Fig recipes

Figs were first cultivated in Egypt thousands of years ago and have a long culinary history that can be traced back to many ancient populations. In fact figs were even mentioned in the Bible and in some other ancient writings too, with many people referring to them as a “holy” foods. Fig recipes became more popular across ancient Greece and Rome around the 9th Century BC when their uses began spreading. Figs were introduced to the Western Hemisphere during the 16th century, when conquering Spaniards brought them overseas during the voyages.

Figs are a fruit native to the European and Middle Eastern regions that have been a part of traditional diets for thousands of years. Today they are widely available and popular around the world, making an appearance in a wide variety of international cuisines. While they are often found dried, due to their short harvesting season, figs are completely edible when fresh (and delicious too!). On top of this figs contain some impressive health benefits. This is what makes fig recipes to easy and smart to make!

Fig Nutrition Facts Short


Nutrition Facts of Figs

One large fig contains (1):

  • About 47 calories
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 8 grams of sugar
  • .5 grams of protein
  • A good source of vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, and pantothenic acid.
  • Very low levels of fat, cholesterol, and sodium

Figs contain antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body and prevent various diseases. They also contain a good source of dietary fiber, especially when you consume several at once, which can help to relieve constipation and to make you feel full after eating. Finally, figs contain easily-absorbed fructose which the body can use efficiently for energy when exercising. This makes fig recipes a great snack to have before or after a long workout.


IMPORTANT NOTE:I recommend using natural sweeteners like raw honey, real maple syrup or organic coconut palm sugar to get the most nutrients out of these recipes. Also eliminate conventional cows milk and use coconut milk, almond milk or organic grass-fed goat milk or cheese, replace table salt with sea salt, and replace canola and vegetable oil with coconut oil, olive oil or ghee. You’ll find these options as well as other healthy real food choices listed in my healing food shopping list (Click Here to Download my Healing Foods Shopping List)


25 Fantastic Fig Recipes

Figs are often described as having a “velvety”, unique taste. When found fresh, their “flesh” is soft, seedy, and sweet, although not overwhelming. What really makes figs so great is their ability to be versatile in many different types of recipes- everything from homemade low-sugar jams to grass-fed beef entrees. Because they last a long time in dried form without spoiling, they are a great kitchen staple to keep on hand that you can use in many ways. Fig recipes are the perfect thing to start experimenting with to spruce up your breakfast, lunch, or dinner rotation.

Keep in mind that any recipe calling for peaches, pears, prunes, or dates can be substituted successfully with figs. So don’t hesitate to switch up some of your favorite salad or meat dishes by adding in figs where you normally wouldn’t think to. If you are still unsure of what to do with figs that you’ve recently purchased, take inspiration from the array of fig recipes below.


FIG RECIPES: Breakfast

1. Baked Oatmeal with Figs and Dates

Oatmeal is a breakfast staple for many reasons: it keeps you full, contains no gluten, and is a great vehicle for any topping you like, including figs! Add extra nuts or even organic yogurt to bring some healthy protein and fat to this easy recipe.

Baked Fig & Date Oatmeal

Photo: Baked Oatmeal with Figs & Dates / Feastie

 2. Fig Coconut Quinoa Granola

This is not your average overly-sugary granola. Quinoa and oats make this breakfast gluten free and high in protein, especially with the addition of organic Greek yogurt and some nuts.

fig coconut quinoa granola

Photo: Fig Coconut Quinoa Granola / Cooking Quinoa

3. Sweet and Tart Lemon Fig Bars

Instead of relying on a prepackaged sugar laden cereal bar, try making your own. Lemon and figs make a great flavor combo that is not overly sweet, but just enough to balance each other out.  Just use sprouted grain instead of wheat flour and tapioca flour as a swap for the cornstarch to keep these a healthy sweet treat!

Sweet Tart Lemon Fig Bars

Photo: Sweet and Tart Lemon Fig Bars / One Ingredient Chef

4. Roasted Fig and Walnut Parfait

This might be the perfect way to get some healthy protein into your morning. Look for a plain organic Greek yogurt variety and add chopped up figs and a bit of raw honey. This is a great way to make one seriously delicious and healthy breakfast parfait that you can even take-on-the-go

Roasted-Fig-Walnut-Parfait

Photo: Roasted Fig and Walnut Parfait / The Roasted Root

5. Vanilla Chia Pudding with Figs

All the nutrition benefits of chia seeds plus potassium rich figs, make this a powerful yet yummy breakfast! Add some sautéed plums or drizzle with Manuka honey for an added boost for your immune system!

Vanilla Chia Pudding

 Photo: Vanilla Chia Pudding with Figs / ifoodreal.com

FIG RECIPES: Salads/Sides

6. Fig and Cranberry Sauce

Keep this recipe in mind come the holiday season when you want a healthier alternative to canned or jarred overly-sugary sauces. Figs bring a surprising pop to this sauce that can be used on pork, spread on top of a muffin, or added to grains with nuts for breakfast.

Fig and Cranberry Sauce

Photo: Fig and Cranberry Sauce / The Kitchn

7. Roasted Potatoes with Maple Fig Sauce

Warm, soothing and tangy, these crispy potatoes with the sweet creamy sauce really hit the spot. Serve as a snack or alongside your favorite protein for a delicious satisfying dinner!

Roasted Potatoes with Maple Fig Sauce

Photo: Roasted Potatoes with Maple Fig Sauce / pinchofyum.com

8. Fresh Figs with Cashew Cream

For those looking to steer clear of any dairy, this is the appetizer for you. Cashew cream, made from soaked and blended cashews, makes a great substitute for goat cheese and pairs perfectly with figs for a simple appetizer. You can use raw honey or pure maple syrup in place of the agave to get the most out of this recipe.

Fresh Figs with Cashew Cream

Photo: Fresh Figs with Cashew Cream / Feastie

9. Fruit, Nut, and Seed Crackers 

What a perfect way to use up some of the dried figs and nuts you may be storing. Switch out the whole wheat and bread flour with a sprouted grain flour. And substitute coconut sugar for the brown sugar and the buttermilk, use goat kefir or grass fed buttermilk. This is an easy way to add tons of flavor and a little bit of crispiness to a lunch salad.  There are endless possibilities for what to do with these healthy homemade crackers.

