Eating dried figs at breakfast has many health benefits. It supports weight loss, protects the eyes, hair, skin and nails from oxidative stress, hydrates the body, increases energy levels, and enhances productivity as it improves brain functions!
Eating dried figs at breakfast supports weight loss!
People who want to lose weight or maintain a lean body year-round should consider eating dried or fresh figs at breakfast.
The consumption of figs as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet has been associated with a lower body mass index and smaller waist circumference.
Among others, figs when included in the diet regularly support weight loss because they increase satiety and control postprandial glycemic responses.
Provide energy for hours
Above all, dried figs (or anjeer) support weight loss because they provide steady energy levels for hours.
Despite their high sugar content, dried figs don’t spike blood sugar levels.
Low Glycemic Index
In fact, they have a low glycemic index. It’s between 54 and 61, depending on the variety, as well as harvesting, processing, and storing methods.
Foods with a glycemic index lower than 55 are excellent food choices for weight loss. They regulate glycemic responses, promote satiety, and provide high energy levels for a long time.
Above all, we should avoid consuming foods with a glycemic index greater than 70, like white bread, and sugar. Those foods spike blood sugar levels.
Dried figs have 12 grams of sugar per serving. But they don’t spike blood sugar levels because 48% of sugars are fructose. Fructose isn’t readily available to the muscles like glucose. It has to be metabolized by the liver first.
Furthermore, figs are rich in fiber, which delays digestion.
Also, dried figs have a pretty low glycemic index, as they’re packed with antioxidants. These health-promoting compounds can substantially decrease glucose levels.
So, dried figs are an excellent food we can enjoy for breakfast on an empty stomach!
Keep you full until lunch
Additionally, dried figs are great for breakfast because they’re an excellent dietary source of fiber. Just a small serving of 3 dried figs provides 9% of the Daily Value on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Among other benefits, fiber manages appetite. It expands in the stomach, taking up a lot of space. Hence, eating figs at breakfast can keep us full till brunch or even lunchtime!
You should eat dried figs with protein-packed foods in the morning for a higher satiety effect. Meals high in both fiber and protein are super filling.
Thus, you could eat dried figs with unsweetened Greek yogurt, or oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder for breakfast.
Certain compounds in figs burn belly fat
Figs are packed with various minerals that are involved in energy metabolism and good health.
In fact, figs have the highest mineral content as compared to other common fruits!
Figs are an important source of potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorous. In addition, they contain trace elements such as iron, manganese, zinc, copper, nickel, and strontium.
A serving of dried figs provides about 8% of the recommended daily intake of copper.
The copper imbalance has been associated with fat accumulation and increased body mass index. Copper deficiency is a common cause of obesity.
Dried figs are also excellent dietary sources of manganese. A serving provides 5.6% of the Daily Value. Actually, obese people are more likely to have low levels of manganese.
In addition, dried figs are among the best vegan sources of calcium. A serving provides 4% of the Daily Value.
Calcium is a key component of weight management. As it plays a key role in fat metabolism, calcium helps burn belly fat and prevents the accumulation of new fat tissue. Moreover, it regulates the synthesis of certain anabolic hormones.
Furthermore, dried figs are great vegan sources of iron. Dried figs are among the richest fruits in iron, containing 2 mg per 100g. A serving provides 3% of the Daily Value!
Iron deficiency is the most common micronutrient deficiency! It has been linked to obesity and fatigue.
People with low levels of iron feel tired all day. Hence, they have a hard time walking, exercising, or being active.
Figs may fight oxidative stress
Most noteworthy, figs may help lose weight because they fight chronic low-grade oxidative stress. As they’re packed with antioxidant compounds, they help the body scavenge free radicals, which can get dangerous for our health in high amounts.
Antioxidant capacity of figs
Prefer consuming organic figs with the peel. The peel has the highest concentrations of antioxidants. Figs contain about 12 phenolic compounds in peel and 8 in pulp.
The phenolic content of figs is higher than red wine and tea!
Figs are rich in anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, flavonones, and flavonols, in particular. In fact, the anthocyanin content of some fig cultivars is comparable to blackberries and blueberries, which are among the healthiest and most nutrient-dense foods you can consume daily!
