Figs are best when they are mushy and soft, but you can buy figs firm and allow them to ripen at home. Look for figs with a good smell, and few blemishes.
Climate and origin
Figs originated in Asia minor and are one of the first fruits to be cultivated. Figs do best in warm temperate to sub-tropical climates, but there are some hardy varieties which can grow in colder climates. (zones 5-10 in the U.S.)
Figs have a subtle fragrant taste and the degree of sweetness varies widely by variety.
The most popular fig for drying and shipping, Black Mission Figs get their name from Spanish Missionaries who introduced figs to San Diego California in the late 1800s.
Natural vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in Figs + Complete Nutrition Facts
National Osteoporosis Foundation. NOF osteoporosis prevention: risk factors for osteoporosis, 2003.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Food labeling: health claims; calcium and osteoporosis, and calcium, vitamin D, and osteoporosis.
Allender PS, Cutler JA, Follmann D, Cappuccio FP, Pryer J, Elliott P. Dietary calcium and blood pressure. Ann Intern Med 1996;124:825-31.
Bucher HC, Cook RJ, Guyatt GH, Lang JD, Cook DJ, Hatala R, et al. Effects of dietary calcium supplementation on blood pressure. JAMA 1996;275:1016-22.
McCarron D, Reusser M. Finding consensus in the dietary calcium-blood pressure debate. J Am Coll Nutr 1999;18:398S-405S.
American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada. Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: vegetarian diets. J Am Diet Assoc 2003;103:748-65.
Rouse IL, Beilin LJ, Armstrong BK, Vandongen R. Blood-pressure-lowering effect of a vegetarian diet: controlled trial in normotensive subjects. Lancet 1983;1:5-10.
Margetts BM, Beilin L, Armstrong BK, Vandongen R. Vegetarian diet in the treatment of mild hypertension: a randomized controlled trial. J Hypertens 1985:S429-31.
Beilin LJ, Armstrong BK, Margetts BM, Rouse IL, Vandongen R. Vegetarian diet and blood pressure. Nephron 1987;47:37-41.
Berkow SE, Barnard ND. Blood pressure regulation and vegetarian diets. Nutr Rev 2005;63:1-8.
Slattery M, Edwards S, Boucher K, Anderson K, Caan B. Lifestyle and colon cancer: an assessment of factors associated with risk. Am J Epidemiol 1999;150:869-77.
Kampman E, Slattery M, Bette C, Potter J. Calcium, vitamin D, sunshine exposure, dairy products, and colon cancer risk. Cancer Causes Control 2000;11:459-66.
Holt P, Atillasoy E, Gilman J, Guss J, Moss SF, Newmark H, et al. Modulation of abnormal colonic epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation by low-fat dairy foods. JAMA 1998;280:1074-9.
Biasco G, Paganelli M. European trials on dietary supplementation for cancer prevention. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1999;889:152-6.
Cascinu S, Del Ferro E, Cioccolini P. Effects of calcium and vitamin supplementation on colon cancer cell proliferation in colorectal cancer. Cancer Invest 2000;18:411-6.
Martinez ME, Willett WC. Calcium, vitamin D, and colorectal cancer: a review of epidemiologic evidence. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1998;7:163-8.
Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Gann PH, Gaziano JM, Giovannucci EL. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;74:549-54.
Giovannucci EL, Rimm EB, Wolk A, Ascherio A, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, et al. Calcium and fructose intake in relation to risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Res 1998;58:442-7.
Chan JM, Giovannucci E, Andersson SO, Yuen J, Adami HO, Wok A. Dairy products, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin D, and risk of prostate cancer (Sweden). Cancer Causes Control 1998;9:559-66.
Chan JM, Giovannucci EL. Dairy products, calcium, and vitamin D and risk of prostate cancer. Epidemiol Rev 2001;23:87-92.
Rodriguez C, McCullough ML, Mondul AM, Jacobs EJ, Fakhrabadi-Shokoohi D, Giovannucci EL, et al. Calcium, dairy products, and risk of prostate cancer in a prospective cohort of United States men. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2003;12:597-603.
Kesse E, Bertrais S, Astorg P, Jaouen A, Arnault N, Galan P, et al. Dairy products, calcium and phosphorus intake, and the risk of prostate cancer: results of the French prospective SU.VI.MAX (Supplementation en Vitamines et Mineraux Antioxydants) study. Br J Nutr 2006;95:539-45.
Mitrou PN, Albanes D, Weinstein SJ, Pietinen P, Taylor PR, Virtamo J, et al. A prospective study of dietary calcium, dairy products and prostate cancer risk (Finland). Int J Cancer 2007;120:2466-73.
Chan JM, Pietinen P, Virtanen M, Chan JM, Pietinen P, Virtanen M, et al. Diet and prostate cancer risk in a cohort of smokers, with a specific focus on calcium and phosphorus (Finland). Cancer Causes Control 2000;11:859-67.
Schuurman AG, Van den Brandt PA, Dorant E, Goldbohm RA. Animal products, calcium and protein and prostate cancer risk in the Netherlands Cohort Study. Br J Cancer 1999;80:1107-13.