Fruit and Seed Nut Crackers

Photo: Fruit, Nut and Seed Crackers / averiecooks.com

10. Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese

These goat cheese figs would make a perfect savory app when you’re having guests over. They appear to be very impressive, yet come together quickly and require only a few basic ingredients. Look for good quality organic cheese to get the most out of this simple recipe.

Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Photo: Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese / seriouseats.com

 11. Crockpot Fig Apple Butter

If you’re sick of almond butter and are avoiding peanut butter like many people are, this may be the perfect answer to your “butter” question. Making fig apple butter in a crockpot is super time saving and allows the recipe to cook itself while you’re out. Use it on top of ancient grain sprouted toast, in a salad dressing, or to drizzle on top of plain organic yogurt.

Crockpot Fig Apple Butter

Photo: Crockpot Fig Apple Butter / paleOMG.com

12. Roasted Beet and Fig Salad

This seasonal salad would be a perfect side dish for thanksgiving, or with any home cooked meal on a fall night. The deep colors of both the beets and figs make this salad pretty in presentation, while the earthy taste of the beets balances the sweetness of the figs.

Roasted Beet and Fig Salad

Photo: Roasted Beet and Fig Salad / The Roasted Root

13. Marinated Fig and Arugula Salad with Cheese and Walnuts

Arugula’s sharp, peppery taste makes a great base for salad dressed with a classic combo of cheese (use goat or sheep’s milk), figs, and walnuts. You can even make your own fig vinaigrette from scratch by blending figs after they’ve been soaked overnight, which softens them up so they don’t get stuck in your food processor or blender.

Marinated Fig Sand Blue Cheese Salad with Walnuts

 Photo: Marinated Fig and Arugula Salad with Cheese and Walnuts / The Kitchen is My Playground

14. Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Fig Reduction

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love roasted Brussel sprouts, even those who say they won’t like them. Figs balance the unique taste of Brussel sprouts in this healthy side dish and give them a pop of sweetness in place of commonly used cranberries.

Roasted brussel sprouts with fig reduction

Photo: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Fig Reduction / ahouseinthehills.com

 15. Middle Eastern Potato Salad with Figs

Not sure what to bring to the next BBQ you’re invited to? Mix it up and take along this potato salad that has a surprise, sweet ingredient, plus loads of fresh herbs for extra flavor. You can even play around with trying to same type of recipe with vitamin-packed sweet potatoes too.

Middle Eastern Potato Salad with Figs

Photo: Middle Eastern Potato Salad with Figs / healthynibblesandbits.com

 16. Kale Salad with Figs, Avocado, and Sesame Dressing

You know you should be eating your kale, but maybe you haven’t found a way to make a kale salad yet that you really enjoy? Figs come together with avocado and sesame dressing to create a strong-flavored salad that helps to balance the taste of kale if you aren’t the biggest fan of its slightly bitter flavor.

Kale Salad with Figs Avocado and Sesame Dressing

Photo: Kale Salad with Figs Avocado and Sesame Dressing / The Roasted Root

FIG RECIPES: Main Dishes

 17. Fig and Pork Loin Ragout

Pork served along with caramelized fruit is a classic combination- think how many times you’ve seen apples, pears, and cranberries in various pork dishes (often with bacon). This is a healthier take on the sweet and salty combination, using a leaner pork loin and plenty of bold, warm spices.

Fig and Pork Loin Ragout

 


 18. Stuffed Turkey with Figs and Butternut Squash

Making this stuffed turkey entree would be one clever way to use up some Thanksgiving or holiday leftovers! It’s also a good recipe to put into your weeknight dinner rotation because it could easily be doubled in size and the leftovers saved to make great lunch sandwiches the next day.

Stuffed Turkey with Figs and Butternut Squash

Photo: Stuffed Turkey with Figs and Butternut Squash / Skinny Taste

 19. Fig Butter Cumin Tempeh Stir-fry

This is a great plant-based entree option that includes fig butter, either store-bought or homemade. Add all your favorite vegetables and big-impact spices like cumin or curry to bring all the tastes together

fig tempeh

 

Photo: Fig Butter Cumin Tempeh Stir-fry / averiecooks.com

 20. Moroccan Braised Chicken with Mission Figs

Moroccan dishes commonly use figs and have some of the best flavor profiles when it comes to bringing out their taste. Try this recipe in aslow cooker or crock pot to really save time and still deliver an impressive dinner

Moroccan Chicken with Figs

Photo: Moroccan Braised Chicken with Mission Figs / Rock Recipes

 21. Grain-free Pear, Fig, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Everyone loves pizza, but not everyone like to have all that wheat, cheese, and grease. Change up your usual pizza and try something much more upscale, like this fruity pizza which balances creamy, slightly sour goat cheese with tasty figs, berries, and pears. Just substitute sprouted grain flour and goat or cow kefir for the buttermilk (unless you have raw or grass-fed buttermilk).

Grain Free Pear Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza

 Photo: Grain-free Pear, Fig, and Goat Cheese Pizza / thehealthyfoodie.com

FIG RECIPES: Desserts

 22. Chocolate Dipped Figs with Sea Salt

This easy dessert recipe is the perfect way to get a double-dose of antioxidants in each tasty bite. Use a high percentage cocoa (75% and up is great) to get the most from this recipe and try subbing in good quality honey or maple syrup for any other sugar to boost the nutrient value even more.

Chocolate Dipped Figs with Sea Salt

Photo: Chocolate Dipped Figs with Sea Salt / thekitchn.com

 23. Fig Fudge Balls

If you’ve got kids that love “munchkin” donuts, then this is the dessert for you! These little “energy balls” are filled with much healthier ingredients than the processed, overly sugary kinds you’ll find in coffee shops, so you can feel a lot better about giving them to your children (and having some yourself too). These would make a great snack to pack with school lunch or to bring along on car rides when you need some healthy snacks.