Figs are high in all major carotenoids as well. They contain lutein, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, and lycopene.
As a rule of thumb, dark varieties have higher antioxidant capacity compared to lighter varieties!
Do dried figs have the same antioxidant content as fresh figs?
Fresh figs are hard to find. In most cases, we consume processed products, such as jams, jellies, nectar, or dried figs.
But, do dried figs and other processed products have a similar antioxidant capacity to fresh fruits?
Some studies have reported that the phenolic acid and flavonoid content of dried figs is significantly decreased. Still, dried figs remain antioxidant-rich foods.
However, if you can buy fresh figs, you should prefer them.
You can find a wide variety of dried figs on iHerb.
Other health benefits of eating dried figs in the morning
Eating dried or fresh figs in the morning, or even fig jam, may have various health benefits. Figs may protect the skin, eyes, hair, nails, digestive health, and heart. They may even increase productivity!
Protect the skin
Consuming foods packed with antioxidants at breakfast is beneficial for protecting the skin from photoaging and air pollution.
They may reduce the severity of UV-induced skin damage and skin aging.
Flavonoids in particular have been shown to absorb ultraviolet radiation and protect from skin inflammation.
Also, flavonoids may alleviate or prevent allergic skin diseases!
They support eye health
Phenolic acids in dried figs appear to have beneficial effects on eye health as well.
Due to their potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects, phenolic acids protect the eyes during the day. They may even prevent or treat certain eye diseases.
Effects on hair & nails
Furthermore, polyphenols in dried figs have protective effects on hair and nails.
They may support hair regrowth and strengthen brittle nails.
Hair follicles are pretty vulnerable to reactive oxygen species. Follicle inflammation and oxidative stress may cause abnormal hair follicle cycling and morphology.
Sunlight exposure, air pollution, smoking, and poor diet can have detrimental effects on hair, nail, skin, and eye health. As antioxidants protect them, it’s crucial to increase the antioxidant capacity of the body first thing in the morning by eating supper healthy foods like figs.
Boost the immune system!
The regular consumption of figs as a part of a healthy, well-balanced diet may also boost the immune system.
Polyphenols in figs provide a natural way to improve immune function. They aid in the management of various diseases.
Figs in particular seem to have protective properties against the flu.
Hydrate the body
In addition, eating figs at breakfast supports hydration.
The body is slightly dehydrated in the morning. During sleep, the body continues to perform essential functions, such as breathing and maintaining organ function. We lose fluids and electrolytes through respiration and sweating.
We have to replenish both water and electrolytes for proper hydration. Otherwise, electrolyte imbalances may occur. They may lead to muscle cramps, obesity, and other adverse effects. Only a properly hydrated body burns belly fat effectively.
Just a small serving of dried figs contains:
- calcium: 41 mg, 4% DV
- magnesium: 17 mg, 4% DV
- potassium: 171 mg, 5% DV
You can eat overnight-soaked figs with 1–2 glasses of water first thing in the morning to hydrate the body!
May improve productivity
In fact, eating dried figs at breakfast with other healthy foods may improve your productivity.
Maintaining normal levels of iron and glucose in the morning is vital for alertness and good brain/muscle function!
There are promising data that figs may improve memory, anxiety, and cognitive functions in certain cases.
May treat constipation
Dried figs, also known as anjeer, are well-known for their laxative effects. In certain cases, they can help treat constipation and improve gut health.
Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome or other gut problems, such as stomach pain and bloating, may find it difficult to perform even simple daily tasks. By treating these symptoms, we can enhance work productivity and improve overall mood.
May prevent headaches
Moreover, antioxidant compounds in figs may reduce the risk of headaches. A diet rich in polyphenols may reduce the severity of migraine attacks!
How many dried figs can I eat at breakfast?
Most people could consume 2-3 dried figs at breakfast. This small serving has about 65 calories and 12 grams of sugar!
As a rule of thumb, we should avoid consuming high amounts of sugar in just a meal.
Also, it’s a good idea to consume overnight-soaked dried figs. They’re better for body hydration. Furthermore, they’re healthier for the teeth, as they minimize sugar contact, promoting better dental health.
