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Figs – February 2001

Why are figs so good? Is it because they are sun grown, sun ripened, sun dried and sun filled?
Perhaps, but add to this the following and you have a snack and a food that deserves to be one of the essential foods in your diet.

  • Figs are up to 1000% higher in calcium than any other common fruits – 133mg in 100g
  • Figs have the highest dietary fibre of any common fruit, nut or vegetable
  • They are high in peptic fibre which is a soft soluble fibre and helps the body remove toxic wastes and reduces cholesterol levels 
  • Figs are over 50% higher in potassium content than bananas. Potassium and sodium need to be in balance in the body and an excess in one depletes the other. For strong alcohol and sugar cravings and also salt cravings resulting from excess salt or sodium rich foods, sweet potassium foods like figs will produce a better sodiumpotassium balance and control cravings
  • Figs have a high content of plant protein, nearly twice as high as other dried fruits and over ten times that of most fresh fruits
  • Figs are loaded with natural food energy in the form of easily digestible natural sugars such as glucose and fructose
  • Figs have a higher overall score in minerals and trace minerals than other common fruits
  • Figs have a natural humectant that extends their shelf life and baked life
  • Figs are virtually cholesterol, fat and sodium free

So, figs have a role to play in the health of the bowels. They have a detoxifying action and cleanse the intestines. They are used to treat haemorrhoids and polyps in the colon. They are good to prevent and relieve constipation. Figs
also moisten the lungs. Chinese medicine recognises figs as toxin neutralisers.
One of the most alkalising foods, figs can help balance the acid that forms from diets rich in meat and refined foods.
Figs have been cultivated for centuries.
The tree grows in warm, semiarid climates and originated in Western Asia and the Mediterranean.

ENZYMES AND PHYTOCHEMICALS
Figs contain significant amounts of the enzyme Ficin which is a digestion enzyme helping with the digestion of proteins especially. They also contain the photochemical psoralenes which helps bring about beneficial results in skin
injuries (a fig poultice will draw infection to a head), in the removal of dead skin tissues (i.e. for cosmetic use in facial scrubs), and in vertiligo (a skin disease involving lack of pigmentation in patches of skin – figs were noted for this use in 4000 BC!!).
They also contain the phytochemical benzaldehyde, which has had some positive results in the prevention and treatment of cancerous tumours.

Enough science, try a fig for enhancing bowel action, for digestive efficiency and for sustained energy!

RECIPES

FIG BALLS

Food process some figs into a paste (about 1 cup)
Add pineapple juice as necessary to get a good paste consistency
Ground or process a few raw almonds, decide the amount according to how crunchy or almondy you want the mixture to be (about 1/8 cup)
Mix, roll into balls and serve
Or, further roll in carob powder or dried coconut.

HEARTY FIG OATBRAN MUFFINS

1 ½ cups bran flakes or other flakes
½ cup apple juice
1 egg
½ cap milk
1 cup apple juice concentrate or ¾ cup
apple juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large banana mashed
¾ cup figs finely chopped
2 tbsp honey
1 ½ cup oat flour or whole wheat flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

Combine your favourite flakes in a large bowl with the apple juice. Moisten the flakes evenly. Add the egg, milk, apple juice concentrate, oil, banana, figs and honey. Mix well. In a small bowl combine the flour, rolled oats, cinnamon,
baking soda and baking powder. Add to the bran mixture and mix well. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or till done.

NEW PRODUCTS
BUCKWHEAT BRAN – Gluten free
Has a very high protein content, the highest of all buckwheat products Lasts at least 2 months in the fridge Use in cereal or baking $1.79/250g in the Piko fridge
ORGANIC CHOCOLATE SYRUP! $9.06/440g
For pouring on ice cream and special desserts. Yum!
ORGANIC CAROB AND COCOA POWDER are now incredibly cheap.
$3.60/250g organic cocoa powder
$1.77/250g organic carob powder

Bibliography:
10 Essential Foods Lalitha Thomas, Hohm Press, 1997
Healing with Wholefoods Paul Pitchford, North Atlantic Books, 1993
Whole Food Facts Evelyn Roehl, Healing Arts Press, 1988

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