Fig Fudge Balls

Photo: Fig Fudge Balls / PaleOMG

 24. Turkish Yogurt Cakes with Figs

An addition of Greek yogurt brings richness and a moist texture to this cake while still letting the figs shine. Use sprouted grain flour or quinoa flour and substitute coconut sugar for regular sugar to enjoy this as a healthy traditional recipe.

Turkish Yogurt Cakes with Figs

 Photo: Turkish Yogurt Cakes with Figs / My Life Love Food

 25. Gluten Free Chocolate Fig Cake

While cake is generally something that you want to save for special occasions, why not make the best kind of cake that you can when it’s time to celebrate? Chocolate and figs make a great combination and the figs allow you to use less sugar overall, making this a great alternative to any processed, boxed cake mix.

Gluten Free Chocolate Fig Cake

Photo: Gluten Free Chocolate Fig Cake / The Roasted Root

 When and Where to Buy Figs

Today figs can be purchased year-round at most major grocery stores in dried form.Figs in the bowl They tend to only be available in fresh form during a
very short period in the summer months, running from June through September.

If you are making a fig recipe and are able to find fresh figs during the summer, many people would say you are “lucky” and in for a real treat, because they are not commonly sold in most stores. The reason that figs are found dried is due to their short growing season and also their delicate skin, which does not make for easy transporting. If you do purchase fresh figs, look for ones that appear firm, free of major bruising, and not “oozing” any seeds out which indicates they are already started to go bad. Figs are most commonly grown today in California (these types have an earlier season) and in regions in Europe (these types can be found through September).

Health food stores commonly sell organic figs- with no added sulfur or sugar- in bulk bins at very fair prices. If these are available to you, this is your best bet for purchasing good-quality figs. Sulfur dioxide gas is often added to commercial dried figs in order to extend their shelf life, however organic figs cannot contain sulfur. While not a serious threat for most people, sulfur-containing dried fruit sparks a negative reaction in about 1 of every 100 people, so to be safe, when making fig recipes look for organic figs (and other dried fruit too).


Preparing and Storing Figs

When preparing a fig recipe, you will likely buy figs in dried form rather than fresh, so there is hardly any preparation needed at all. Dried or fresh figs can be enjoyed straight out of the bag, no fuss needed. If you do buy fresh figs, keep in mind that they will only last for 2-3 days and tend to spoil quickly, so use them up fast! Dried figs can be stored for up to a year with no problem. To have some on hand for future fig recipes, keep dried figs in an airtight container somewhere dry. (1)

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Medjool Dates: The Healthiest Natural Sweetener?

Medjool dates - Dr. Axe

We already know fruits provide many health benefits, so when something is referred as “nature’s power fruit” — as Medjool dates are — it must be the real deal, right?

Well, Medjool dates do not disappoint. Packed full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, the health benefits are remarkable. These edible sweet fruits of the date palm tree make great natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives, but they’re not just delicious. They’ve also been proven to decrease cholesterol and boost bone health — and these are just a couple of the many reasons to add Medjool dates to your diet.

What exactly are Medjool dates, and what makes them so beneficial? Read on.


What Are Medjool Dates?

There are many varieties of dates available worldwide, but the Medjool date is one of two of the most commercially produced varieties within the U.S. The other most commonly produced is the Deglet Noor (or Nour) date, but Medjools are larger, softer and sweeter.

Medjool dates can be consumed fresh or dried, and it’s common for them to be dried, which lengthens their life span and prevents early spoilage.

Medjool dates have a deep brown skin color with a flavor that can be described as caramel-like. When holding a dried medjool date in your hand, you first feel its firm yet wrinkled textured, but don’t make any quick judgments — upon biting into a medjool date, you will see that the inside is actually moist and meaty.

Medjool dates vary greatly in size, and at present there are no industry standards for size. You will sometimes see medjool dates described as “large,” “jumbo” or “super,” which is a general reference to their length as well as their circumference.

Once you get a hang of how to incorporate Medjool dates into your daily diet and recipes, they will quickly become one of your favorite raw food kitchen staples!


6 Health Benefits of Medjool Dates

1. Decrease Cholesterol

Medjool dates are a wise choice when it comes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. When you eat them, you increase your insoluble and soluble fiber intake, which in turn can significantly lower cholesterol naturally — particularly LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

As we know, LDL cholesterol is a major contributing factor to heart attacks, heart disease and stroke, making these tasty dates a great heart-healthy option.

When there is too much cholesterol circulating in the blood, it can create sticky deposits called plaque along the artery walls. Plaque can eventually narrow or block the flow of blood to the brain, heart and other organs.

Blood cells that get caught on the plaque form clots, which can break loose and completely block blood flow through an artery, causing heart attack or stroke. If you suffer from high cholesterol, experts recommend a diet that includes high-fiber foods such as dates. (1)

In fact, research out of Israel found that Medjool dates, along with a variety of other dates, “inhibited LDL oxidation, and most extracts also stimulated cholesterol removal from macrophages.” (2)

2. Prevent & Relieve Constipation

If you’re reading a list of top foods for constipation relief, don’t be surprised if you see dates on the list. The high fiber content of Medjool dates make them a smart choice when it comes to keeping yourself regular.

If you have constipation more than occasionally or have severe pain and/or bleeding, it’s important to check with your doctor because these symptoms can be a sign of a more serious digestive disorder. But before you freak out, if there is no pain or bleeding, in most cases constipation is just a sign that your diet needs more fiber. The average adult needs around 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day to prevent constipation, which is much less than most people typically consume on a daily basis. (3)

Dates have high levels of soluble fiber, which keep bowel movements regular by adding bulk to stool and helping it move faster through the intestines. Next time you’re looking for a natural constipation relief remedy, try having a few Medjool dates.

3. Natural Energy Booster

Need a new go-to for your pre-workout snack or a healthy post-workout option? Try Medjool dates!

Once you try a Medjool date, you won’t be surprised to learn that dates are higher in sugar than many other fruits. However, dates are high in natural sugars like fructose, glucose and sucrose. These sugars are easily processed and utilized by the body for energy.

