig tree as one of fig's edible parts. But in some cultures, fig leaves are a common part of the menu, and for good reason. The leaves of the fig have repeatedly been shown to have antidiabetic properties and can actually reduce the amount of insulin needed by persons with diabetes who require insulin injections. In one study, a liquid extract made from fig leaves was simply added to the breakfast of insulin-dependent diabetic subjects in order to produce this insulin-lowering effect.

Bone Density Promoter

Figs are a fruit source of calcium (79 milligrams in an 8 oz-wt serving), a mineral that has many functions including promoting bone density. Additionally, figs' potassium may also counteract the increased urinary calcium loss caused by the high-salt diets typical of most Americans, thus helping to further prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.

Cardiovascular Effects

In animal studies, fig leaves have been shown to lower levels of triglycerides (a form in which fats circulate in the bloodstream), while in in vitro studies, fig leaves inhibited the growth of certain types of cancer cells. Researchers have not yet determined exactly which substances in fig leaves are responsible for these remarkable healing effects.

Besides their potassium and fiber content, figs emerged from our food ranking system as a good source of the trace mineral manganese.

Protection against Macular Degeneration

Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

In this study, which involved over 100,00 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants' consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. Food intake information was collected periodically for up to 18 years for women and 12 years for men.

While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARMD, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease. Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but by simply tossing a banana into your morning smoothie or slicing it over your cereal, topping off a cup of yogurt or green salad with a couple of diced figs, and snacking on an apple, plum, nectarine or pear, you've reached this goal.

(read more at; WHfoods )

Also ran across some interesting information on the "leaves" from the fig. The leaves and unripened figs can create latex- so latex sensitive or allergic folks should show caution.

Home Remedies using fig leaves:( visit Natural News to learn more)

- Bronchitis - Place two to three fig leaves in a half liter of water with some piloncillo and bring to boil. Let the water boil for 15 minutes and then remove the leaves and drink the tea.

What is Piloncillo?

http://mexicanfood.about.com/od/mexicanfoodglossary/g/piloncillo.htm

- Cardiovascular and Cancer patients: Try drinking some freshly made fig leaf tea. Also, eat some fresh figs daily.

- Genital warts - Take one of the fig leaves and apply the milk or sap from the leaf to the affected areas.

- Hemorrhoid - Place two or three of the leaves in one liter of water and bring to boil. Boil for at least 15 minutes. Remove from the fire and let the pot cool. Remove the leaves from the tea and use as a sitz bath or apply to the affected areas.

- Liver cirrhosis - Take 4 leaves, wash them thoroughly and pound them with any type of sugar candy. Fill a medium glass with water and drink this twice a day.

- Lower blood pressure - Place 3 fig leaves in half liter of water. Boil for 15 minutes and drink daily.

- Ringworm - Cut open a leaf and take the milk or sap. Rub on the ringworm. This procedure works immediately.

- Scalp fungal infections, warts and boils - Follow the above directions.

- Shingles: Place three to four fig leaves in 2 cups of water. Boil for a few minutes, let cool and remove the leaves. Take a wash cloth and dip in the water and apply to the affected area.

- Ulcers - Every day chew two fig leaves and swallow the whole leaf. People with advanced ulcers should do this in the morning on an empty stomach.

Http://www.earthclinic.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fig_leaf

http://paroslife.parosweb.com/story.html?story=1962

Abby and I have been busy browsing Pinterest and found a list of recipes we can alter to make allergy safe and to add figs into... there are many varieties of figs and depending on the variety they are best used in different recipes. Some do better dried, some do better canned. There are a few types best eaten fresh.

Lastly- for anyone watching their calories, figs are surprisingly low calorie!



4 comments:

Circus of 6 said...

Diane,

You are a DOLL!! Can I use this as a guest blog PLEASE?? This is some good information :)

Jamie

Diane said...

Anything I post you are welcome to- always! :-)

Jenna said...

very interesting, I may have to try fresh figs. I don't really care for them. I don't even like fig newtons. Maybe I will pick one up and try it though.

My new blog is mtgjourney @ blogspot . com. Matt's initials. No matter what information changes over the years, Matt will still have his name.

Diane said...

Jenna- I just tried to put it in, and did not find it- I will try again tomorrow.. When I was younger I was not a huge fan of figs either! :-) But, there are some scary delicious recipes that use figs on Pinterest- I figure if they are buried in sugary sweet everyone in my house will eat them! though sugar would kind of counteract all the good! LOL Abby likes them "dried" best- She likes the black mission ones- she has quickly become a pro on which ones she likes best!

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