Figs: Middle Eastern Jewels

Figs are rich, honey-flavored delicacies that evoke images of an oasis amidst warm desert sands. They originated somewhere between southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean-not far from where the Garden of Eden is reputed to have been. They were so highly valued in ancient Greece that their export was forbidden.

But aside from their rich, full flavor; dried figs-which is the way most of us eat these little gems-contain an impressive five grams of fiber per three-fig serving, enough to help prevent constipation, lower cholesterol and perhaps even reduce our chances of developing colon cancer.

When fiber goes through the digestive system, scientists explain, it mops up globs of cholesterol and carries them out of the body. It’s thought that fiber may mop up and user out cancer-causing substances as well.

Although, on average, Americans eat only three ounces of figs per person every year, fig consumption is on the rise, according to industry sources.

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