Consuming a few Medjool dates or including them in a snack is an excellent idea when you’re looking for a healthy surge of energy. Worldwide, dates are used for an afternoon pick-me-up to ward off tiredness. Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee, try a green smoothie recipe that includes some Medjool dates! (4)

 

The Medjool dates guide - Dr. Axe

 

4. Reduce Triglyceride Levels

Medjool dates can give your heart a healthy boost. A  study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found Medjool dates are high in antioxidative properties in vitro. Ten healthy subjects consumed 100 grams daily of either Medjool or Hallawi dates for four weeks. According to the study, the consumption of Medjool dates reduced blood triglyceride levels by 8 percent among the participants. (5)

Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. Having a high level of triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease so it’s important to keep your triglycerides at a normal level (less than 150 milligrams per deciliter).

5. Alternative Natural Sweetener

If nature had an actual candy store, Medjool dates would be front and center. When you eat a Medjool date, it can be hard to process that it really is a piece of fruit because it has such candy-like quality to it.

Medjool dates are undeniably sweet but in a completely unprocessed sort of way — so as long as you don’t overdo it, there is no guilt associated with these caramel-like gems.

Research has shown that there is a direct link between increased sugar consumption in food and increased diabetes rates. (6) We all should aim to keep our sugar intake down and be mindful of our sources of sugar. A delicious fruit, like a Medjool date, provides a truly satisfying alternative to eating a candy bar or brownie loaded with refined sugar.

6. Boost Bone Health

The significant amounts of key minerals found in Medjool dates make them superstars when it comes to strengthening bones and fighting off painful and debilitating bone diseases like osteoporosis — thus, add dates to your osteoporosis diet natural treatment plan.

Dates are high in calcium and a food high in phosphorus, which work closely together to build strong bones and teeth. About 85 percent of the body’s phosphorus is in bones and teeth. Phosphorus is needed for the growth, maintenance and repair of all tissues and cells, and for the production of the genetic building blocks, DNA and RNA. Phosphorus is also required to help balance and use other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, and zinc. (7)

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body. It’s essential for the development and maintenance of strong teeth and bones.

Calcium also keeps the heart, nerves, muscles and other body systems working properly, and it’s probably best known for helping prevent osteoporosis. (8) As people begin to age and their bones start to become weaker, maintaining a diet high in both calcium and phosphorus can ward off unpleasant bone degradation. Eating Medjool dates regularly is one way that you can up your intake of calcium and phosphorus.


Medjool Dates Nutrition Facts

One Medjool date contains 66 calories, 15.95 grams of sugar and 0 trans fats. Since dates are naturally rich in carbohydrates (17.99 milligrams in a single date), they are an excellent source of energy. Medjool dates are also loaded with many vitamins and minerals.

One serving (100 grams) of Medjool dates contains (9, 10):

  • 6.7 grams fiber (26.8 percent DV)
  • 696 milligrams potassium (19.9 percent DV)
  • 54 milligrams magnesium (13.5 percent DV)
  • 0.25 milligrams vitamin B6 (12.5 percent DV)
  • 1.61 milligrams niacin (8 percent DV)
  • 64 milligrams calcium (6.4 percent DV)
  • 62 milligrams phosphorus (6.2 percent DV)
  • 0.06 milligrams riboflavin (3.5 percent DV)
  • 2.7 µg vitamin K (3.4 percent DV)
  • 0.05 milligrams thiamine (3.3 percent DV)
  • 149 IU vitamin A (3 percent DV)
  • 0.44 milligrams zinc (2.9 percent DV)

 

Medjool dates nutrition - Dr. Axe

 


Medjool Dates History & Interesting Facts

Dates are derived from the date palm, (Phoenix dactylifera), a tree of the palm family, found in northern Africa, the Canary Islands, the Middle East, Pakistan, India and California. The date is a one-seeded fruit, typically oblong, but often varying in shape, size, color, quality and consistency of flesh. There are hundreds of named varieties of Phoenix dactylifera date palms, but one of the most famous is the large, soft Medjool date palm, which produces Medjool dates.

Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. They are believed to have originated around what is now Iraq, and have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, possibly as early as 4000 B.C. The date palm is grown as an ornamental tree along the Mediterranean shores of Europe with its leaves used for the celebration of Palm Sunday among Christians and the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles among Jews. (11)

Medjool dates, specifically, originated in the remote Bou Denib oasis in Saharan Morocco, and the Medjool palms were not successfully imported to the U.S. until 1927.

There are many other types of palms that produce edible drupes or dates — however, those “dates” are almost all seed with very little flesh, and most are quite small.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Iraq are currently the leading date-producing and exporting countries. In the U.S., California is the major American producer of Medjool dates. Medjool date palms are also grown in several other U.S. states, including Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada and Texas.

Raisins Nutrition: 5 Surprising Benefits of this Superfood

Raisins nutrition - Dr. Axe

From the childhood classic of “ants on a log” to granola to carrot cake, raisins have been in most of our lives since our earliest years. So, are raisins good for you? Well, not only are raisins popular with all age groups and extremely versatile in the kitchen, but raisins nutrition includes being concentrated sources of energy, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.

Benefits of raisins include lowered blood pressure and better heart health. Studies have shown that daily consumption of raisins may significantly lower blood pressure, especially when compared to eating other common snacks, making them one of the best natural remedies for high blood pressure. (1) Raisins are so quick and easy to consume, it’s really hard to find an excuse not to include them in your diet on a regular basis!

What else can raisins nutrition offer in way of benefits? Read on.


What Are Raisins?

Today, most raisins are produced from Thompson seedless grapes, which were introduced to California in 1862 by William Thompson. To produce raisins, grapes are laid on brown craft paper trays between the vineyard rows and allowed to dry in the sun when harvested. This is the natural sun-drying process that turns grapes into raisins.

The oxidation and caramelization of the sugars during this process result in raisins’ natural dark brown to black exterior. Raisins are traditionally sun-dried, but they may also be water-dipped and artificially dehydrated.

In the U.S., golden seedless raisins are dried mechanically. The grapes are picked from the vine, washed in a clean water bath and then in hot water to soften the skins. The clean bunches of grapes are laid on wooden racks and sent through gas-heated tunnel dryers, where hot air is forced in and around the racks. While drying, the grapes are exposed to sulfur dioxide gas to prevent oxidation and caramelization, allowing the raisins to dry to their characteristic golden color.

