Foodstruct
Advanced Nutrition Search | Diet Analysis

Dates vs Figs - Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

Compare
Common fig
vs
Date palm

Introduction

Dates come from date palm trees that are long trees that can grow up to 23m high. They are native to North Africa, the middle east, and southern Asia. Currently they are also planted in the subtropical regions. The cultivation and consumption of dates date back to 6000BC in the Arabian regions.
Dates are part of nearly all middle eastern and north African diets and cuisines. Arab communities depend on dates in their diet due to the fact that consuming dates reduces the feeling of thirst and gives an energy boost as it is high in calories and sugar, and is abundant given that it is grown in the Arabian dry regions. 

Figs have a variety of colors and sizes and they come in a sack-shape form. It has a soft inside filled with small seeds and has a sweet taste. Their size can range from small to large sacks and the usual colors are green and dark purple. They are native to the middle east and western Asia.
Fig consumption dates back to around 9000 BC as fossils were found that contained remnants of figs.
They were famous fruits that were consumed in ancient Greece and Rome.
The fig tree is a dioecious tree, meaning that there is a pollen carrying tree and a seed carrying a tree. A certain wasp is necessary to carry the pollen from one tree to another. However, with agricultural advancement, the wasp is not necessary to pollinate the seed-bearing trees, thus removing the wasp from the life cycle of the tree. This made the fig tree dispersed all around the world. 

In this article, the nutritional content, vitamin, and mineral contents, their health impact, and usages will be discussed.

Nutritional content comparison

The nutritional content is compared on the basis of 100g of both dates and figs. However, they have different serving sizes. The serving size of dates is 7.1g which is equivalent to 1 date, and that of figs is 50g which is equivalent to 1 medium fig.

Glycemic index

Figs are classified as medium glycemic foods with a glycemic index of 61. On the other hand, Dates have a lower glycemic index and are classified as low glycemic foods with a glycemic index of 36.

Calories

Dates have 282 calories per 100g. Comparatively, figs have 74 calories.
Figs are lower in calories.

Fats

The fat content of both dates and figs is negligible. 

Carbohydrates

Figs contain lower amounts of carbohydrates relative to dates. The carbohydrate content of figs is 19.18g and the carbohydrate content of dates is 75g. 

Dietary fibers

Dates contain 8g of dietary fibers compared to figs which contain 2.9g. Making dates richer in dietary fibers

Sugars

The sugar content of dates is relatively higher compared to the sugar content of figs. Dates have 63.35g of sugars whereas figs 16.26g. 

Protein

The protein content of both dates and figs is negligible.

Vitamin content comparison

The main vitamin composition of dates per 100g is as following:

  • Vitamin C: 0.4mg 
  • Vitamin B6: 0.165mg 
  • Vitamin B5: 0.59mg
  • Folate: 19mcg
  • Vitamin K: 2.7mcg

The main vitamin composition of figs per 100g is as following:

  • Vitamin C: 2mg
  • Vitamin K: 4.7mcg
  • Vitamin A:  142IU
  • Folate: 6mcg

Relatively, Figs are richer in vitamin C, K, and A. On the other hand, dates are richer in folate, vitamin B5, and B6.

Mineral content comparison

Dates and figs have different distributions of minerals.

Dates are rich in potassium, 656mg per 100g, where the daily requirement is by average 4000mg. This makes dates highly rich in potassium. On the other hand, figs contain 232mg of potassium nearly ⅓ the content compared to dates. 

Dates are also richer by approximately two and a half folds in magnesium compared to figs. The magnesium content is 43mg for dates and 17mg for figs, where the daily recommendation is 400mg for men and 310mg for women. 

Dates contain 0.206mg of copper, compared to figs that have negligible amounts of copper. The daily recommendation for copper is 1.4mg for men and 1.1mg for women. 

Dates and figs have approximately similar amounts of calcium, 39mg for dates and 35mg for figs, although it is somehow higher in dates but compared to the daily recommended value which is around 1000mg they are both considered similar. 

Health impact

Diabetes

Dates have anti-diabetic properties due to the flavonoids present in them. These flavonoids decrease the uptake of glucose from the intestinal tract. (1) 

Figs also have anti-diabetic properties, due to Abscisic acid which is a phytohormone present in figs, it was observed after the consumption of food, glucose balance in the blood was regulated better in individuals who had consumed abscisic acid compared to individuals who didn’t. In addition, it has effects on lowering the insulin index, decreasing the risks of developing insulin-resistant diabetes, diabetes type 2. (2) 

Cancer

Dates have anti-tumor activities due to beta D-glucan that are present in them. (3) 

Although the fig itself doesn’t have anti-tumor properties, until now based on evidence, fig latex components and fig leaf components have proven to have anti-tumor properties. These components are sitosterols, palmitoyl, and linoleyl. They have activity in inhibiting cancer cell proliferation. (4) 

Inflammation

Dates have anti-inflammatory properties that are observed in patients suffering from arthritis. (5) 

Figs contain Luteolin which has anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a neuroprotective agent. (6) 

Nephroprotection - Kidney Protection

Dates have nephroprotective characteristics, also known as kidney protection, which are due to their antioxidant components. It was observed that after having kidney impairment the antioxidant present in dates has reduced the creatinine and urea levels in the blood and improved filtration. (7) 

No similar properties were observed in figs.

