The olive tree and the fig are quintessential symbols of the Mediterranean, embodying the beauty and strength of nature. The olive symbolizes peace, olive oil health, and likewise, the fig evokes fertility and abundance. Often, you can find them growing alongside each other, near the azure sea.
The similarity in the characteristics of these two plants is not merely symbolic. Both plants are valuable and important for our health. Olive oil is rich in essential polyphenols, oleic acid, and vitamin E. While olive oil has historically been used to alleviate digestive issues, recent scientific findings substantiate its importance in maintaining digestive health.
The digestive system is particularly vulnerable in modern lifestyles that involve poor diet, stress, and insufficient physical activity. The consequences of such a lifestyle are felt by an increasing number of people in various digestive discomforts that can eventually lead to more serious conditions.
Recent scientific research shows that the action of olive oil in the digestive tract is manifold: it partially slows down the stomach’s activity, leading to a slower release of stomach content into the initial part of the small intestine, ultimately creating a feeling of fullness. It enhances digestion and nutrient absorption in the small intestine and promotes the absorption of potassium, iron, magnesium, and other vital food components.
Figs, due to their nutritional value, also have a significant impact on human health. Fresh or dried, figs are rich in numerous vitamins—C, A, E, and K—and are a source of iron, potassium, calcium, B-group vitamins, phosphorus, and especially polyphenols. They are rich in antioxidants and dietary fibers. Because of their dietary fibers, they are known to be beneficial in cases of constipation.
Dried figs and olive oil share many connections, both in terms of composition and their impact on our bodies. They form a winning combination in addressing constipation and intestinal inflammation.
Simultaneously incorporating olive oil and figs into the diet can have a synergistic effect. The quality components of olive oil combined with the fibers and natural laxative properties of figs can have an intensified impact on human digestion.
The simplest way to use these foods is by using extra virgin olive oil as a dressing in salads and adding chopped dried figs to it. In Istrian cuisine, these two ingredients are increasingly combined and used in delicious desserts. Take fresh cottage cheese, chop some dried figs, sprinkle them over the cheese, then drizzle with a teaspoon of honey and extra virgin olive oil. You’ll get a healthy and excellent dessert. Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil that contains rich fruity scents reminiscent of freshly cut grass and a pungent flavor.
In cases of difficult digestion and constipation, try the traditionally known method: on an empty stomach, before breakfast, take three tablespoons of oil and consume two to three dried or fresh figs. For many people, this method alleviates the mentioned discomfort. You can also use fresh or dried figs as a fruity snack.
Although these natural remedies can be beneficial for most people, it’s essential to listen to your body and consult a healthcare professional if you experience prolonged or frequent digestive issues. Additionally, individual reactions to food can vary, so it’s advisable to gradually introduce new foods to observe their effects on your digestion.
As mentioned earlier, improper diet, a stressful lifestyle, and certain medications contribute to increasingly common digestive problems. Moreover, the aging process often accompanies impaired digestive function and poor absorption of nutrients from food, especially vitamins and minerals.
On the other hand, good digestion affects overall health and a person’s functioning in daily life. Thus, by adopting a proper dietary approach, one can have a dual impact: reduce the risk of developing diseases and influence the slowing down of the aging process, thereby extending life.
Why not heed these suggestions and improve the quality of life by taking small steps?