Importance of Fruits in Diet - Natural Benefits of Fruits
Fruits are one of the oldest forms of food known to man. In fact, Adam, the first man ate an apple, the 'forbidden fruit' of heaven. There are many references to fruits in ancient literature. Vedas state that the fruits form the base of the Food of Gods. According to Quran, the fruits like grape, date, fig, olive and pomegranate are the gifts and heavenly fruits of God.
The people in ancient times regarded fruits to be endowed with magic. or divine properties. They gave them due reverence and dedicated them to their gods and goddesses. They also used their designs in decorating temples, vestments or ceremonial garments and sacred vessels.
These days, doctors recommended us to eat at least 5 fruit or vegetables a day, which keeps up your immunity and maintains your vitamin and nutrient level. To save yourself from claiming medical costs or hospital fees, just ensure you include enough healthy food in your diet to stay fit and well. Lack of nutrients can lead to a weak immune system, gradually leading to illness.
Fresh and dry fruits are the natural staple food of man. They contain substantial quantities of essential nutrients in a rational proportion. They are excellent sources of minerals, vitamins and enzymes. They are easily digested and exercise a cleansing effect on the blood and the digestive tract. Persons subsisting on this natural diet will always enjoy good health. Moreover, the ailments caused by the intake of unnatural foods can be successfully treated by fruits. Fresh and dry fruits are thus not only a good food but also a good medicine.
Natural Benefits of Fruits
Fruits have highly beneficial effect on the human system. The main physiological actions of fruits are as follows:
Taking of fruits or fruit juice is the most pleasant way of hydrating the organism. The water absorbed by sick persons in this manner has an added advantage of supplying sugar and minerals at the same time.
Clinical observations have shown that potassium, magnesium and sodium contents of the fruit act as a diuretic and diuresis -frequency of urination is considerably increased when fruits and fruit juices are taken. They lower the urine density and thereby accelerate the elimination of nitrogenous waste and chlorides. As, however, fruits contain a very low level of sodium, they make a valuable contribution to a salt-free diet.
The organic acids of the salts in fruits produce alkaline carbonates, when transformed within the organism, which alkali se the fluids. All fruits promote intestinal elimination. This keeps the body free from toxic wastes, which creep into the blood from an overloaded, sluggish intestinal tract. The carbohydrates of fruits .are chiefly in the form of sugar, dextrin and acids which are easily digestible and are completely absorbed. Hence, they are very useful for sick and invalids for quick energy and heat.
Fruits furnish minerals to the body. Dried fruits such as apricots, raisins and dates are rich in calcium and iron. These minerals are essential for strong bones and good blood respectively. Some fruits, like custard apple, furnish calcium to the extent of 800 mg. per fruit, which is sufficient to meet our daily requirement of this mineral.
The fibrous matter in fruits, cellulose, aids in the smooth passage of the food in the digestive tract and easy bowel action. The sugars and organic acids contained in fruits also increase their laxative effect. Hence, regular use of fruits prevents and cures constipation.
Fruits, as dependable sources of vitamins, exert a tonic effect in the body. Guavas, custard apples and citrus fruits, like lemons and oranges, are particularly valuable sources of vitamin C. These fruits are usually eaten fresh and raw, thus making the vitamins fully available to us. Several fruits contain good amounts of carotene which gets converted to vitamin A in the body. A medium-sized mango can provide as much as 15,000 international units of vitamin A which is sufficient for full one week and this vitamin can be stored in the body. The common papaya is an excellent source of vitamin C and carotene.
Fruits are at their best when eaten in the raw and ripe state. In cooking, they lose portions of the nutrient salts and' carbohydrates. They are most beneficial when taken as a separate meal by themselves, preferably for breakfast in the morning. A combination of fruits with vegetables is not considered good. If it becomes necessary to take fruits with regular food, they should form a larger proportion of the meals. Fruits, however, make better combination with milk than with meals. It is also desirable to take one kind of fruit at a time.
In case of sickness, it will be advisable to take fruits in the form of juice. However, juice should be taken immediately after extraction as it begins to decompose quickly and loses its properties.
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