My girlfriend and I have a household plant called a Ficus. On researching the topic of today’s post, I discovered that our plant is more specifically called a “weeping fig”. Fig trees are members of the Ficus family and though supposedly our “weeping fig” can and will bear edible fruit, I have yet to see it produce any.
Recently we re-potted our Ficus and have been nursing it back from a near death experience. Now, it sits in the corner of our living room, thriving in its environment and soaking up every bit of sunshine it can get. A year from now, it’ll probably take over the room and then there will comence a territorial battle between human and plant.
Until then, maybe I can coax it into growing us some fruit!
While the fruit of the fig tree may be edible, the stems and other tender wood parts are certainly not as they exude latex. This was famously noted by Joseph F. James who said: “. . . carries with it at the same time such disagreeable properties that it becomes a better protection to the plant from enemies than all the thorns, prickles, or hairs that could be provided. In this plant, so copious and so distasteful has the sap become that it serves a most important purpose in its economy.”
There are a few health benefits one may receive from the consumption of figs. Figs are high in potassium which is great for countering the elevated blood pressure effects of sodium intake.
One interesting study done at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden concluded that “results suggest that dietary fiber intake from fruit and cereal may play a role in reducing breast cancer risk.” Int J Cancer. 2008 Jan 15;122(2):403-12. Other fibrous fruits include: apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes. Apple a day ladies!
Figs are also a good source of calcium which, as we all know is important for improving bone strength. Sufficient calcium intake will lower the risk of developing osteoporosis. An interesting note about calcium is that it requires Vitamin D to be absorbed by the body. We get vitamin D from the sunshine so don’t forget to go outside once in a while. Hey southeast asian women, pale isn’t that beautiful! Get some sun for gosh sakes!
Until then, gimme a fig newton!
Disclaimer: Statements made in this publication are the thoughts and opinions of the author and have not been evaluated by the U.S. or Canadian Food and Drug Administration.