April 24, 2009

Dried and fresh figs are one of nature's super-powered healthy foods, offering more fiber than any other fruit.

Wondering about the health benefit of fresh figs? Each bite boasts potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, polyphenols and antioxidants to power any training session. Fresh or dried, figs indulge your sweet tooth with satisfying, high fiber goodness. But they spoil fast, so use them within two days, says Sondra Bernstein, author of The Girl & The Fig Cookbook.

Try them whole as a healthy snack or in the tasty ways outlined below:

Recipes using fresh figs as an appetizer

Mix 3 cups field greens, 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese, 6 fig halves, and 3 tbsp. pine nuts. Toss with a dressing of 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 tsp. lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

As a healthy snack

Slice 3 figs, 1 banana, 6 strawberries, and 1/2 small cantaloupe into bite-size pieces. Thread onto 6 bamboo skewers and drizzle with lemon juice. Serve with lowfat lemon or vanilla yogurt for dipping.

Recipes using fresh figs as a dessert

Preheat oven to 350°F. Drizzle 4 figs with 1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup. Place on a baking sheet; roast for 10 minutes. Serve 2 figs over 1/2 cup lowfat vanilla frozen yogurt or reduced-fat ice cream.

Health benefits of fresh figs (3) medium: 111 calories, 4 G fiber, 348 MG potassium, 54 MG calcium