Furthermore, overnight-soaked figs are great ingredients for smoothies or oatmeal recipes!
What’s the best time of the day to eat a serving of dried figs?
Besides breakfast, we can enjoy dried figs many times during the day.
One of the best times of the day to eat dried figs is after strenuous exercise. Sugar replenishes muscle glycogen stores, while antioxidants fight exercise-induces oxidative stress!
Also, we can enjoy dried figs between meals, as a healthy quick snack. As dried figs are easy to transfer, we can consume them instead of other favorite fruits, like bananas or apples.
Dried figs are great ingredients for healthy desserts as well.
Can dried figs be dangerous for health?
People with allergies should be cautious before consuming figs for the first time. Allergens are found mainly in the skin of the fruit.
Additionally, people with constipation or a sensitive stomach should avoid consuming large quantities of figs. They may cause adverse effects.
People with diabetes should be mindful of the consumed quantity of dried figs as well. All dried fruits are packed with sugar. In many cases, extra sugar is added as well. People with diabetes should prefer consuming fresh figs instead.
Runners and other endurance athletes may benefit by reducing the consumption of dried figs a couple of weeks before a big race or a competitive event. Steadily decreasing the daily fiber intake before a race may improve sports performance!
Certainly, athletes should avoid consuming dried figs before exercise.
Above all, all patients should consult their healthcare provider before start eating dried figs or changing their diet.
Which is healthier? Dried or fresh figs?
As a rule of thumb, we should prefer consuming fresh fruits. They’re a much healthier food option. Fresh figs contain significantly less sugar and fewer calories. But, as dried figs are more easily found year-round, we can consume them as part of a healthy diet.
You can find a wide variety of dried figs on iHerb; the largest platform for supplements and wellness products.
Can people on keto or people with diabetes eat dried figs in the morning?
Figs appear to have potent anti-diabetic effects, due to their unique antioxidant capacity. For instance, figs regulate insulin sensitivity and postprandial glucose responses!
On the other hand, people on keto should avoid consuming dried figs. They could eat a couple of fresh figs, though.
How to incorporate figs into my diet?
Incorporating figs into your daily diet plan is easy. There are countless ways to enjoy them. Here are 16 easy and quick idea recipes with dried figs.
Smoothies for breakfast
Blend all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. These rejuvenating smoothie ideas are superior breakfast choices, as they’re packed with fiber, antioxidants, and electrolytes. You can add a scoop of protein powder if you like.
- Fig and Banana Delight: a ripe banana, 2-3 dried figs (soaked overnight), 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 teaspoon honey (optional for added sweetness), a pinch of cinnamon, and ice cubes!
- Fig and Spinach Power Smoothie: 2-3 dried figs (soaked overnight), 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, 1/4 cup frozen mango chunks, 1/4 cup plain kefir or yogurt, 1 teaspoon chia seeds for omega-3s, 1/4 cup water or coconut water.
- Fig and Chocolate Dream: 2-3 dried figs (soaked overnight), 1 ripe banana, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1/2 cup plant-based milk, 1 teaspoon almond butter, a pinch of cinnamon, and ice cubes.
Energy bars to eat at brunch
In a food processor, blend the soaked dried figs until they form a sticky paste. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix well until everything is evenly combined.
Press the mixture into a lined baking dish and flatten it with a spatula. Refrigerate for 1–2 hours to firm up. Cut into bars and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Fig and Seed Energy Bars: 1 cup dried figs (soaked and chopped), 1 cup almonds (roasted and chopped), 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup, 1/4 cup almond butter, a pinch of salt.
- Fig and Walnut Energy Bars: 1 cup dried figs (soaked and chopped), 1 cup walnuts (chopped), 1 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup flaxseeds (ground), 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of salt.
- Fig and Pistachio Energy Bars: 1 cup dried figs (soaked and chopped), 1 cup pistachios (chopped), 1 cup quick-cooking oats, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1/4 cup honey or agave syrup, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder, a pinch of salt.
- Fig and Quinoa Energy Bars: 1 cup dried figs (soaked and chopped), 1/2 cup almonds (chopped), 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, a pinch of salt.
