If you're serious about maintaining your health for the long run, you know that your diet should be rich in fruits and vegetables. Not all are created equal, however, so choose your five to eight daily servings wisely.

Figs, popular around the world since ancient times for both their culinary and medicinal purposes, are one of the most nutritious and tasty fruits around. They're good for more than just their taste, however! Recent studies have shown that they may be helpful in treating a range of medical concerns from diabetes to eczema. Before you add the ingredients for fig quick bread to your shopping list, consider some of the benefits that this fruit might have for your diet.

Figs and Your Appetite

Read about this nutritious fruit that some believe can lower cholesterol »

Well-loved for their sweet, mild flavor and multiple uses, figs are one of the richest plant sources for a variety of vitamins and minerals. They're particularly high in fiber and calcium. That alone is a great reason to consider slicing up a few as part of a nice salad or adding them to a savory chutney with dinner. Additionally, their high fiber content can also help alleviate constipation and keep you feeling full longer. If you’re looking to shed pounds, you might find a powerful ally in figs.

Calcium can help you ward off osteoporosis and a ton of other nasty ailments, too, and you won't find a better plant source of calcium than figs. Fig allergies and negative drug interactions are uncommon, so you can add a moderate number of them to your diet without worry.

Figs and the Skin

In some folk medicine traditions, figs are used to treat a variety of skin issues, such as eczema, vitiglio, and psoriasis. There haven't been any conclusive, scientific studies done that confirm their dermis-healing powers, but anecdotal evidence and preliminary research suggests that figs show promise in this field.

Figs are a good source of many enriching vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, and improving your overall health often balances your skin and helps with your circulation. If you feel like your skin is better when you eat more figs, enjoy! Your body will thank you, and your skin might, too.

Figs and Diabetes

It’s not just the fruits of this shrub that can help. Some evidence also suggests that the leaves of the fig shrub could help regulate the symptoms of diabetes. A 2003 study showed that fig extract can help to treat diabetes by normalizing blood fatty acid and vitamin E levels. Speak with your healthcare provider to see if this complementary treatment might be a good fit for your overall diabetes management program. It isn't a substitute for healthy eating, medications, or daily testing, but your doctor will be able to determine if this could be a tasty way to help you better manage your sugar levels.

Fig-Orange Chutney Recipe


Figs are a delicious way to increase your daily intake of important vitamins and minerals, so check Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Iranian cookbooks for recipes that may include this versatile fruit. Don't stop with figs, though — make sure you get a variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet to maintain your health. Mix it up and try fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors to be sure you're getting all your nutrients.

Fig chutney goes well with your favorite curries, as well as with more simple dishes like sautéed chicken breasts. This recipe uses dried fruits, which are high in antioxidants and fiber.

  • 2/3 cup dried figs, halved
  • 1/4 cup minced sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary

In order to make the chutney, heat the canola oil in a skillet at medium-high heat until it starts to smoke. Then add the onions and cook for two minutes until they’re lightly browned. Add the garlic, and after 30 seconds add the orange juice and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and loosen any sticky brown bits. Toss in the figs and cook for 2 minutes or until they start to plump. Then remove from heat and add the orange and rosemary. Leave to cool.