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Figs are sweet and juicy fruit that grows from a fruit tree and can be eaten fresh, cooked, or dried. They give an earthy flavor and add some crunchiness to your salad or sandwich. Studies found that figs provide various health benefits and are an excellent source of minerals and vitamins, including vitamin A and C. But does fig make you poop too? Here’s what I found.
Figs are naturally rich in dietary fiber, which helps you go and promotes your digestion by adding bulk and softening your stool. This fiber also serves as prebiotics that help support the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, promote smoother digestion and enhances your overall digestive wellness.
Read on to know more about the impact of figs on your gut and how to eat them right.
How does fig make you poop?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, figs are rich in two substances that make you poop:
- Dietary fiber
Here’s how dietary fiber and prebiotics in figs help you go.
Dietary fiber in figs
Apart from being low in calories, figs are loaded with dietary fiber.
Figs are an excellent food to include in your diet to get more fiber. Dried figs, particularly, can give you a concentrated dose of fiber.
According to USDA Food Data Central, 100 grams of fresh figs (about 2 medium-sized figs) contain 2.9 grams of total dietary fiber, which provides 12% of the Daily Value (DV).
On the other hand, 100 grams of dried figs contain approximately 9.8 grams of total dietary fiber, which provides 39% of Daily Value.
So what is dietary fiber anyway and how does it help make you poop?
Dietary fiber, also known as bulk or roughage, is a kind of carbohydrate that you can find in all edible plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains.
Unlike other carbohydrates like starch, your stomach cannot readily digest fibers. So they will be flushed out of your body intact with your stool.
When passing through your intestine, fiber will absorb water and add bulk to your feces.
Hence, your poop will become bulkier and softer as you increase the amount of water you drink.
Moreover, studies conducted by researchers from Korea and Tunisia found that fig fruit paste or extract helped speed up the movement of food or waste through your digestive tract, lower constipation risk, and alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, such as ulcerative colitis.
By making you feel full much longer, which in turn helps reduce your hunger and cravings in between meals.
Still, you need to go easy on fiber-rich foods like figs as eating too much at once will make you constipated and bloated!
Instead, try increasing the amount of fiber in your diet gradually for the next 2 to 3 weeks and drink plenty of water to reduce the discomfort it causes.
Dietary fiber as prebiotics
Another amazing benefit of dietary fiber is serving as prebiotics.
Prebiotics are a type of special plant fiber that serves as a food source to feed the good bacteria in your gut, helping the gut flora produce nutrients for your colon cells and result in a healthier digestive system.
However, you should note that while all prebiotics is dietary fibers, not all dietary fibers are prebiotics, as explained by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 Committee or DGAC.
Other benefits of prebiotics include:
- Helping your body absorb calcium
- Help ferment foods quicker, so they spend less time in your gut, reducing your risk of becoming constipated
- Keep the cell lining your gut healthy
New research is also looking into the role of prebiotics in managing digestive disorders like IBS, and how they may help control obesity.
Some experts recommend consuming a minimum of 5 g of prebiotics daily.
But similar to fiber, you should not take too many prebiotics at once to avoid getting a bloated or gassy stomach.
Start by consuming a small amount of prebiotics to let your gut adjust to them.
Although prebiotics’ side effects are rare, some people, especially those with IBS, may experience worse symptoms and get diarrhea or constipation.
Health experts also advised against taking prebiotics if you have FODMAPs intolerance or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
Here’s a video by Dr. Gundry explaining how prebiotics works and how to include more of them in your diet.
Do figs give you diarrhea?
Figs are generally safe when consumed in food amounts. However, since they are rich in fiber and have anti-constipation effects, consuming too many figs, particularly dried figs, may result in digestive symptoms, including diarrhea.
Therefore, no matter how tasty and healthy figs are, you should not overeat them.
Try to include them in your diet gradually in small amounts.
Other potential side effects of figs
Apart from diarrhea and digestive symptoms, figs may also cause other risks and side effects to some people, which include:
- Drug interference: Since figs are relatively rich in vitamin K (approximately 4.7 mcg in 100 grams fresh figs and 15.6 mcg in dried figs), they may interfere with thinning medications like warfarin and reduce their potency. So if you are taking these medications, you may want to avoid consuming figs and other high-vitamin-K foods to lower your risk of complications.
- Allergies: Certain people might be allergic to figs. A study published in the Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology discovered that people who are allergic to birch pollen have a higher chance of developing a fig allergy as well. Some people may also be allergic to the natural latex in fig trees.
How many figs can you eat per day?
While fresh figs are low in calories, dried figs have high-calorie content. Moreover, figs are one of the most sugar-dense fruits on the planet. So you should consume them in moderation. Some experts recommend limiting the serving size to around 2 to 3 figs daily.
Unlike 100 grams of fresh figs (about 2 medium-sized figs) that contain only around 74 calories, 100 grams of dried figs contain 249 calories.
On the other hand, the same amount of fresh figs provide 16.3 grams of sugar, while dried figs provide almost 48 grams of sugar.
So you need to keep an eye on how many figs you eat per day if you are watching your calorie and sugar intake.
How to incorporate figs into your diet?
You can enjoy figs in various ways. They are popular for adding sweetness to all sorts of dishes. Here are four primary ways to add them to your diet:
- Fresh figs: Fresh figs have low calories so they are excellent as snacks or desserts. You can also toss them in a sandwich or salad for added flavor. Be sure to rinse them well before eating. They also make tasty jam or preserves.
- Dried figs: Dried figs are high in calories and sugar, so you should eat them in moderation. Nonetheless, tesearch found that they are more effective as a constipation remedy than fresh figs. You can consume them as they are, or soak them in warm water until they soften to restore them.
- Fig leaves: Fig leaves are likewise nutritious. But they can be hard to find outside of specialty stores. People tend to use them like how they use grape leaves, which are as a wrap for dishes with meat, rice, and other fillings.
- Fig leaf tea: This tea is made of dried fig leaves. You can either make them yourself or buy them in a premade form online or in local specialty shops.
You can also check out NDTV Food’s post on delicious ways to eat figs.
Figs are rich in dietary fiber and prebiotics, allowing you to poop easier and helping your digestive system to work better.
Figs, especially dried figs, can also help relieve constipation and other digestive disorders like ulcerative colitis.
Aside from improving digestive health, they also help you lose weight by making you feel full longer and curbing your appetite.
Nevertheless, figs may result in some side effects, including interfering with blood-thinning medications and causing allergies in certain people.
You may also experience some stomach discomfort when eating too many figs at once.
So although figs do provide various positive health effects, you should eat them in moderation.
Are figs a good laxative?
Figs are well-known for being a good laxative due to their high amount of fiber. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that fig extract (FCAE) shows a natural laxative effect without causing diarrhea and improves functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders.
Is it okay to eat figs every day?
Figs provide various potential health benefits. Dried figs, in particular, help treat constipation. However, because of their high calorie and sugar content, you should consume them in moderation. Some experts recommend consuming only around 2 to 3 figs each day.
Can I eat too many figs?
Figs are generally considered safe when eaten in food quantity. However, since they are loaded with sugar and fiber, you should avoid overeating them or you might put on extra weight or experience stomach upset or digestive issues like diarrhea.