[Note: They say Health is Wealth. While CCV tries to enlighten its readers on various burning issues viz. Church Reforms, important Political Development and Upheavals, Spiritual Matters, Isaac Gomes, Associate Editor of CCV feels one area needs to be emphasised too i.e. to help our readers keep naturally healthy. In this article he highlights the benefits of Bibilical Figs. The fig tree is the third tree to be mentioned by name in the Hebrew Bible. The first is the Tree of life and the second is the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve used the leaves of the fig tree to sew garments for themselves after the Fall, when they realized that they were naked (Genesis 3:7)].
Figs are seasonal fruits that are found in the western parts of Asia, but dried ones are available almost everywhere, at any point during the year. The fig tree is a member of the mulberry family.
The health benefits of figs or anjeer include its use as a treatment for sexual dysfunction, constipation, indigestion, piles, diabetes, cough, bronchitis, and asthma. It is also used as a quick and healthy way to gain weight back after suffering through an illness.
The health benefits of figs come from the presence of minerals, vitamins and fiber contained in the fruit. They contain a wealth of beneficial nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, potassium and chlorine.
Health Benefits of Figs
A few health benefits derived from figs include:
Prevention of constipation: There are 5 grams of fiber in every three-fig serving. That high concentration of fiber helps promote healthy, regular bowel function and prevents constipation. Fiber works to add bulk and mass to bowel movements, so it not only prevents constipation, but also eliminates diarrhea and unhealthy or irregular bowel movements.
Weight loss: The fiber in figs also helps to reduce weight and is often recommended for obese people. However, their high calorie count can also result in weight gain, especially when consumed with milk. A few figs are enough to get the recommended amount of nutrients, so don’t overdo it! Remember, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
Lower cholesterol: Figs contain pectin, which is a soluble fiber. When fiber moves through the digestive system, it basically mops up excess clumps of cholesterol and carries them to the excretory system to be eliminated from the body. As a soluble fiber, pectin from figs also stimulates healthy bowel movements. They can have a laxative effect, as they are one of the most fiber-dense foodsavailable. High amounts of fiber in your diet can benefit your overall health by preventing certain types of abdominal cancer, as well as colon cancer.
Prevention of coronary heart disease: Dried figs contain phenol, Omega-3 and Omega-6. These fatty acids reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Furthermore, the fig leaves have a significant effect on the level of triglycerides in a person’s system. Fig leaves have an inhibitory effect on triglycerides, and makes the overall number of triglycerides drop. Triglycerides are another major factor behind various heart diseases.
Prevention of colon cancer: The presence of fiber helps to stimulate the elimination of free radicals and other cancer causing substances, particularly in the colon, since fiber increases the healthy movement of the bowels.
Protection against post-menopausal breast cancer: Fiber content in figs have been known to protect against breast cancer, and after menopause, the hormonal balance in women can often fluctuate. The body’s systems are so interconnected that hormones affect the immune system, which is turn affect the ability of antioxidants to fight free radicals. Free radicals are prime factors behind the development of cancer, so figs take care of one extra line of defense by providing its wealth of fiber.
Good for diabetic patients: The American Diabetes Association recommends figs as a high fiber treat that helps promote functional control of diabetes. Fig leaves reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetic patients who have to regularly take insulin injections. They are rich in Potassium, which helps to regulate the amount of sugar which is absorbed by the body after meals. Large amounts of potassium can ensure that blood sugar spikes and falls are much less frequent, so figs can help diabetics live a normal life.
Prevention of hypertension: People usually take in sodium in the form of salt, but low potassium and high sodium level may lead to hypertension. Figs are high in potassium and low in sodium, so they are a perfect defense against the appearance and effects of hypertension, making them a relaxing food as well, which can settle the nerves and bring some calmness to your day.
Bronchitis: The natural chemicals in fig leaves make it an ideal component for a tea base. Fig leaf tea has been popularly prescribed for various respiratory conditions like bronchitis, and it is also used as a way to prevent and lessen the symptoms of asthmatic patients.
Venereal Diseases: Figs have been traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and a few other areas of the world as a calming salve for venereal diseases. Ingestion or topical application both work for relief from sexually transmitted diseases, although further research needs to be done on the exact range of symptoms and diseases which figs positively effect.
Sexual Dysfunction: For centuries, figs have been recommended as a way to correct sexual dysfunction like sterility, endurance, or erectile dysfunction. It has been a major part of mythology and culture, and most of the time, it is referenced as a powerful fertility or sexual supplement. Its actual success as an aphrodisiac is questionable, but the huge amount of valuable vitamins and minerals might result in the sudden boost in energy and stamina that people mistake for a sexual surge. Soak 2-3 figs in milk overnight and eat them in the morning to enhance your sexual abilities.
Strengthens Bones: Figs are rich in calcium, which is one of the most important components in strengthening bones, and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. It is also rich in phosphorus, which encourages bone formation and spurs regrowth if there is any damage or degradation to bones.
Urinary calcium loss: People that maintain a high-sodium diet may be affected by increased urinary calcium loss. The high potassium content in figs helps to avoid that condition and regulates the content of waste in your urine. It minimizes the calcium you lose, while increasing the amount of uric acid and other harmful toxins which you want to get out of your body.
Prevention of macular degeneration: Vision loss in older people is normally due to macular degeneration. Fruits and figs are particularly good at helping you avoid this very common symptom of aging.
Figs are quite useful in treating various respiratory disorders like whooping cough and asthma. They are also effective digestive aids, and they are helpful in treating constipation, indigestion, stomach ache, and various other intestinal conditions. They are good for fever, earache, boils, abscesses, venereal diseases and is excellent for the liver. They have a high level of alkines, therefore they help regulate the pH of the body. Figs are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, which are antioxidants that prevent the damage caused by free radicals. They are known for their soothing and laxative properties, and they are also low in fat and sugar.
Figs are sweet and soft and their paste is often used as a replacement for sugar. Processed figs are used to make pies, pudding, cakes, assorted baked goods, jam, jellies and preserves.
Word of Caution: It is possible to have too much of a good thing, and eating too many figs can cause diarrhea. Furthermore, dried figs are high in sugar and can potentially cause tooth decay. Also, there are those who are allergic to figs, or certain chemical components within them, and the resulting allergic reactions can be mild to severe. As always, before making a major change in your behavioral patterns or lifestyle, speak with your doctor or usual medical professional.
The fig tree as a metaphor for Israel
The fig tree is also symbollic of Israel itself – It often symbolized the health of the nation both spiritually and physically . Hosea 9:10 says,
“When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.”
Later, the Bible tells us of the glorious time when
“Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 4:25)
So from Genesis to Revelation, the fig features strongly in scriptural symbolism.
Figs flourishing in Israel today
Today Israel is full of fig trees – huge, well developed, shady and mature. They produce two harvests of fruit a year, the early crop around Passover time in the spring, even before the leaves have unfurled, and the biggest, best, most juicy fruits come into their own in September, close to the Jewish holidays of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles respectively).
– Source: ONE FOR ISRAEL