Fig leaf: what are the benefits?

Fig leaf: what are the benefits?

The fig leaf is used in culinary and natural medicine due to its nutritional composition. We will tell you what its main uses and properties are.

Fig leaf: what are the benefits?

Last update: January 12, 2022

The fig leafVitis vinifera) comes from the vine plant, from which grapes are extracted. It is used in many kitchens around the world, either for culinary or medicinal purposes. Specifically, it is distinguished as a source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and water. In addition, they stand out for their versatility.

Although they can be used fresh, they are also sold packaged, in rolls immersed in brine. Of course, its uses and preparations may vary from one culture to another. Are you interested in knowing more about its properties? Discover them!

Nutritional characteristics and properties

The vineVitis vinifera) se distributed throughout the world, in numerous species. It is a woody and climbing tree, whose leaves are large, webbed, lobed and slightly serrated at their edges. They can measure between 12 and 15 centimeters. They are often used in Turkish, Arabic, Bulgarian, Greek and Vietnamese cuisines.

According to an analysis of the Complutense University of Madrid, every 100 grams of fresh grape leaves provide about 15 grams of carbohydrates. This value is higher than any other leaf like spinach, lettuce and cabbage. Its free sugar content is 6.5 grams per 100 grams.

Other nutritional values ​​per 100 grams are the following:

  • Vitamin C, about 200 milligrams in the fresh leaves. When cooked, these values ​​drop to 5 milligrams.
  • Fiber, 11 grams.
  • Fat, 2.12 grams.
  • Protein, 5.6 grams.
The fig leaf is a source of carbohydrates, vitamin C and protein. In addition, it provides antioxidants.


History of the medicinal uses of the fig leaf

The medicinal uses of the fig leaf began in France. The phytotherapist Leclerc defended its use as a useful remedy against discomfort caused by menopause.

In addition, French winegrowers used to collect these leaves to make infusions and plasters. The infusion was taken in small doses, while plasters or creams were applied to the legs to relieve swelling and pain after a day’s work.

Over time, it was determined that the extract of the grape leaves has a high concentration of healthy components, like anthocyanins and flavonoids. From an initial quantity of 4 to 6 parts of dried leaves, 1 part of the extract is obtained.

Benefits of the fig leaf

The presence of antioxidants and other components in the fig leaf are beneficial for health. Next, we detail its main effects.

Chronic venous insufficiency

Grape leaf extract concentrates compounds such as flavonoids, which contribute to optimal blood circulation. According to a study shared in Vascular Pharmacology, these agents with antioxidant capacity help to reduce the pathophysiology of varicose veins and regularize venous tone.

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Low glycemic load

Grape leaves have a low glycemic load, that is, a very small amount of carbohydrates per serving. This is considered an indicator of the quality of the diet.

According to the Clinical Nutrition journal, the glycemic index is useful in the assessment and dietary management of diabetics. In addition, it helps in the prevention of chronic diseases.

A healthy glycemic load number for a nondiabetic adult is 100 or less. The fig leaves represent the best option, especially for diabetics or people with metabolic syndrome.

Constipation

The high fiber content of these leaves is insoluble. Therefore, Helps prevent constipation and protect the intestinal mucosa.

The Hospital Nutrition magazine declares that dietary fiber is part of the recommended healthy diets from the first years of life. This reaches the large intestine and is attacked by bacteria to form certain beneficial products for the body.

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of food are helpful in the prevention of chronic diseases. Regarding this, it has been determined that the phytochemicals of the fig leaf favor the control of inflammatory processes; in addition, help to cope with the negative effects of free radicals.



How to prepare the fig leaf?

It is common to find commercially packed grape leaves. However, you can prepare them in your kitchen to ensure quality.

  1. To start, wash the leaves very carefully to remove any contaminants from the soil.
  2. Then select the freshest leaves and tender so that they maintain their juiciness.
  3. Next, boil the leaves for a few minutes, until the color changes to a greenish-brown.
  4. Dip them in ice water to finish the blanching.
  5. Roll them up and put them in a glass jar. If you prefer, you can use them at once.
  6. To preserve them for a long time, prepare a brine with 100 grams of salt in 1 liter of boiled water.
  7. Next, add the juice of half a large lemon and heat for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the brine to the glass container and cover hot to cook in a bain-marie. In this way, the grape leaves are sterilized and their duration can be for months, as long as they are not uncovered.

The leaves are also used fresh, as rolls stuffed with meat, rice, fish, boiled eggs, spices and vegetables. These are cooked in water or steam, and are served with lemon or yogurt sauce.

The fig leaf is used in the elaboration of rolls with meat, rice, spices, among other ingredients.

Contraindications

It is recommended not to abuse the consumption of fig leaf. Otherwise, digestive disorders may occur, such as stomach ulcers, heartburn, pain, among others. Since there is not enough evidence about its safety, it is advisable to avoid its intake during pregnancy and lactation.

Do you dare to try this food? A regular consumption of fig leaf can contribute to improve the nutritional quality of the diet. Of course, it is important to include them in the framework of a healthy and balanced diet. If you have any doubts, be sure to consult your trusted nutritionist.

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