Moreover, you could enjoy your overnight-soaked figs with plain Greek yogurt. This is one of the best food choices for breakfast if you want a lean body. As it’s particularly high in protein and minerals, Greek yogurt promotes satiety and builds muscle mass.
- Fig and Yogurt Smoothie Bowl:
- Ingredients: 1 cup plain yogurt, 4-5 dried figs (soaked and chopped), 1 frozen banana, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon almond butter.
- Instructions: In a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour the smoothie into a bowl. Top with fresh fig slices, sliced almonds, and a drizzle of honey.
- Fig and Yogurt Parfait:
- Ingredients: 1 cup Greek yogurt, 4-5 dried figs (soaked and chopped), 1/4 cup granola or muesli, 2 tablespoons honey, a handful of fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries).
- Instructions: In a glass or bowl, layer Greek yogurt, chopped dried figs, and granola. Drizzle honey over the top. Add a layer of fresh berries. Repeat the layers until you use all the ingredients. Finish with a sprinkle of granola on top.
Not all granola brands are good for you. Prefer consuming certain granola products that support weight loss.
Oatmeal has a superior nutritional value. It’s the favorite cereal of fitness enthusiasts. You can combine oats with Greek yogurt, figs, berries, seeds, and nuts for a super healthy, filling, rejuvenating breakfast that enhances weight loss.
- Fig and Almond Oatmeal:
- Ingredients: 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 cup water or plant-based milk, 4-5 dried figs (soaked and chopped), 2 tablespoons chopped almonds, 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup, a pinch of cinnamon.
- Instructions: In a saucepan, bring the water or milk to a boil. Add the rolled oats and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally and cook the oats until they reach your desired consistency. Stir in the chopped dried figs and let them warm up with the oats for a minute or two. Remove the oatmeal from heat and transfer it to a bowl. Top with chopped almonds, drizzle honey or maple syrup, and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top.
- Fig and Berry Oatmeal:
- Ingredients: 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 cup water or milk, 4-5 dried figs (soaked and chopped), 1/2 cup mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup, a handful of fresh berries for topping.
- Instructions: same as previous recipe.
As a rule of thumb, add some cinnamon to oatmeal and other carbohydrate-rich snacks. Cinnamon manages postprandial glucose responses. It’s packed with antioxidant compounds as well.
You can even prepare traditional fig desserts!
- Italian Fig and Almond Tart:
- Ingredients: 1 pre-made pie crust or homemade shortcrust pastry, fresh figs (halved), 1/2 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon almond extract.
- Preheat the oven to the temperature specified in the pie crust instructions.
- In a bowl, mix the almond flour, sugar, softened butter, egg, and almond extract to make the almond cream.
- Spread the almond cream evenly over the pie crust.
- Arrange the fresh fig halves on top of the almond cream.
- Bake the tart in the preheated oven until the crust is golden, and the almond cream is set.
- Let the tart cool before slicing and serving this delicious Italian dessert.
- Spanish Fig and Almond Cake:
- Ingredients: 1 cup almond flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, Fresh figs (halved)
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and grease a round cake pan.
- In a bowl, whisk together almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then add the vanilla extract.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until well combined.
- Spread the batter into the greased cake pan and arrange the fresh fig halves or quarters on top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 30–35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool before slicing and serving, this delightful Spanish fig and almond cake.
Last, but not least, you should enjoy figs with other fruits. Berries, in particular, are packed with various antioxidant compounds that act cooperatively with phytonutrients in figs. So, their combination has greater health benefits.
- Fig and Berry Fruit Salad: Fresh strawberries (halved), blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, dried figs (soaked and chopped), honey or maple syrup, and fresh mint leaves for garnish!
- Fig and Apple Fruit Salad: Fresh apples (sliced), grapes (halved), dried figs (soaked and chopped), Greek yogurt, lemon juice, chopped walnuts or almonds.
- Fig and Melon Fruit Salad: Fresh cantaloupe melon (cubed), fresh watermelon (cubed), soaked figs, cherries, fresh mint leaves, and balsamic glaze (optional for a touch of sweetness and acidity).