When it comes to raisins nutrition, they have a considerable concentration of phenolic compounds, which play a role in cancer prevention and treatment. (2) Raisins contain the following phenolic compounds: quinic, gallic, chlorogenic and caffeic acids; catechin; and epicatechin. While many people like to avoid sulfur dioxide (especially those who have an allergy), golden raisins have more of some health-promoting compounds because the antioxidant effect of the sulfite used to produce golden raisins inhibits the loss of these compounds. (3)

Golden raisins have been shown to have the highest antioxidant capacity and phenolic content when compared to grapes and sun-dried raisins. (4) In general, though, the drying process for making raisins preserves and concentrates the antioxidant capacity of raisins over fresh grapes. (5)

Sultanas are another type of raisin that come from small, pale golden-green grapes originating in Turkey. These grapes were originally used to make wine, but today they’re primarily used to make raisins. Sultanas are more popular in Europe, and the American variety of the sultana grape is the Thompson seedless.

Muscat raisins are large compared to other varieties, and they’re also sweeter. What about currants? Currants are also dried grapes, but they’re smaller, darker and tangier than your typical raisin.


Raisins Nutrition

Raisins are dried grapes, which are the fruits of the Vitis vinifera plant. The three main types of raisins commercially sold are: sun-dried (natural), artificially dried (water-dipped) and sulfur dioxide-treated raisins.

Unlike other dried fruits that commonly have sweeteners added in the drying process, raisins are packaged without any added sugar. Raisins naturally provide a perfect amount of sweetness for the tastebuds. In fact, they’re similar to Medjool dates, one of the best natural sweeteners around.

Are raisins healthy? The one-word answer is definitely: yes! Natural energy isn’t the only plus when it comes to consuming raisins. These delicious dried fruits are also loaded with fiber, potassium, iron and other essential nutrients, but free of saturated fat and cholesterol. They’re also gluten-free, just in case you were wondering.

One small box (1.5 ounces) of seedless raisins contains: (6)

  • 129 calories
  • 34 grams carbohydrates
  • 1.3 grams protein
  • 0.2 gram fat
  • 1.6 grams fiber
  • 25.4 grams sugar
  • 322 milligrams potassium (9.2 percent DV)
  • 0.8 milligrams of iron (4.4 percent DV)
  • 0.08 vitamin B6 (4 percent DV)
  • 14 milligrams magnesium (3.5 percent DV)
  • 22 milligrams of calcium (2.2 percent DV)
  • 1.5 micrograms vitamin K (2 percent DV)

 

Raisins nutrition facts - Dr. Axe

 


5 Health Benefits of Raisins Nutrition

Aside from being a popular snack food based on taste alone, raisins contain polyphenols, antioxidants, flavonoids and nutrients that can benefit overall health. Here are some of the top ways consuming raisins can help you live a healthier life.

1. Decrease Likelihood of Cavities & Gum Disease

Contrary to what you might expect from a sweet and sticky dried fruit, raisins can actually improve oral health. In fact, they’re one of the best ways to naturally reverse cavities and heal tooth decay. Research published in the Phytochemistry Letters revealed that raisins can benefit oral health because the fruit possesses antimicrobial phytochemicals that suppress the growth oral bacteria associated with dental cavities and gum disease.

One of the five phytochemicals the study identified in raisins is oleanolic acid. In the study, oleanolic acid inhibited the growth of two species of oral bacteria: Streptococcus mutans, which causes cavities, and Porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes periodontal disease — aka gum disease. So even though raisins satisfy your sweet tooth, they actually help to keep that tooth free from cavities! (7)

2. Excellent Digestive Aid

As a high-fiber food, raisins are an excellent digestive aid. Anything that aids your digestion is going to make you less likely to have common bathroom issues like constipation or diarrhea. Raisins contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which both help keep things moving through the intestinal tract in a healthy way by reducing constipation but discouraging loose stools as well.

Dried fruits might have more calories than fresh, but they also have a higher amount of fiber. For example, one cup of grapes has one gram of fiber while one cup of raisins has seven grams of fiber. By adding raisins to your snacks and meals, you instantly up the fiber content of your culinary creations quickly and easily. (8)

3. Lower Blood Pressure & Reduce Stroke Risk

Data presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual Scientific Session in 2012 suggests that individuals with mild increases in blood pressure can benefit from the routine consumption of raisins (three times a day). The researchers found that this daily consumption may significantly lower blood pressure, especially when compared to eating other common snacks. (9)

In addition, raisins are rich in the heart-healthy electrolyte potassium, helping prevent low potassium — a common issue in the standard American diet. Potassium is a key mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues and organs in the human body. People who get a lot of potassium in their diets have a lower risk of stroke, especially ischemic stroke. (10)

4. Help Manage Diabetes

A randomized study in 2015 evaluated the impact of routine consumption of dark raisins versus alternative processed snacks on glucose levels and other cardiovascular risk factors among patients with type II diabetes. In this study, compared to alternative processed snacks, those who consumed raisins had a 23 percent reduction in glucose levels after a meal. Those who consumed raisins also had a 19 percent reduction in fasting glucose and a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure. Overall, research supports raisins as a healthy snack choice for patients with type II diabetes. (11)

When you eat raisins, the fiber content also helps your body to process the raisins’ natural sugars, which helps prevent insulin spikes manage diabetes naturally.

5. Aid in Preventing Cancer

Studies show that dried fruits, especially dates, prunes and raisins, contain high phenolic components that have stronger antioxidant powers than those in some fresh fruits. Antioxidants are extremely important to our health because they prevent free radicals (highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm cells) from causing cellular damage inside our bodies.

Free radicals are one of the primary, underlying factors that lead to the spontaneous growth of cancer cells as well as the spread of cancer, which is why high-antioxidant foods like raisins are such great natural cancer treatments. By including raisins in your diet, not only can you can increase your antioxidant levels, but you can also decrease cellular damage and ward off cancer. (12, 13)

 

Raisins benefits - Dr. Axe

 


Raisins History & Interesting Facts

Raisin grapes were first grown in Egypt and Persia as early as 2000 B.C. Dried grapes or raisins are mentioned in the Bible a number of times, including when David (Israel’s future king) was presented with “a hundred clusters of raisins” (1 Samuel 25:18), which was  probably sometime during the period 1110–1070 B.C.

