Figs vs Prunes – Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts, Side Effects

Figs are fruits which grow on the Ficus tree, a member of the Mulberry family.

They are originally from the Middle East and Western Asia, but they are now grown in temperate climates around the world.

Nutrition Facts

They are an excellent source of fiber, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin K, potassium, iron, selenium, and copper.

Health BenefitsF

Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is a medical condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. It is the most frequent form of heart disease in the US, where it accounts for more than 370,000 deaths per year.

These fruits contain omega-3, phenol, and omega-6 fatty acids that can reduce the risk of CHD considerably.

Colon Cancer

It is a type of cancer of the large intestine, that is the final part of the digestive tract. Colon cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer in both American women and men.

The majority of colon cancers are cancers which begin in cells that make and release mucus.

The high dietary fiber content in these fruits helps to eliminate unnecessary waste in the human body, that works well for the prevention of colorectal cancer.

Iron Anemia

This type of anemia occurs when an individual has a decreased level of hemoglobin in the red blood cells.

This usually happens when the body is low in iron, an essential mineral. A 1/2-cup serving of these amazing fruits has about 1.5 mg of iron which is approximately 9 percent of the daily recommended intake.

Constipation

This condition is a difficulty in passing stools or a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements.

A recent survey concluded that more than 16% of people in the United States experience constipation at some point during their lives, plus, 33 percent of those older than 60 suffer from chronic constipation.

The high dietary fiber content in these fruit helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system, hence, preventing chronic constipation.

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis, also referred to as hardening of the arteries, is a narrowing of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque, which is basically the arteries getting hard and clogged with plaque.

The antioxidants in these remarkable fruits prevent hardening of the arteries and reduce free radical damage.

Side Effects

There are no scientifically proven side effects. However, overconsumption is likely to have a laxative effect.

Tip – when purchasing dried figs, you want to ensure that they are soft and are free from mol.

Prunes

Image credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/sonofgroucho/3316017655

They belong to the plum family and are usually sold as dried fruits. They are commonly dried naturally in the sun without undergoing any type of fermentation process.

Nutrition Facts

They are a good source of some major nutrients, including – protein, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin K, iron, calcium, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, selenium, boron, and potassium.

Health Benefits

Potassium

They are an excellent source of potassium, an electrolyte which aids in many crucial bodily functions. This essential mineral also helps with heart rhythm, blood pressure, digestion, muscle contractions, and nerve impulses.

More importantly, some studies have established a connection between increased intake of dietary potassium and increased bone density.

The Institute of Medicine recommends 4,700 mg of potassium a day, however, most Americans actually ingest fifty percent of that amount.

One cup of this fruit has 1274 mg of potassium, which is about 36 percent of the daily recommended intake.

Bone Health

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones are more likely to break because they have a lower density. Individuals with this bone condition usually break bones in the spine, hip, and wrist. More than 10 million people over age 50 in the US have osteoporosis of the hip.

One serving of these fruits has sufficient amounts of the daily recommended intake of boron, a mineral which keeps the bones intact.

Liver Healthliver

Cirrhosis and other chronic liver conditions are frequent disease-related causes of death in the United States. For instance, about 31,000 Americans die per year from cirrhosis.

According to research, liver function has shown significant improvement when these fruits were included in the regular diet.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition which causes a person’s blood glucose level to become too high. You are at a higher risk of having type 2 diabetes mellitus if you are obese since more than 86 percent of patients with diabetes mellitus are overweight or obese.

These nutritious fruits help in preventing obesity and diabetes due to the fact that they contain high amounts of dietary fiber, that can help in keeping the blood glucose at normal levels.

Side Effects

There are no side effects regarding the consumption of these fruits, but, since they contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol which has potent laxative effects, they may cause an increase in bowel movements.

Figs vs Prunes – Which Have A Better Nutritional Profile?

Both these dried fruits are nutritious and healthy but prunes win this contest due to a higher content of dietary fiber, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and potassium.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3169356/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/common-fig

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