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Common fig vs Prune - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Common fig
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Prune

Introduction

Figs come in a variety of colors and sizes, and they are shaped like a pouch. It has a sweet taste and a soft interior packed with tiny seeds. Their sizes range from tiny to big pouch, with the most common colors being green and dark purple. They're from the Middle East and Western Asia.

Fig eating may be traced back to about 9000 BC when fossils containing fig remains were discovered.

They were well-known fruits consumed in ancient Greece and Rome.

The fig tree is a dioecious tree, which means it has both a pollen-carrying and a seed-carrying tree. A certain wasp is required to transport pollen from one tree to another. However, with agricultural development, the wasp is no longer required to pollinate seed-bearing trees, eliminating the wasp from the tree's life cycle. As a result, the fig tree spread all over the world.

Prunes are dried plums, plums were one of the first domesticated fruits in human civilizations. Their origin traces to eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Not all plums can be dried into prunes, a specific type of plums is required for this process which does not get fermented during the drying process. Prunes are also known as dried plums which were renamed by the FDA.

Usage

Figs have a shorter shelf life than prunes because they ripen sooner.

Figs may be eaten raw or dry, and they are also used to make jam.

Dried figs are used in a variety of ways, including as a garnish or topper on European fusion salads.

The sugar and calorie content of fig jam must be considered while eating it.

Prunes have various usages in the culinary world. They are mostly eaten as they are, mixed in fruit, cereal, or oat bowls. They can be made into cookies, power shakes, and deserts. Prunes can be associated with meat, a fillet mignon with prune sauce is a gourmet European dish that has strong and rich flavors.

In this article, we are going to compare figs to prunes according to their difference in nutritional content, weight loss and diet effects, and health impacts.

Nutritional data comparison

In this part of the article, we are going to compare common figs and dried prunes. The nutritional content of dried prunes differs from that of common plums as they are dehydrated; their mass is mostly composed of macronutrients and micronutrients. As the data shows, in 100g of each fruit, 80g are water in figs and 30g are water in dried prunes.

Calories

Prunes are higher in calories compared to figs. As mentioned above, the prunes are dried, they contain less water than figs. The difference in calories is 3.5 times more in prunes than figs.

Glycemic index

The glycemic index of figs is double the glycemic index of prunes. Figs are categorized as medium glycemic index foods whereas prunes are categorized as low glycemic index foods.

Carbs

Prunes contain triple the amount of carbs compared to figs. Figs are lower in carbs. Prunes contain high amounts of carbs. However, it is important to note that the prune taken into consideration in this article is dried prune which is dehydrated and most of its mass is macronutrients instead of water.

Fibers

Prunes are richer in fibers compared to figs. Although the amount is not very high to satisfy daily requirements, however, overall mixed with a balanced diet which contains salads and fruits, prunes become complementary.

Proteins

Prunes contain higher amounts of proteins. However, this amount is not very relevant for the recommended daily value.

Fats

Both, prune and fig, have negligible amounts of fats.

Minerals

Prune has a richer mineral profile than fig. Prune is richer in copper, potassium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. The amounts of copper in prunes satisfy 31% of the recommended daily value and the amount of potassium satisfies 22% of the recommended daily value.
Figs have a substandard mineral profile. All the minerals that are in figs do not satisfy even 10% of the recommended daily value.

Vitamins

Prunes have a diverse and rich vitamin profile. Prunes are richer in vitamin K, B2, B6, and A. the vitamin K amount of prunes are of importance as they satisfy 50% of the recommended daily value. Similar to their mineral profile, figs have a substandard mineral profile relative to prunes.

Diets and weight loss

Figs are suitable for weight loss, it has proven to induce metabolism. Figs are known to satisfy a craving and reduce hunger. Meaning that if figs are eaten before a meal, it is more likely to feel fuller quicker.

On the other hand, prunes are packed with nutrients, mostly vitamins and minerals, consuming prunes as part of an organized and planned diet plan helps reduce weight.

Both prunes and figs are recommended to be consumed as snacks instead of a chocolate bar or any other snack that is mostly made of refined and processed elements.

Vegan

Figs and prunes can be consumed in vegan diets. They are recommended to be eaten as part of snacks or made into cookies or energy shakes.
Prunes and figs can also be associated with salads or fig jam or prune compote can be eaten for breakfast. However, the amount of excess sugar should be monitored in these cases.

Keto

In moderation figs are recommended in the keto diet, mostly dried figs or even fresh can be associated with a breakfast made with a low carb toast and goat cheese.

Although the carbohydrate amount of prune is high they are recommended to be consumed in lower amounts or even moderate amounts. This is mainly due to its laxative effect and gastrointestinal benefits. Thus the pros outweigh the cons. However, one must be careful of the amounts of sugars, mostly sorbitol, that are present.

Health impacts

Diabetes

Figs also have anti-diabetic effects due to Abscisic acid, a phytohormone found in figs. It was shown that after eating, glucose balance in the blood was better maintained in those who ingested abscisic acid compared to individuals who did not. Furthermore, it has benefits on reducing the insulin index, lowering the risks of developing insulin-resistant diabetes and type 2 diabetes. (1)

Prunes have anti-diabetic properties that increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin spikes and their long-term bad effects. Uncontrolled insulin spikes and glucose levels affect negatively over the long run, increasing risks of metabolic disorders, diabetes, and obesity. Thus, controlling insulin sensitivity and levels has positive effects on the overall system. (2)

Cancer

Although the fig itself does not have anti-tumor capabilities, fig latex and fig leaf components have been shown to have anti-tumor characteristics based on evidence. These include sitosterols, palmitoyl, and linoleyl. They can suppress cancer cell growth. (3)

Prunes reduce the risks of developing colon cancer, this is discussed further in the subsection of the digestive tract.

