Fig Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  10 min read
fig benefits and side effects


Fig health benefits may include:

Figs are…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!


Water footprint: moderate, it takes 3,350 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of figs / 401 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of figs

Carbon footprint: low, 1.54 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh figs, a car driving equivalent of 3.5 miles or 6 kilometers

Destruction: low, fig production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Figs are…


Kills: none, fig production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, fig production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: potentially wasps, wasps and figs have a symbiotic relationship and depend on one another to reproduce, female wasps lay eggs in figs before dying naturally and figs rely on wasps for pollination, some consider figs vegan, while others consider it to be biologically natural and would occur regardless of human consumption, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Figs are…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits


Where do most fig come from?

The world’s top fig producing country is Turkey, followed by Egypt and Morocco. The world’s top fig exporting country is Turkey, followed by Germany, Spain, Greece, USA, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru and Austria.

Are figs nutritious?

Yes! Figs are high in minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper and are a good source of antioxidant vitamins A and K.

figs are alkaline when fresh and acidic when dried.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Are figs alkaline or acidic? Figs are alkaline when fresh and acidic when dried. What is the pH level of figs? Figs have an 8.5 pH level when fresh and a 6.0 pH level when dried.

When you eat food, it is broken down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

figs are gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Are figs gluten free? Yes, figs are gluten free. Figs are a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

figs are not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is figs a common food allergen? No, figs are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to figs but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

figs have a moderate water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Do figs have a high or low water footprint? Figs have a relatively moderate water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of figs? It takes 3,350 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of figs / 401 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of figs.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

figs have a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do figs have a high or low carbon footprint? Figs have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of figs? It takes around 1.54 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh figs, a car driving equivalent of 3.5 miles or 6 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

figs are sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, are figs eco friendly? Are figs sustainable?

Fig production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

figs are vegan but may kill wasps.

Are figs vegan? Yes, figs are vegan. Figs are a fruit and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, in some areas where figs grow, wasps may die naturally when pollinating fig trees.

Figs are a food that many don’t know may or may not be considered vegan. Fig pollination requires wasps and wasp reproduction requires figs in some parts of the world. Even though wasps are not typically transported for fig pollination the ways in which bees are for almond pollination and it is a natural, symbiotic relationship between wasps and figs, the process often kills wasps. Many know that pollinators, including wasps, are critical to the ecosystem so if you don’t necessarily “care” or consider wasps to be an animal of concern, please know that issues like this can be indirectly damaging to more forms of life than you realize.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

figs are a product that may or may not have labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Are figs a product associated with labor concerns? At this time there have been no major concerns associated with fig production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may be associated with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 


Fig pros include:

Fig cons include:


Figs, raw – FoodData Central

Dried Figs Grades and Standards – Agricultural Marketing

Figs, dried, uncooked – FoodData Central

Growing Figs – NALDC – USDA

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.