The early Romans and Greeks were known to adorn areas of worship with raisins. Raisins were also awarded as prizes in sporting events.

Up until the 20th century, the main raisin producers were Greece, Iran and Turkey. By the middle of the 20th century, the U.S. took the lead in raisin production with Australia as the second largest producer. Today, the raisin industry in the U.S. is located solely in California, where the first raisin grapes were planted in 1851. (14)

While Thompson seedless grapes dominate raisin production, they’re also widely used for fresh consumption, making juice concentrate and producing wine.


How to Use Raisins

Raisins are always sold ready to eat. They can be eaten alone as a snack or can be added to rice dishes, stuffing, salads, cold or hot cereals (like granola and oatmeal), puddings, and baked items. Raisins are commonly combined with nuts, seeds and other dried fruits to create trail mix.

When added to baked goods like cookies or cakes, the raisins help retain moisture in the final products. You can also add raisins to fresh fruit or vegetable salads as well as pasta and grain salads.

Traditional raisins and golden raisins can be used in the same way. Since currants are smaller, they can be used similarly, but they don’t retain moisture like larger raisins.

Store raisins in a cool, dry and dark place. After opening, keep packages of raisins tightly closed with a plastic tie or rubber band. They can also be put into a sealable plastic storage bag. Storing raisins in the refrigerator prolongs their freshness for up to one year. Avoid putting raisins in a kitchen cupboard that may be warm (near the stove) because high temperatures can cause raisins to lose their moisture more quickly.


Raisin Recipes

Raisins probably deserve a medal for being the dried fruit that’s easiest to incorporate into your diet. They’re easy and tasty to eat alone, but they’re also just as easy and tasty to throw into such a large range of recipes from zesty vegetable side dishes to healthy desserts. Here are a few delicious ideas to get you started:


Potential Side Effects & Caution of Raisins

The natural sugar in raisins is easy to digest and can provide a great energy boost, but make sure not to exceed one serving size per day so you don’t overdo it on your daily sugar intake. As with other dried fruit, if you’re watching your weight then you definitely don’t want to go overboard on raisin consumption because they’re high in carbohydrates. Stick with reasonable serving sizes. Thankfully, those small boxes make it super easy.

Raisins treated with sulfur dioxide (like golden raisins) may aggravate asthma and other allergic reactions in people with sulfur sensitivities. Read labels carefully to avoid sulfur dioxide. Naturally sun-dried raisins are your best bet if you’re concerned about sulfur dioxide.

If you own a dog, make sure not to let your pet share your next box of raisins. It’s unclear why, but raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. That’s why raisins are commonly on lists of people foods to avoid feeding your pets. (15)


Raisins Nutrition Takeaways

  • Most raisins are produced from Thompson seedless grapes.
  • To produce raisins, grapes are laid on brown craft paper trays between the vineyard rows and allowed to dry in the sun when harvested.
  • Raisins are traditionally sun-dried, but they may also be water-dipped and artificially dehydrated.
  • The three main types of raisins commercially sold are: sun-dried (natural), artificially dried (water-dipped) and sulfur dioxide-treated raisins.
  • Raisins are loaded with fiber, potassium, iron and other essential nutrients, but free of saturated fat and cholesterol. They’re also gluten-free.
  • Raisins contain polyphenols, antioxidants, flavonoids and nutrients that can benefit overall health.
  • Raisins decrease the likelihood of cavities and gum disease, aid digestion, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke, help manage diabetes, and aid in preventing cancer.
  • They make a great snack in their own right but can also be added to numerous

Barley health benefits

Barley Nutrition Facts, Benefits & How to Cook It!

Barley Nutrition Facts Health Benefits Title

Although barley may not be as popular as other whole grains like oats, wheat, or even grain-of-the-moment quinoa, barley has some impressive health benefits. A very high fiber content, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, heart health and diabetes protection are just some of the barley nutrition benefits that make it one of the best whole grain choices.

Barley is actually one of the oldest consumed grains in the world. It was a staple grain for peasants during medieval times for centuries and today is still included in the diet of many European, African, and Middle Eastern nations that have been eating barley for thousands of years.

Barley provides a range of important vitamins and minerals:  fiber, selenium, B vitamins, copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, and more. And when compared to many other grains, even other ancient whole-grains, barley is lower in fat and calories, but higher in dietary fiber and certain trace minerals. For example a one-cup serving of cooked barley has less calories, but more fiber, than an equal serving of quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, sorghum, millet or wild rice.


Barley Nutrition Facts

About one cup of cooked hulled barley, which is about equivalent to 1/3 cup uncooked, provides: (1)

  • 217 Calories
  • About 1 gram fat
  • 10 grams fiber
  • 7 grams protein
  • 45 grams carbohydrates
  • 1 mg manganese (60%)
  • 23 mg selenium (42%)
  • .3 mg copper (34%)
  • .4 mg vitamin B1 (33%)
  • 162 mg phosphorus (23%)
  • 80 mg magnesium (20%)
  • 8 mg vitamin B3 (18%)

To get the most benefits from barley nutrition, it’s recommended that you first soak and sprout hulled uncooked barley grains, or you can choose to buy sprouted barley flour for baking. Sprouting whole grains helps to unleash their nutrients, so that the body can actually absorb and use the various vitamins and minerals found within the grain.

This is because all whole grains contain certain antinutrients, like phytic acid for example, which bind to nutrients and make them very difficult to absorb. Soaking and sprouting grains, including hulled uncooked barley, can help to lower the level of antinutrients significantly, making grains more beneficial and also easier to digest. It can also reduce the amount of gluten present within barley to some degree.