Inflammation

Luteolin, found in figs, has anti-inflammatory effects and functions as a neuroprotective agent. (4)

Polyphenols present in prunes have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. These polyphenols induce macrophage performance in scavenging oxidative stress elements and free radicals. (5)

Digestive tract

As mentioned in the subsection of cancer, fig latex has protective roles against stomach cancer cell lines. (6)

In addition to that, figs have anti-diarrheal, anti-secretory, antispasmodic, and anti-ulcer properties which means figs have an overall benefit on the overall digestive system. (7)

Fibers and phenolic compounds present in prunes have positive effects on the gastrointestinal tract. They positively affect the gut microbiome and decrease the risks of colon cancer. In addition to that, prunes reduce constipation and control bowel movements. (8)

Cardiovascular health

Fig extracts have positive effects on the cardiovascular system. Figs have antihypertensive properties. It was shown that fig extract can reduce high blood pressure in diabetic conditions. (9)

On the other hand, prunes have a cardioprotective role by reducing blood cholesterol levels and triglycerides and have an increasing effect on HDL levels. This in turn helps protect against atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. (10)

Summary

Figs are lower in carbs and calories, however, figs have a higher glycemic index. Prunes, on the other hand, have a richer vitamin and mineral profile. Prunes are richer in copper, potassium, magnesium, iron, and manganese and vitamins K, B2, B6, and A.

References

  1. https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/67/Supplement_1/791-P
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16295695/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11473446/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26361743/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25921826/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22737478/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6889615/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24090144/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28187689/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21409897/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Profession: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: August 7, 2021

Infographic

Common fig vs Prune infographic
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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
:
7
Prune
Contains less Sodium -50%
Contains more Iron +151.4%
Contains more Calcium +22.9%
Contains more Potassium +215.5%
Contains more Magnesium +141.2%
Contains more Copper +301.4%
Contains more Zinc +193.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +392.9%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 14% 11% 21% 13% 24% 5% 6% 1%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 35% 13% 65% 30% 94% 12% 30% 1%
Contains less Sodium -50%
Contains more Iron +151.4%
Contains more Calcium +22.9%
Contains more Potassium +215.5%
Contains more Magnesium +141.2%
Contains more Copper +301.4%
Contains more Zinc +193.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +392.9%

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
:
7
Prune
Contains more Vitamin C +233.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +17.6%
Contains more Folate +50%
Contains more Vitamin A +450%
Contains more Vitamin E +290.9%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +272%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +370.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +40.7%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +81.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +1166%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 7% 9% 3% 0% 15% 12% 8% 18% 27% 0% 12% 5%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 2% 47% 9% 0% 13% 43% 36% 26% 48% 0% 149% 3%
Contains more Vitamin C +233.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +17.6%
Contains more Folate +50%
Contains more Vitamin A +450%
Contains more Vitamin E +290.9%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +272%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +370.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +40.7%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +81.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +1166%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
9
Common fig
31
Prune
Mineral Summary Score
11
Common fig
35
Prune

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 food.
Protein
5%
Common fig
13%
Prune
Carbohydrates
19%
Common fig
64%
Prune
Fats
1%
Common fig
2%
Prune

Comparison summary table

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

Which food is preferable for your diet?

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

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Comparison summary

Which food is richer in minerals?
Prune
Prune is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Prune
Prune is lower in glycemic index (difference - 32)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Prune
Prune is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Common fig
Common fig is lower in Sugar (difference - 21.87g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Common fig
Common fig contains less Sodium (difference - 1mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Common fig
Common fig is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.028g)
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)

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Common fig Prune Opinion
Calories 74 240 Prune
Protein 0.75 2.18 Prune
Fats 0.3 0.38 Prune
Vitamin C 2 0.6 Common fig
Carbs 19.18 63.88 Prune
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 0.37 0.93 Prune
Calcium 35 43 Prune
Potassium 232 732 Prune
Magnesium 17 41 Prune
Sugar 16.26 38.13 Common fig
Fiber 2.9 7.1 Prune
Copper 0.07 0.281 Prune
Zinc 0.15 0.44 Prune
Starch 5.11 Prune
Phosphorus 14 69 Prune
Sodium 1 2 Common fig
Vitamin A 142 781 Prune
Vitamin E 0.11 0.43 Prune
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.06 0.051 Common fig
Vitamin B2 0.05 0.186 Prune
Vitamin B3 0.4 1.882 Prune
Vitamin B5 0.3 0.422 Prune
Vitamin B6 0.113 0.205 Prune
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 4.7 59.5 Prune
Folate 6 4 Common fig
Trans Fat 0 Prune
Saturated Fat 0.06 0.088 Common fig
Monounsaturated Fat 0.066 0.053 Common fig
Polyunsaturated fat 0.144 0.062 Common fig
Tryptophan 0.006 0.025 Prune
Threonine 0.024 0.049 Prune
Isoleucine 0.023 0.041 Prune
Leucine 0.033 0.066 Prune
Lysine 0.03 0.05 Prune
Methionine 0.006 0.016 Prune
Phenylalanine 0.018 0.052 Prune
Valine 0.028 0.056 Prune
Histidine 0.011 0.027 Prune
Fructose 12.45 Prune

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Common fig - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173021/nutrients
  2. Prune - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168162/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.