Grab a handful of dried figs the next time you need to quench a craving for sweets. They’re fat-free and low enough in calories that you won’t ruin your diet. Because dried figs are a good source of fiber, which makes you feel full, they may even help you lose weight. The mix of complex carbohydrates and minerals you’ll get from dried figs makes them a nutritious choice for a snack.
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Four dried figs only have 84 calories, with almost all of the calories coming from energy-providing carbohydrates. The same serving supplies 3 grams of dietary fiber, or 13 percent of women’s recommended daily intake and 9 percent of men’s. The fiber in dried figs is about equally divided between the two types of fiber -- soluble and insoluble -- which is important because they’re each responsible for different health benefits. You need insoluble fiber to prevent constipation, while soluble fiber expands to make you feel full and also lowers levels of cholesterol in your blood, according to Oklahoma State University.
Good Source of Copper
Copper forms enzymes that have vital jobs, such as producing energy, regulating DNA and making healthy red blood cells. Copper-dependent enzymes help synthesize neurotransmitters and must be available to synthesize collagen, which is the connective tissue that supports your skin, blood vessels, organs, tendons and bones. Other copper-based enzymes produce antioxidants that are found in almost all the cells in your body. Four dried figs contain 0.1 milligrams of copper, or 11 percent of your recommended dietary allowance.
Manganese Supports Cells and Cartilage
Every cell in your body contains a structure called the mitochondria, which is where all of your energy is produced. Free radicals form as a normal byproduct of energy production. A manganese-based antioxidant has the specialized job of protecting the mitochondria by neutralizing these free radicals before they cause harm. Manganese also helps build tissues called proteoglycans that give cartilage its characteristic ability to resist compression. You’ll get 0.17 milligrams of manganese from four dried figs, an amount that provides at least 7 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Minerals for Cardiovascular Health
You'll get three important electrolytes from eating four dried figs: calcium, magnesium and potassium. They all have numerous roles, but as electrolytes, they work together to ensure your nerves and muscles work properly. For example, potassium regulates your heartbeat, magnesium makes muscles relax and calcium stimulates muscles to contract. Potassium is especially important for its ability to counteract the impact of eating too much sodium. A low-sodium, high-potassium diet can help prevent high blood pressure.
- USDA Nutrient Database: Figs, Dried, Uncooked
- PLoS One: Association Between Usual Sodium and Potassium Intake and Blood Pressure and Hypertension Among U.S. Adults: NHANES 2005-2010
- Harvard University Health Services: Fiber Content of Foods in Common Portions
- Oklahoma State University: Dietary Fiber
- Linus Pauling Institute: Copper
- Linus Pauling Institute: Manganese
- Cell and Developmental Biology: Cellular Functions of Proteoglycans -- An Overview
- Medical News Today: What Is Collagen?
- MedlinePlus: Potassium in Diet
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Maximizing Your Diet: Best Foods for Specific Minerals