Whether you eat them fresh or dried, in a jam or sliced on a salad, figs are a delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth without loading up on refined sugar.
However, it's not just your tastebuds these tasty fruits are good for—according to experts, they've got another major benefit up their sleeve: they're a great choice if you want to improve your bone health.
"Figs are a surprising source of bone-building nutrients calcium and magnesium. A serving of about four figs provides 60 milligrams, or 6% Daily Value (DV), of calcium," says Holly Klamer, MS, RDN, a Michigan-based registered dietitian nutritionist and writer with My Crohn's and Colitis Team.
"Besides providing these bone-building nutrients, a 2018 review on figs suggests figs may inhibit the activity of osteoclasts, which break bone down," says Klamer. As such, "Figs may be helpful to treat or prevent osteoporosis," Klamer adds.
What's more, a single fig packs approximately 161 milligrams of potassium, a mineral essential for bone health. A 2015 review published in the journal Osteoporosis International found that potassium bicarbonate and citrate, both found in many fruits and vegetables, reduced calcium excretion, which can weaken bones, and bone resorption, a biological process that can weaken or even shrink bones.
"Our study shows that these salts could prevent osteoporosis, as our results showed a decrease in bone resorption," explained Helen Lambert, PhD, the Osteoporosis International study's lead author and a teaching fellow in public health nutrition at the University of Surrey, in a statement.
While figs may be a great addition to your osteoporosis-fighting diet, that's far from the only benefit you'll get from these tasty fruits. A single fig also packs 1.45 grams of fiber, which can improve digestive regularity and may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, as well.
For more healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth, check out the 9 Best Fruits for Weight Loss, Approved by a Nutritionist, and for the latest healthy eating news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!
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