Usages

Dates are considered as one of the most important foods consumed in middle eastern and north African cuisines, as it is high in carbohydrates, mostly sugar and potassium. The potassium acts as a water retainer in the body and prevents people from living in arid environments to withstand thirst for longer durations. 

Dates are also considered in the sports industry as a very efficient pre-workout sugar booster to give the body a boost of energy. It can be made into shakes that are mixed with milk, bananas, cocoa powder, making it highly nutritious, however, if a workout is not going to be followed after consuming this shake, one must be careful of the high caloric intake that it has. 

Dates can also be consumed dried, however the nutritional content will vary. 

Figs have a lower shelf life compared to dates, as it ripens relatively faster.
Figs can be eaten raw or dried, and are made into jams.
Dried figs have a variety of uses, they can be eaten as they are, and are used as a garnish or topping over European fusion salads. 

When consuming fig jam, the sugar and caloric content must be taken into consideration.

Summary

In summary, dates have a lower glycemic index, richer in fibers, potassium, copper, magnesium, and vitamins B5, B6, and folate. On the other hand, figs are lower in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars, richer in vitamins C, K, and A. The amount of fat and protein in both is negligible.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22761049/
  2. https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/67/Supplement_1/791-P
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15298775/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11473446/
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Doha_Mohamed/publication/265988289
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26361743/
  7. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13880200701739322

Infographic

Common fig vs Date palm infographic
Copy infographic link

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains less Sodium -50%
Contains more Iron +175.7%
Contains more Calcium +11.4%
Contains more Potassium +182.8%
Contains more Magnesium +152.9%
Contains more Copper +194.3%
Contains more Zinc +93.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +342.9%
Contains less Sodium -50%
Contains more Iron +175.7%
Contains more Calcium +11.4%
Contains more Potassium +182.8%
Contains more Magnesium +152.9%
Contains more Copper +194.3%
Contains more Zinc +93.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +342.9%

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Vitamin C +400%
Contains more Vitamin A +1320%
Contains more Vitamin E +120%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +15.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +74.1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +32%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +218.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +96.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +46%
Contains more Folate, total +216.7%
Contains more Vitamin C +400%
Contains more Vitamin A +1320%
Contains more Vitamin E +120%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +15.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +74.1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +32%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +218.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +96.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +46%
Contains more Folate, total +216.7%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

Summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfils human daily needs, the more the summary score is
Vitamin Summary Score
7
Common fig
9
Date palm
Mineral Summary Score
8
Common fig
22
Date palm

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Protein
5%
Common fig
15%
Date palm
Carbohydrates
19%
Common fig
75%
Date palm
Fats
1%
Common fig
2%
Date palm

Comparison summary table

Pay attention at the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Common fig Date palm
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sugars ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable in case of diets?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Common fig Date palm
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Date palm
Date palm is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.028g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Date palm
Date palm is lower in glycemic index (difference - 25)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Date palm
Date palm is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Sugars?
Common fig
Common fig contains less Sugars (difference - 47.09g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Common fig
Common fig contains less Sodium (difference - 1mg)
Which food is cheaper?
Common fig
Common fig is cheaper (difference - $1.4)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be definitely stated which food is richer in vitamins. See charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

In the column "Opinion" we made some assumptions which could be controversial. For instance we are assuming that less saturated fats is good for you. Please ignore this column if you have your own opinion.We marked the nutrients, comparison of which we considered as not meaningful, as "N/A"
Nutrient Common fig Date palm Opinion
Calories 74 282 Date palm
Protein 0.75 2.45 Date palm
Fats 0.3 0.39 Date palm
Vitamin C 2 0.4 Common fig
Carbs 19.18 75.03 Date palm
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 0.37 1.02 Date palm
Calcium 35 39 Date palm
Potassium 232 656 Date palm
Magnesium 17 43 Date palm
Sugars 16.26 63.35 Date palm
Fiber 2.9 8 Date palm
Copper 0.07 0.206 Date palm
Zinc 0.15 0.29 Date palm
Starch
Phosphorus 14 62 Date palm
Sodium 1 2 Common fig
Vitamin A 142 10 Common fig
Vitamin E 0.11 0.05 Common fig
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.06 0.052 Common fig
Vitamin B2 0.05 0.066 Date palm
Vitamin B3 0.4 1.274 Date palm
Vitamin B5 0.3 0.589 Date palm
Vitamin B6 0.113 0.165 Date palm
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 4.7 2.7 Common fig
Folate, total 6 19 Date palm
Folic acid (B9) 0 0
Trans Fat 0 0
Saturated Fat 0.06 0.032 Date palm
Monounsaturated Fat 0.066 0.036 Common fig
Polyunsaturated fat 0.144 0.019 Common fig
Tryptophan 0.006 0.012 Date palm
Threonine 0.024 0.043 Date palm
Isoleucine 0.023 0.049 Date palm
Leucine 0.033 0.084 Date palm
Lysine 0.03 0.066 Date palm
Methionine 0.006 0.022 Date palm
Phenylalanine 0.018 0.05 Date palm
Valine 0.028 0.071 Date palm
Histidine 0.011 0.032 Date palm
Fructose 19.56 Date palm
The main source of information is USDA Food Composition Database (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Dietary Guidelines for Americans is used as the primary source for advice in this web resource
Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.