1) Lower Cholesterol Levels: A study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University found that dried figs are a rich source of phenol and the essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6, all of which have been demonstrated to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol levels and the risk of coronary heart disease.
2) More Dietary Fiber Than Any Other Fruit: Figs provide 20% of the recommended daily value of fiber, which is more than any other dried or fresh fruit. Figs are particularly rich in soluble fiber like pectin, which has been proven effective at lowering cholesterol. A 2003 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased intake of soluble fiber, especially pectin, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
3) 5-A-Day Goal: Two dried figs counts as one serving of fruit in the 5-A-Day program to encourage people to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day. The 5-A-Day program in the U.S. is now called Fruits & Veggies – More Matters, but the mission is still the same: to increase daily fruit and vegetable consumption among Americans.
4) Powerful Antioxidants: Figs are rich in antioxidants, which protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that the antioxidant properties of eating figs canceled out the negative oxidative stress in the bloodstream caused by the high fructose corn syrup in soda.
5) More Health Benefits: Figs are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which can help regulate blood pressure, support bone development, and control blood sugar levels. Figs are also a good source of prebiotics, which stimulate the helpful bacteria that exist in our gut and supports the function of our digestive system.
Many Uses Dried figs can be enjoyed as a moist and delicious snack that provides a wealth of health benefits. Their natural sweetness and unique texture also makes them a wonderful addition to both savory and sweet dishes. For an exceptional treat, try pairing dried figs with goat cheese and caramelized onions. They can also be baked into breads, muffins, and biscuits, or chopped up in rice dishes and served with meats. Using a pair of scissors is one of the easiest way to cut up figs. Running your scissors or knife under hot water will prevent it from getting too sticky and make it easier to use. If you plan to use dried figs in dough for baking, coat the figs in flour first so that they will be easier to work with and will not stick to your pans.