What’s So Great About Figs?

What’s So Great About Figs?

Um, one word….newton?! As in oddly addictive, weirdly healthy tasting, childhood- invoking cookie. Do they still make them and why haven’t I had one since I was 12? And, by the way, why am I not still 12? When did THAT happen? To be honest, I am not a fan of figs in their “pre-newton” state. But I’m considering taking another shot at them now that I know they’re ridiculously good for you (which, ironically would probably have had the exact opposite effect had I known that when I was 12).


Prevention Magazine called figs one of their top “25 Healthiest Foods” and Men’s Health Magazine included them in their list of “40 Foods with Superpowers”. High praise for a rather frumpy little unassuming fruit whose previous claim to fame was its (ahem) strategic placement in a certain biblical situation with a certain nude boy and a certain nude girl (names have been omitted to protect privacy). But figs have since burst onto the “secular” scene in a big way and the stats are impressive.

–       Figs are considered a functional food in that they provide health benefits beyond simple nutrition. They contain high levels of antioxidants and according to www.davesgarden.com, “Of all the common fruits, figs are the highest in overall mineral content and are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre”.

–       According to Prevention Magazine, “six fresh figs have 891 mg of the blood pressure-lowering mineral potassium, nearly 20% of your daily need—and about double what you’d find in one large banana”

–       Figs are one of the best fruit sources of calcium, with nearly as much per serving (six figs) as a 1/2 cup of fat-free milk (great news if you have a lactose intolerant child!)

–       Men’s Health Magazine says “figs support proper pH levels in the body, making it more difficult for pathogens to invade. Plus, the fibre in figs can lower insulin and blood-sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome”

Perhaps most important, Men’s Health suggests a healthy way to get more figs in your diet is…..cookies! Turns out they do in fact still make fig newtons and the magazine recommends Newman’s Own brand, called Fig Newmans (adorbs!). They come in low fat, fat free and wheat free and they’re organic. A decently short and readable ingredient list but definitely up there on the sugar scale (6g per cookie). Barbara’s Bakery also has a pretty good selection with whole food ingredients.  Or, as Men’s Health suggests, you could just aim to eat four figs per week. My inner 12 year old is throwing a hissy but I’m putting her in a timeout and we’re buying figs. I’m the responsible adult in this scenario after all.

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1 Comment

  1. Sharon
    July 31, 16:08 Reply

    Fresh figs, quartered and put in a leafy salad with goats cheese, toasted pine nuts and a simple fruit vinegrette is one of our favourites meals. Eating them whole is great too. So sweet and a great flavour.

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