9 Health Benefits of Anjeer (Dried Figs) & Why to Include In Your Diet

Key takeaways

·  When you're craving something sweet, a few dry figs oranjeer can satisfy your sweet tooth while giving you some valuable nutrients.

·  Packed with natural sugars and carbohydrates they provide a quick energy boost when you are feeling tired.

·  Eating anjeer can help prevent constipation and keep your gut happy.

·  They help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

·  If you have diabetes, limit your intake of dry figs due to their high natural sugar content.

Introduction

Anjeer or figs are one of the oldest cultivated fruits. Belonging to the Moraceae family, figs are botanically known as Ficus carica. Renowned for their numerous health benefits, figs can be enjoyed fresh or dried and make an excellent addition to a healthy, balanced diet. They can be incorporated into salads, desserts, and smoothies, or enjoyed as a nutritious snack.

Read this blog to understand the multiple health benefits of dried figs and how they can enhance your well-being.

Nutritional profile of dried figs

Wondering why to include dried figs in your diet?

Anjeer or Figs are a key part of the Mediterranean diet and symbolize ‘long life’ worldwide.

Here are some great reasons to include dry figs in your diet:

1. Low in fat, cholesterol-free.

2. Rich in fibre.

3. Naturally sweet because of its high fructose content (56%).

4. Loaded with potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, etc.  

5. Packed with antioxidants.

Anjeer nutrition facts 100 g

Dietary Component Amount per 100 g
Total Calories 283.0
Calories from fat 4.7
Total fat 0.52 g
Saturated fat 0
Cholesterol 0
Total carbohydrate 66. 16 g
Total dietary fibre 12.21 g
Insoluble 8.74g
Sugars 49 g
Protein 3.14 g
Vitamin A 9.7 IU
Vitamin C 0.68 mg
Sodium 12.26 mg
Potassium 609 mg
Calcium 133 mg
Iron 3.07 mg

Comparing nutrient content of dry figs vs. other common fruits

If you take 1 medium-sized banana (approx.126 g), you get:

75 calories
1.7 g fibre
324 mg potassium
4.9 mg calcium
0.3 mg iron
If you take 1 medium-sized apple (approx.154 g), you get:


91 calories
3 g fibre
177 mg potassium
11 mg calcium
0.3 mg iron
On the other hand, if you take just 4 medium-sized dried figs (approx. 40g), you get:

113 calories
4.9 g fibre
244 mg potassium
53 mg calcium
1.2 mg iron
What does it imply?
· A handful of dried figs is a very good source of fibre and essential minerals as compared to other common fruits.
· However, its high-calorie content requires moderation, particularly for those managing diabetes or watching their calorie intake.
Quick tips for enjoying dry figs
· Keep dry figs in your bag or at your desk for a quick, healthy snack.
· Chop them up and add them to your morning oatmeal or yoghurt for a nutritious start to your day.
· Toss a few sliced figs into your salads for a sweet and savoury flavour boost.

9 amazing benefits of dried anjeer: nature's sweet superfruit

1. Regulates blood pressure

o Figs are rich in potassium.

o Potassium helps to counteract the negative effects of sodium.

o It helps relax blood vessel walls, thereby lowering blood pressure.

o Adequate potassium intake is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension.

2. Helps control blood sugar

A study compared the effects of figs to the medication metformin and found that figs lowered blood sugar levels, though not as much as metformin.

o Figs contain abscisic acid, which helps increase glucose uptake by cells.

o Figs are rich in fiber, which slows sugar absorption and prevents rapid blood sugar spikes after meals.

However, remember that dried figs are high in sugar. If you have trouble managing blood sugar, limit your intake.

3. Reduce risk of heart disease

Animal studies suggest fig leaf extract may improve total cholesterol, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, and decrease triglyceride levels.

o The high fiber content in dried figs helps lower cholesterol levels, reducing the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

o Potassium in figs helps regulate blood pressure.

o Figs' polyphenols preventoxidative damage and reduce inflammation, lowering heart disease risk.

4. Manage constipation

Figs, according to Unani literature, are believed to have medicinal properties that can help alleviate constipation, dysentery, enteritis, and piles due to their laxative effects.

o Fig seeds are rich in mucin,which binds to waste in the gut, facilitating their removal.

o Figs may help in preventing colon cancer by fast elimination of waste from the body.

5. Helps in obesity management

Incorporating figs can be beneficial for managing obesity.

o High fiber content promotes afeeling of fullness, reducing overall calorie intake.

o Figs have a low glycemic index, preventing rapid blood glucose spikes after eating.

o Figs' natural sweetness makes them a healthier choice over sugary snacks, cutting down on empty calories.

