Ficus carica is an Asian species of flowering plants in the mulberry family, known as the common fig (or just the fig). It is the source of the fruit also called the fig, and as such is an important crop in those areas where it is grown commercially. Native to the Middle East and western Asia, it has been sought out and cultivated since ancient times, and is now widely grown throughout the world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant. The species has become naturalized in scattered locations in Asia and North America.
Fig fruit is low in calories. 100 g fresh fruits carry only 74 calories. However, they contain health benefiting soluble dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and pigment anti-oxidants that contribute immensely towards optimum health and wellness.
Dried figs are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. In fact, dried figs possess higher concentrations of energy, minerals and vitamins. 100 g dried figs provide 249 calories.
Fresh figs, especially black mission, are good in poly-phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotenes, lutein, tannins, chlorogenic acid...etc. Their anti-oxidant value is comparable to that of apples at 3200 umol/100 g (Trolex equivalents).
Additionally, fresh figs contain adequate levels of some of the anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, E, and K. Altogether these phyto-chemical compounds in fig fruit help scavenge harmful oxygen derived free radicals from the human body and thereby protect us from cancers, diabetes, degenerative diseases and infections.
Furthermore, research studies suggest that chlorogenic acid in the figs help lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus (adult onset) condition.
Fresh, as well as dried figs contain good levels of B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, folates, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins function as co-factors for metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Dried figs are an excellent sources of minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc. 100 g of dried figs contain 680 mg of potassium, 162 mg of calcium, and 2.03 mg of iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Copper required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for red blood cell formation as well for cellular oxidation. (Source: USDA National Nutrient database).