Kristal AR, Stanford JL, Cohen JH, Wicklund K, Patterson RE. Vitamin and mineral supplement use is associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1999;8:887-92.
Vlajinac HD, Marinkovic JM, Ilic MD, Kocev NI. Diet and prostate cancer: a case-control study. Eur J Cancer 1997;33:101-7.
Jackson RD, LaCroix AZ, Gass M, Wallace RB, Robbins J, Lewis CE, et al. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and the risk of fractures. N Engl J Med 2006;354:669-83.
Curhan G, Willett WC, Rimm E, Stampher MJ. A prospective study of dietary calcium and other nutrients and the risk of symptomatic kidney stones. N Engl J Med 1993;328:833-8.
Bihl G, Meyers A. Recurrent renal stone disease?advances in pathogenesis and clinical management. Lancet 2001;358:651-6.
Hall WD, Pettinger M, Oberman A, Watts NB, Johnson KC, Paskett ED, et al. Risk factors for kidney stones in older women in the Southern United States. Am J Med Sci 2001;322:12-8.
Borghi L, Schianchi T, Meschi T, Guerra A, Allegri F, Maggiore U, et al. Comparison of two diets for the prevention of recurrent stones in idiopathic hypercalciuria. N Engl J Med 2002;346:77-84.
Shannon MT, Wilson BA, Stang CL. Health Professionals Drug Guide. Stamford, CT: Appleton and Lange, 2000.
Jellin JM, Gregory P, Batz F, Hitchens K. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 3rd ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Facility, 2000.
Peters ML, Leonard M, Licata AA. Role of alendronate and risedronate in preventing and treating osteoporosis. Cleve Clin J Med 2001;68:945-51.
Gallagher JC, Goldgar D, Moy A. Total bone calcium in normal women: effect of age and menopause status. J Bone Min Res 1987;2:491-6.
Dawson-Hughes B, Dallal GE, Krall EA, Sadowski L, Sahyoun N, Tannenbaum S. A controlled trial of the effect of calcium supplementation on bone density in postmenopausal women. N Engl J Med 1990;323:878-83.
Elders PJ, Lips P, Netelenbos JC, van Ginkel FC, Khoe E, van der Vijgh WJ, et al. Long-term effect of calcium supplementation on bone loss in perimenopausal women. J Bone Min Res 1994;9:963-70.
Abrams SA, Silber TJ, Esteban NV, Vieira NE, Stuff JE, Meyers R, et al. Mineral balance and bone turnover in adolescents with anorexia nervosa. J Pediatr 1993;123:326-31.
Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.
Weaver CM, Heaney RP. Calcium. In: Shils ME, Shike M, Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006:194-210.
Mark J Bolland, senior research fellow,1 Alison Avenell, clinical senior lecturer,2 John A Baron, professor,3 Andrew Grey, associate professor,1 Graeme S MacLennan, senior research fellow,2 Greg D Gamble, research fellow,1 and Ian R Reid, professor1. Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010; 341: c3691. Published online 2010 July 29. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c3691.
Mark J Bolland, research fellow1, P Alan Barber, senior lecturer1, Robert N Doughty, associate professor1, Barbara Mason, research officer1, Anne Horne, research fellow1, Ruth Ames, research officer1, Gregory D Gamble, research fellow1, Andrew Grey, associate professor1, Ian R Reid, professor1. Vascular events in healthy older women receiving calcium supplementation: randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2008; 336 doi: 10.1136/bmj.39440.525752.BE (Published 31 January 2008).
New SA, Bolton-Smith C, Grubb DA, Reid DM. Nutritional influences on bone mineral density: a cross-sectional study in premenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;65(6):1831-1839.
New SA, Robins SP, Campbell MK, et al. Dietary influences on bone mass and bone metabolism: further evidence of a positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health? Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(1):142-151.
Tucker KL, Hannan MT, Chen H, Cupples LA, Wilson PW, Kiel DP. Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;69(4):727-736.
Ascherio A, Rimm EB, Hernan MA, et al. Intake of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber and risk of stroke among US men. Circulation. 1998;98(12):1198-1204.
Iso H, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, et al. Prospective study of calcium, potassium, and magnesium intake and risk of stroke in women. Stroke. 1999;30(9):1772-1779.
Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, et al. Dietary potassium intake and risk of stroke in US men and women: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I epidemiologic follow-up study. Stroke. 2001;32(7):1473-1480.
Green DM, Ropper AH, Kronmal RA, Psaty BM, Burke GL. Serum potassium level and dietary potassium intake as risk factors for stroke. Neurology. 2002;59(3):314-320.
Barri YM, Wingo CS. The effects of potassium depletion and supplementation on blood pressure: a clinical review. Am J Med Sci. 1997;314(1):37-40.
Hajjar IM, Grim CE, George V, Kotchen TA. Impact of diet on blood pressure and age-related changes in blood pressure in the US population: analysis of NHANES III. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(4):589-593.
Appel LJ, Moore TJ, Obarzanek E, et al. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. DASH Collaborative Research Group. N Engl J Med. 1997;336(16):1117-1124.
Gennari FJ. Hypokalemia. N Engl J Med. 1998;339(7):451-458.