6. Anticancer properties

Studies have shown that figs can inhibit stomach cancer and may have the potential to treat cervical cancers.

o Phytochemicals like polyphenols, flavonoids, and carotenoids in figs have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

o These compounds can prevent DNA damage, inhibit cancer cell growth, and trigger programmed cell death in cancer cells.

While more research is needed to fully understand how figs combat cancer, including them in a balanced diet could aid in cancer prevention and management.

7. Protects against Alzheimer’s Disease

Animal studies suggest that eating figs might help improve memory and behaviour in AD.

o Figs are packed with fibre, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals like copper, iron, manganese, and magnesium.

o These compounds can protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's by reducing oxidativestress and inflammation in the brain.

8. Promotes good skin health

Evidence suggests fig fruit extract can be used to combat dryness and itchiness associated with atopic dermatitis.

o They are rich in antioxidants and prevent skin damage caused by free radicals.

o Contain vitamins A and E, essential for skin cell regeneration and repair.

o High fibre content aids in detoxification, leading to clearer skin.

o Figs help hydrate the skin due to their natural sugars and mucilage content.

9. Maintains strong bones

o Dry figs are loaded with calcium and magnesium, which are essential for strong bones.

o Eating figs regularly can help you maintain healthy bones and prevent conditions like osteoporosis as you age.

Conclusion

In conclusion, anjeer or dried figs, offer a plethora of health benefits. Their rich nutrient profile makes them a valuable addition to any diet. For those seeking to maximize their health and wellness journey, incorporating dried figs into their daily routine can be a simple yet effective step.

Additionally, to track your health goals further, I encourage you to download the Aware Health Rewards app. With this health tracker, you can monitor your progress, stay fit, and prevent lifestyle conditions such as obesity, pre-diabetes, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, ensuring a healthier and happier future.

Also read: 8 Effective Yoga Mudras for High Blood Pressure

FAQs

1. Is anjeer good for diabetes?

Figs have a low glycemic index, meaning they cause a slow and steady increase in blood sugar levels. Additionally, figs are rich in dietary fibre, which can aid in controlling blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity. However, individuals with diabetes need to monitor their portion sizes when incorporating figs into their diet.

2. How much protein is present in anjeer?

Dried figs contain approx. 3-4 grams of protein per 100 grams. While figs do contain some protein, they are not a significant source compared to other foods like meat, dairy, or legumes.

3. How many anjeer can I eat daily?

As a general guideline, consuming 3-4 dried figs per day can be a reasonable portion size for most people. However, it's essential to consider the total amount of sugar and calories in figs, especially if you're watching your sugar intake or trying to manage your weight.  

4. Can I eat anjeer at night?

Yes, you can eat anjeer at night. Figs are a nutritious and healthy snack option that can be enjoyed at any time of day, including before bedtime.

5. What are the benefits of eating soaked anjeer?

Soaked figs offer several health benefits, including improved digestion, enhanced nutrient absorption, and effective relief from constipation.

References

1.     Çalışkan, O. Mediterranean Figs (Ficus carica L.)Functional Food Properties. In book: The Mediterranean diet. An evidence-based approach. 2015; p629-637. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-407849-9.00056-7.

2.    Leber A, Hontecillas R, et al. Abscisicacid enriched fig extract promotes insulin sensitivity by decreasing systemicinflammation and activating LANCL2 in skeletal muscle. Sci Rep.2020;10(1):10463. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-67300-2.

3.    Sandhu AK, et al. Phytochemical Compositionand Health Benefits of Figs (Fresh and Dried): A Review of Literature from 2000to 2022. Nutrients. 2023;15(11):2623. doi: 10.3390/nu15112623.

4.    Houston MC. The importance of potassium inmanaging hypertension. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2011;13(4):309-17. doi:10.1007/s11906-011-0197-8. PMID: 21403995.

5.    Joerin L, et al. Ficus carica leaf extractmodulates the lipid profile of rats fed with a high-fat diet through anincrease of HDL-C. Phytother Res. 2014;28(2):261-7. doi:10.1002/ptr.4994.

6.    Subash S, et al. Consumption of fig fruitsgrown in Oman can improve memory, anxiety, and learning skills in a transgenicmice model of Alzheimer's disease. Nutr Neurosci. 2016;19(10):475-483.doi: 10.1179/1476830514Y.0000000131.

7.    Abbasi S, Kamalinejad M, Babaie D, Shams S,Sadr Z, Gheysari M, Askari VR, Rakhshandeh H. A new topical treatment of atopicdermatitis in pediatric patients based on Ficus carica L. (Fig): A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complement Ther Med. 2017;35:85-91.doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.10.003.

About the Author

Dr. Satish Madiraju, a renowned cardiologist is passionate about consumer heart health and is on a mission to prevent a million heart attacks. He shares his expertise not only on heart health but also on leadership, digital health, and improving patient experience.
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