There are many superfoods that do not get their due importance compared to other over-hyped foods like chia seeds and blueberries, and “fig” is one of them. Fig, also called “anjeer” in Hindi, is a nutrient-dense fruit loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats that is affordable and easily available throughout the year, whether in fresh or dry form. Soaked figs are thought to be more beneficial than fresh variety, particularly when trying to lose weight. So, let’s find out if there’s any substance behind these beliefs?
Starting with calories, there are approximately 50 calories in a single dried fig and 100 gm of fresh figs have 100 calories. The best thing about figs is that you can eat the flesh, fruit, and the seeds as well. As we have mentioned above, fig is a nutrient powerhouse with vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium. Figs have been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. The polyphenols in figs have antioxidant properties and fight free radicals.
The majority of minerals found in figs boost metabolism and are necessary to run all functions smoothly. Minerals are nutrients that are necessary to run a lot of important body functions, from carrying blood to your vital organs to relaying neurotransmitters in the brain. Calcium and magnesium are some minerals that are required to run up to 300 functions in the human body, and you can find them both in figs.
Figs are a good source of:
1. Magnesium: Helps to calm your mind down and decrease stress levels in the body, and also to increase serotonin (which is also called “happy chemical”) that regulates feelings such as mood and happiness. High serotonin level means you would feel good about yourself and life in general. Interestingly, people with major depression have been found to have magnesium deficiency, so up your intake of magnesium through a healthy diet.
2. Calcium: It helps you burn more fat stored in the body. Within the body cells, if there is adequate calcium, that cell will burn more fat. Adequate calcium in the body increases breakdown of fat in the bloodstream and preserves thermogenesis, accelerating the weight loss process. When the calcium levels are low, the body tends to make more fat cells. That’s a lot of research to show calcium helps burn fat. Diets that are high in calcium are associated with reduced rates of being obese. If one takes the recommended daily intake of calcium, there are less chances of that person developing belly fat. Calcium also suppresses appetite, lowering hunger sensations by 12%. Interestingly, when there is calcium deficiency, the body produces higher levels of calcitriol which is a hormone that leads to production of fat cells. Adequate calcium lowers calcitriol levels, leading to breakdown of fat, lesser production of fat cells, helping you slim down.
3. Iron: It is one mineral which gets its due importance because when there is a drop in iron, you can immediately feel it with a lack of energy, iron-deficiency anemia, and lethargy. Iron is needed to carry oxygen all through your body and improve muscle strength and endurance. When your iron levels are low, you also tend to gain weight because it directly affects thyroid gland, leading to hypothyroidism, making it quite difficult to lose weight. And because you lack energy and metabolism drops, the body stops losing weight.
4. Potassium: It is an essential mineral that is needed in good proportion in the body to maintain the pH level of body. It also boosts metabolism and improves muscle function. Potassium helps to boost metabolism, particularly resting metabolic rate which is the amount of calories that you burn while staying at rest.
5. Manganese: It’s a mineral that reduces inflammation in the body and helps regulate blood sugar level. It also activates certain enzymes that are needed for metabolic activity and that’s the reason why it is essential for burning of calories.
Most importantly, fig is a rich source of fiber which promotes fullness, keeps appetite in check, and keeps gut bacteria healthy and promotes fat burning. No weight loss diet is complete without fiber.
With so many benefits associated with figs, it’s prudent to include figs in your daily diet. If not fresh, you can pick them and soak them overnight because in the soaked form, the nutrients are more absorbable. Furthermore, since figs have a natural sweetness to them, you can use them to curb cravings if you have a habit of eating something sweet after dinner. Just soak two to three figs overnight in water. Also, for festive occasions, you can completely eliminate refined sugar and make sweets out of dates and figs.
Summing up, there’s no magic pill or superfood that can melt away all extra fat. A good weight loss diet like the Speed Slim program on the Rati Beauty that gives great importance on nutrition and consistent exercise can bring about effective weight loss. If you have that imaginary sweet tooth, you now know which fruit to pick up.