Numerous studies have found that when grains are soaked and sprouted, improvements in digestibility and nutrient absorption are commonly seen and also vitamin, mineral, protein, and antioxidant levels are increased. (234) To sprout your own barley, you can soak whole, raw barley grains for 8-12 hours and then sprout them over the course of about 3 days. Or check out my Sprout Guide for a full list of how to soak and sprout seed-based foods.

 

Barley Nutrition Facts Table Infographic

Top Barley Health Benefits 

Barley Field

1. High Source of Fiber

One of barley’s most noteworthy health benefits is its high fiber content. Each one-cup serving of barley provides approximately 6 grams of fiber. Most of the fiber found in barley is the insoluble type which aids in healthy digestion, glucose metabolism, and heart health. (5)

Consuming foods that are high in fiber also makes you feel fuller, since fiber expands within the digestive tract and takes up a high volume of space. This means you feel more satisfied after a meal, are better able to control blood sugar levels, and have less cravings.


2. Can Help Improve Digestion

Fiber also helps to fight constipation and diarrhea by forming bulk within the digestive tract, therefore regulating bowel movements. A 2003 study observed the effects of adding more barley to the diet of adult women and found that after 4 weeks, barley intake had beneficial effects on lipid metabolism and bowel function. (6)

Barley’s fiber is also important for maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria within the digestive tract. Another important and well-researched benefit of barley nutrition? Barley’s high supply of fiber may even be beneficial in preventing certain types of cancers within the digestive system, including colon cancer.


healthy weight, Woman exercising

3. Helps with Weight Loss

Fiber provides volume to a healthy diet without any additional calories since the body cannot digest fiber. This makes the fiber found in barley beneficial for weight loss. A study in 2008 found that when adults added high amounts of barley’s beta gluten fiber to their diets for 6 weeks, their weight significantly decreased, as did their levels of hunger. (7)

And many other studies have found that compared to more refined grain products, like white bread for example, consuming whole grains like barley significantly reduces hunger levels and positively impacts metabolic responses to carbohydrates by absorbing starches at a slower pace. (8)


red blood cells

4. Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels

Barley nutrition can benefit blood sugar level management, making it a smart grain choice for those with diabetes or any form of metabolic syndrome because it helps to slow the rate at which sugar is released into the blood stream. (9)

Barley contains 8 essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, as well as high amounts of soluble fiber which control insulin release in response to barley’s sugar in the form of carbohydrates.

Inside the cell walls of barley is a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a viscous fiber, meaning our body cannot digest it and it moves through our digestive tract without being absorbed. As it does this it binds with water and other molecules within the digestive tract, slowing down the absorption of glucose (sugar) from food intake.

One animal study conducted in 2010 found that after rats were given high levels of barley for a 7 week period, the addition of barley helped reduce their weight, decreased hepatic lipid (fat) accumulation, and improved insulin sensitivity compared to the rats not consuming barley.

Because of its special fiber compounds, barley nutrition has even been found to help control blood sugar levels better than other whole grains, like oats for example. (10)


5. Helps Lower High Cholesterol

A diet rich in fiber has been correlated with a lower incidence of heart disease, partially due to its ability to help lower high cholesterol levels. Barley’s high source of insoluble fiber is mostly responsible for giving it is heart health benefits because it inhibits the amount of bad cholesterol that can be absorbed by the intestines. (11)

In a 2004 study, 28 men with high cholesterol levels were put on a diet containing high amounts of barley, with roughly 20% of overall calories coming from whole grain barley. After 5 weeks, total cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, and triacylglycerols levels all showed significant improvements. Researchers concluded that by increasing soluble fiber through consumption of barley, as part of an overall healthy diet, people can reduce several important cardiovascular risk factors. (12)

Barley’s fiber helps to form a type of acid known as propionic acid which helps inhibit enzymes that are involved in the production of cholesterol by the liver. The fiber found in barley also provides beta glucan, a substance that is needed to bind bile in the digestive tract to cholesterol and therefore to help pull it through the colon and out of the body in stool.


6. Prevents Heart DiseaseBarley Heart

One of the biggest advantages of barley nutrition is that eating whole grains is correlated with improved heart health.

Barley contains certain nutrients including vitamin B3 niacin, vitamin B1 thiamine, selenium, copper, and magnesium which are useful in lowering cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other risk factors associated with heart disease. These minerals help to control the production and metabolism of cholesterol, prevent dangerous blood clotting, aid in arterial health and are crucial for nerve signaling functions that help control cardiovascular processes like heart rhythms.

Barley’s nutrients are especially useful in slowing the dangerous progression of atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up within arteries and can lead to heart disease, a heart attack, or stroke. Barley’s nutrients help blood vessels to remain clear, improving blood flow and reducing inflammation.


7. Provides Antioxidants

Barley benefits the body in many ways because it contains antioxidant phytonutrients known as lignans. Lignans are correlated with lower incidences of cancer and heart disease because they are helpful in reducing inflammation and fighting the toll that aging can have on the body.

The main type of lignan that is found in barley is called 7-hydroxymatairesinol. Studies have shown that this lignan may offer protection against cancer development and heart disease because it helps the body to metabolize bacteria and to sustain a healthy ratio of “good-to-bad” bacteria within the gut, reducing overall inflammation. (13)

The antioxidants found in barley help to boost serum levels of enterolactones, which is a compound that is associated with controlling hormone levels and therefore fighting hormone-related cancers, such as prostate and breast cancer.


vitamins word cloud

8. High in Vitamins and Minerals

Some of the highlights of barley nutrition is that this whole grain is a good source of important nutrients including: selenium, magnesium, copper, niacin, thiamine and many other vital nutrients too.

Barley nutrition helps many functions due to its high mineral content.  Copper for example is important for maintaining cognitive function into old age, supporting metabolism, the nervous system, and producing red blood cells. And selenium found in barley benefits your appearance by improving skin and hair health and supports a healthy metabolism. Selenium also works with vitamin E to fight oxidative stress.

