Organic dried figs are available year-round, whereas fresh figs are typically in season from late summer to early autumn. They have a mellow sweetness which makes them ideal for snacking, and can be enjoyed by everyone.
Organic Dried Figs: History & Nutrition
Figs (Ficus carica) are native to Mediterranean and Asian regions and belong to the Moraceae plant family. Figs are among the oldest plant species known to humankind, with fossil specimens discovered from around 9200 BC in the Jordan Valley region.
Figs were grown in Northern Europe following the 15th century and later imported into America by the Spanish. Missioni figs are a popular variety still grown today in this region.
Over the last 5 years, world production of raw figs was 1.14 million tonnes from Turkey and North Africa predominantly. Fig plants grow up to 7-10 metres tall with smooth white bark, large green leaves and golf-ball sized fruit. The fruit itself starts as green and ripens to deep purple or brown, with soft edible seeds.
Fig fruit has remained one of the world’s most important agricultural crops for centuries, with cultivation preceding barley and wheat.
In the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, figs are revered as a symbol of long life, growth and prosperity.
Organic Dried Figs: Nutrient Snapshot
- 30% water
- 64% carbohydrates
- 3% protein
- Vitamin K
- Antioxidants - chlorogenic acid, gallic acid, epicatechin, rutin, anthocyanins
Figs are naturally high in zinc, fibre and antioxidants, which promote fertility in men and women. Figs are also an abundant source of folate, manganese and B vitamins.
Organic Dried Figs: Health Benefits
- Supports digestion & bowel function
- Reduces menstrual pain
- Supports women’s & men’s fertility
Organic vs. Conventionally Dried Figs
Figs that are naturally dried and grown without the use of pesticides are inherently a better, healthier choice.
Pesticides can affect our immune and reproductive systems, which interrupt hormone and neurotransmitter function. Pesticides can also disrupt the microbiome, causing upstream effects on our mood and brain health.
Organic Dried Figs & Mineral Content
Research shows that fig consumption increases blood mineral levels.
A recent crossover trial confirmed the calcium, iron and copper levels were all higher in participants during and after dried fig supplementation. In this study, 120g per day of figs were added to the participants’ diets for 5 weeks. The healthful inclusion of figs also caused a displacement of junk food from the participants’ usual diet.
Organic Dried Figs: A Unique Polyphenol Profile
Haddad et al. (2020) confirms that dried figs contain a significantly higher polyphenol and antioxidant content compared to red wine and tea.
The authors noted that a range of flavonoids (a subset of plant polyphenols) in figs are higher in their metabolic anti-inflammatory capacity than that of vitamin C, glutathione or vitamin E.
Organic dried figs are therefore valuable as a preventative functional food, in chemoprevention, oxidative stress and cell damage.
Organic Dried Figs & Cancer Prevention
Traditionally, fig products are widely recognised as possessing antitumor therapeutic properties.
The anti-cancer effects of fig peel, leaves and fruit have been extensively examined in lab studies. A group of French scientists published a study in the Cellular and Molecular Biology journal. This report confirms that colorectal cancer cells were diminished after 48 hours of fig extract treatment.
Organic Dried Figs & Alzheimer's Disease
Figs appear to suppress the onset of nervous system conditions, including Alzheimers’ Disease. In mouse models, compounds from dried figs have been shown to reduce inflammation and the subsequent onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Figs therefore are a naturally healthy food which can be beneficial in the prevention of neurodegeneration and associated diseases.
Organic Dried Figs & Women’s Reproductive Health
A recent 2020 study observed the effects of dried figs on a group of women with painful periods. Over the 3 month study period, the group receiving dried figs had significantly lower scores of pain and menstrual distress compared to the placebo groups. The women also reported higher quality of life scores from consuming dried figs over the study duration.
Organic Dried Fig, Quinoa and Halloumi Salad
A simple salad for two, or a good portion for you! Grill your halloumi while you assemble your salad and before you know it, your dish is done.
Organic dried figs impart a natural sweetness which balances the salty halloumi. This plate pairs perfectly with the tangy balsamic vinaigrette. A fancy lunch or light dinner in no time at all. Enjoy.
