The fig is a medium sized fruit and has sweet flesh. In the ancient
civilizations of the Mediterranean, figs were a main component of their diet
and they would often replace bread. It is noteworthy that figs were the basic
food item for athletes during the Olympic Games because of their nutritional
value. There are many distinguished fig varieties in Messinia, internationally
recognized for their quality. These include Kalamon or Tsapela, Valosykia,
Lefka (white), large Androusa, and Stravolemos. There are 5000 people working
in fig production in Messinia. Figs are processed in state-of-the-art
facilities. Cultivation lasts for 7 months, beginning in April and finishing in
October while harvesting takes place from August to October. Currently, annual
production in Messinia is about 4000 tons.
Nutritional science has demonstrated the advantages and the properties of dried fruit, which include dried figs and medical science has verified their contribution to human health. Dried figs are rich in vitamins A, B, and C as well as minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and iron. The consumption of dried figs achieves two main nutritional goals of human health. The first one is that 100 gr of dried figs can give 10% of the total energy needs, 7% of the daily requirements in protein, 17% in calcium, 30% in iron and magnesium and around 5% of the daily requirements in vitamins. All the above are essential for maintaining a healthy chemical balance and cell function of the body. The second goal is achieved by the large percentage of fiber figs contain. Fiber helps reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels as it cleanses and detoxifies the body. The water content of fiber makes figs a highly digestible food while their capacity to bind the cholesterol ingested from other foods results in eliminating the cholesterol before absorbed by the body and thus maintaining it at low levels. It is also worth noting that the levels of calcium that figs have are equivalent to those of milk. In contrast to chemical laxatives, dried figs are a natural laxative agent due to their high fiber content.