Manganese found in barley is important for brain health and supporting the nervous system. One cup of cooked barley also provides 20% of your daily magnesium needs. Magnesium is needed for numerous important enzyme relations within the body, including the production and use of glucose. Magnesium also helps control muscle functioning, dilating blood vessels, and many more functions.


breast cancer ribbon

9. Protects Against Cancer

A diet that includes whole grains has been shown to protect against various forms of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Whole grains contain compounds that have the ability to fight free radical damage and inflammation including lignans, polyunsaturated fatty acids, oligosaccharides, plant sterols and saponins. (14)

These beneficial compounds have mechanistic effects that include binding to harmful carcinogens and removing them from the body. (15) They also help improve the environment of the gut and therefore boost immunity by helping with antioxidant and nutrient absorption.

Also Barley’s antioxidants, enterolactones, protect against all hormone-based types of cancer.

Barley Health Benefits Infographic List

Barley roti

Barley Roti by DK on Feb 27, 2009

Barley Roti

I feel that incorporating the goodness of whole grains is a must in every household, be it in Baking or in normal day to day food. Since roti is a staple in my home, having it for dinner almost every other day, I try to bring about variation. Roti’s are one of the best ways of adding in different grains. I have already blogged about making roti with Oats. This time its Barley roti. I use Barley flour, along with whole wheat flour, which are available in everywhere, even in Indian stores. Instead of using plain water to knead the dough I use barley water. You can use the cooked barley as an alternative to plain white rice – for the same meal or refrigerate it and use the next day for salad prep, patties etc.

  • Cook time: Under 30 min
  • Prep time: Under 30 min
  • Serves: 2 people

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Barley flour
  • 1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting,rolling etc
  • Barley water to knead the dough
  • salt to taste

Method
1. Prepare barley water as shown in this post (skip the lemon).

2. Add the flours and salt together and stir well.

3. Add enough barley water to knead the dough. It should be soft and pliable.

4. Divide into small balls and using a rolling pin, roll it out into a circle to approximately 1/8 inches

5. Cook it into a medium-hot pan. Add little oil to help it stay soft.

6. Turn once golden brown with little spots appear in the bottom.

Barley water

How to make Barley Water in 3 easy steps

Barley water is commonly available to buy from the supermarket but here we are going to show you how you can easily make your own fresh delicous version that is free from artificial colours, preservatives and sweeteners etc.

Barley Water is made using barley grain which is commonly available as Pearl Barley. You should be able to find Pearl Barley in health food stores and supermarkets. Because it tastes of relatively little, a zesty or tangy flavour such as Lemon or Orange is normally used to liven the taste up. Other fruit juices can also be used and honey is often used to counter balance the tartness of the fruit acids.

Ingredients for Barley Water

Barley water ingredients

  • 1 cup organic Pearl Barley
  • 5 cups water
  • Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon (to taste or other fruit if preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional to taste)
  • Cinnamon stick (optional)
  • Root Ginger (optional)

Servings: 4 cups

1. Put ingredients in a pan

Place the Pearl Barley in a sieve and rinse for a minute or so with plenty of fresh running water.

Place the Pearl Barley, water (and ginger / cinnamon if using) in a pan that can easily accommodate the volume of barley water you are making. Switch the heat on.

Pearl Barley, ginger water and cinnamon stick

Pearl Barley grains in close up

2. Boil it up

Bring the water to the boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes with the lid off. This will reduce the amount of water by about 1/3.

The grains should be softened and cooked.

3. Strain and refine taste

A delicious and healthy glass of home-made Barley WaterPour the barley water mixture through a sieve to seperate the barley grains, ginger and cinnamon from the Barley Water. Add the lemon juice (or other preferred fruit juice) and honey to taste, stir and leave to cool.

Barley water is normally drunk cold and it is best to drink it on the day of making when it is at its freshest. Your home made Barley Water should keep well in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Raw Barley Water

Although the recipe above is probably the most common type of Barley Water recipe you can also make a raw version by placing all the ingredients into a jug that is covered with a breathable lid / kitchen towel. Stir the mixture and leave to stand for 24 hours. Strain the mixture using a fine metallic sieve and serve.

What do I do with the left over Barley?

The left over Barley is useful for a number of other recipes such as:

  • Bulking out and thickening soups and stews with it
  • Combining it with some chopped nuts, seeds, sultanas, raisins and other dried fruits for an alternative to muesli or porridge.This has natural sweeteners and is high in dietary fiber.
  • Add it to salads to add another texture
  • Pop it in your blender and use it as a thickener for your smoothies

Variations on the recipe

You can use the same recipe but just substitute other flavours into the drink instead of the lemon/ginger/cinnamon/honey. Try using fresh Mint leaves, Orange or Lime juice, Maple Syrup and other herbs and spices.

Enjoy the benefits

Now you have learnt how incredibly easy it is to make your own refreshing Barley Water all that is left is to pour yourself a glass and enjoy!

You can drink up to 4 cups a day to help deliver the many health benefits of Barley Water. Your kidneys will love you for it!

Juicing Info

TALBINAH

Talbinah / Barley (التلبينة)
BARLEY

Talbinah / Barley (التلبينة)

Botanical Name 

Hordeum Vulgare is the botanical name for barley, it is from the Poaceae family.

Description

Talbinah is actually a broth made from barley (Sha`eer). The broth is called Talbinah because it is thin and white, similar to milk.

Barley (the essence of Talbinah) is a rugged cereal grain from the grass family, it can grow up to 1 ½ to 4 feet tall and flourishes in cool climates.

It has not been established where exactly barley originated from however it has been traced back to 7000BC Iran and 5000BC in the early Egyptian and Sumerian writings. Barley was part of the staple diet in ancient Egypt, in 5th century AD Tibet, and Medieval Europe. Known to the ancient Greeks, Romans and Chinese, it is from the most ancient of cultivated grains; it was the first domesticated grain in the Near East (current day Syria, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon) and has been used for centuries in dishes ranging from bread, soup and cereal.

The most common forms of barley found today are: Hulled barley where only the outer husk is removed, Scotch barley where the grain is husked and coarsely ground, barley grits where the grain is hulled and cracked into medium course pieces, and Pearl barley where the bran is removed, steamed and polished. The most nutritious and beneficial of these is the hulled barley as the other forms lose a lot of their nutritional value through the different processing they go through. Pearl barley is more commercial and widely available unlike the other forms which can mainly be found in health food.