1 pack of halloumi cheese, sliced
4 cups of mixed salad leaves
1 radish, sliced
3 tbsp of toasted pine nuts
½ cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
4 – 5 organic dried figs, sliced
⅓ sliced lebanese cucumber
¼ cup of quinoa, rinsed and drained
½ cup of water
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
⅓ cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of honey
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt and black pepper
- Place quinoa and add the water in a small-medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 10-12 minutes (partially covered) or until water has completely evaporated. Add salt to taste, stir and cover for 5 more minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- Place pine nuts in a medium pan and toast at medium temperature stirring constantly (approximately 3 minutes) and set aside.
- Using the same pan, drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil and start grilling the cheese on medium heat until golden on each side.
- For the vinaigrette: whisk the vinegar and honey and slowly add the oil, this way you will emulsify the vinaigrette. Add a pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper.
- Place 2 cups of washed mixed greens on each plate and add half the portions of tomatoes, cucumber, radish, figs and pine nuts.
- Drizzle with the vinaigrette and enjoy!
Alshaeri, H. K., Natto, Z. S., Tonstad, S., Haddad, E., & Jaceldo-Siegl, K. (2015). Effect of dried California Mission figs on mineral status and food replacement. Public health nutrition, 18(6), 1135–1140. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980014001566
Amanak K. (2020). Effects of Dry Figs on Primary Dysmenorrhea Symptoms, perceived Stress Levels and the Quality of Life. Puerto Rico health sciences journal, 39(4), 319–326.
Arvaniti, O. S., Samaras, Y., Gatidou, G., Thomaidis, N. S., & Stasinakis, A. S. (2019). Review on fresh and dried figs: Chemical analysis and occurrence of phytochemical compounds, antioxidant capacity and health effects. Food research international (Ottawa, Ont.), 119, 244–267. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2019.01.055
Barolo, M. I., Ruiz Mostacero, N., & López, S. N. (2014). Ficus carica L. (Moraceae): an ancient source of food and health. Food chemistry, 164, 119–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.04.112
Berry, E. M., Arnoni, Y., & Aviram, M. (2011). The Middle Eastern and biblical origins of the Mediterranean diet. Public health nutrition, 14(12A), 2288–2295. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980011002539
Bretveld, R. W., Thomas, C. M., Scheepers, P. T., Zielhuis, G. A., & Roeleveld, N. (2006). Pesticide exposure: the hormonal function of the female reproductive system disrupted?. Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E, 4, 30. https://doi.org/10.1186/1477-7827-4-30
Haddad, M. A., El-Qudah, J., Abu-Romman, S., Obeidat, M., Iommi, C., & Jaradat, D. (2020). Phenolics in Mediterranean and Middle East Important Fruits. Journal of AOAC International, 103(4), 930–934. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaocint/qsz027
Hasnieza Mohd Rosli, N., Mastura Yahya, H., Shahar, S., Wahida Ibrahim, F., & Fadilah Rajab, N. (2020). Alzheimer's Disease and Functional Foods: An Insight on Neuroprotective Effect of its Combination. Pakistan journal of biological sciences : PJBS, 23(5), 575–589. https://doi.org/10.3923/pjbs.2020.575.589
Nicolopoulou-Stamati, P., Maipas, S., Kotampasi, C., Stamatis, P., & Hens, L. (2016). Chemical Pesticides and Human Health: The Urgent Need for a New Concept in Agriculture. Frontiers in public health, 4, 148. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2016.00148
Soltana, H., Pinon, A., Limami, Y., Zaid, Y., Khalki, L., Zaid, N., Salah, D., Sabitaliyevich, U. Y., Simon, A., Liagre, B., & Hammami, M. (2019). Antitumoral activity of Ficus carica L. on colorectal cancer cell lines. Cellular and molecular biology (Noisy-le-Grand, France), 65(6), 6–11.
Wikipedia Contributors. (2021, Nov 13). Fig. Retrieved from Wikipedia website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fig viewed 13 November 2021