I was beyond thrilled to spot fresh figs at my local market yesterday. They're one of my very favorite summer fruits (aren't the gorgeous?!) but they also lend some major support for weight loss. That's because one medium fig supplies just 40 calories but packs 1.5 grams of fiber. So three of these little gems provide just 120 calories but about 20% of all the dietary fiber you need for the day (mostly from those little bunches of seeds). In one of my previous posts I mentioned that one study in Brazilian dieters found that over a 6 month period, each addition gram of fiber resulted in an extra quarter pound weight loss.
In my book, figs make a great addition to breakfast or any snack. I love slicing them in half and smearing each piece with a tablespoon of almond butter or dipping them in melted dark chocolate (try folding in fresh grated ginger!). The texture and flavor of a fresh fig is amazing (they're squishy and crunchy, with just the right amount of sweetness) and they're nutrition powerhouses.
In addition to fiber they provide minerals including potassium, calcium, and iron. They're also loaded with disease-fighting, ant-aging antioxidants called polyphenols - the same type that make dark grapes, red wine and tea so good for you.
These natural beauties also have a rich history. Here are a few figgy facts for you:
•There are almost 20 different varieties of figs
•Figs were reported to be Cleopatra's favorite fruit
•Early Olympic athletes ate figs during training; they're known as the "fitness fruit"
•Figs are mentioned in Homer's Iliad, and the Odyssey
•Figs are actually inverted edible flowers
I consider fresh figs to be a special treat. They're in season in now and throughout the summer months. But year round I eat them dried.
Pure (unsweetened) figs are actually available in a number of forms - check out the second photo of the little dishes. I took it yesterday at the Blue Ribbon Orchard booth at the Fancy Food Show (paste, slurry, nuggets, powder, granules). Yum, yum & yum.