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Fruits have many health benefits that help prevent complications like heat stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, heart disorders, and diabetes. They effectively fight skin disorders and promote healthy hair growth. It is always suggested to eat fresh and ripe fruits to get the maximum benefits from them.
What are Fruits?
Fruits are the edible fleshy part of a tree or a plant that contains seeds. Fruits come in a variety of flavors, including sweet, sour, bittersweet, and many more. They are great sources of many nutrients required by our body.
Types of Fruits
There are 8 main types of fruits. They are:
These fruits develop from the ripening of a single ovary of a flower. Simple fruits are of two types, dry and fleshy. Dry simple fruits can be dehiscent or indehiscent. Brazil nuts, strawberries, coconut, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc., are some dry simple fruits. Fleshy simple fruits are those that have a partial or full fleshy pericarp (fruit wall) on maturity. Some examples include cherry, tomato, olives, peach, plums, and cranberry.
These fruits develop from multiple ovaries of a single flower. There are four main types of aggregate fruits, including follicles, achenes, drupelets, and berries. Raspberry, blackberry, and custard apple are some examples.
Multiple fruits originate from an inflorescence, which means a cluster of flowers. Each of these flowers individually produces a fruit and the fruits, on maturity, come in the form of a single mass. Pineapple, figs, mulberry, etc., are some multiple fruits.
Berry is a type of simple fruit as it develops from a single ovary of a single flower. Cranberry and blueberry are the two most common examples of berries.
Any fruit whose edible part comes from the ovary, as well as other parts of the flower, is an accessory fruit. It can be simple, multiple, or an aggregate fruit. Most common examples include pineapple, apple, stone fruit, and strawberry.
Seedless fruits mature in two ways. The first is where the fruit develops without parthenocarpy, whereas the second is where pollination stimulates fruit development. These are the most valuable fruits as they are consumed by a majority of people.
Fruit Nutrition Facts
- Eating fruits regularly benefits your body as they are natural sources of vitamins and minerals, which are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
- Rich in dietary fiber, fruits help improve the functioning of the digestive tract, thereby reducing the chances of constipation and diverticulosis.
- Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet as they give ample energy without adding any unnecessary calories.
- Fruits contain minimal sodium and harmful fats, so they are healthy for your heart.
- Fruits are rich in potassium, which is important to keep your blood pressure regulated.
- Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is abundantly found in fruits, precisely citrus fruits. They are consumed widely for the common cold, wound healing, healthy skin, teeth, gums, and to keep the lymphatic system healthy.
- Dry fruits are excellent laxatives and they also are a great natural remedy for anemic conditions, acidosis, fever, and sexual weakness. They help in healthy weight gain and promote eye, teeth, and bone health.
- Fruits are a rich source of folic acids, which is the most important nutrient for pregnant women. Folate is known to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, anencephaly, and spina bifida occurring during fetal development.
Health Benefits of Fruits
Eating fruits and vegetables may promote emotional well-being among healthy young adults. Research suggests that good mood may lead to a greater preference for healthy foods overindulgent foods. The other benefits of fruits are listed in detail below.
When you eat fruits, your supply of energy increases in no time; this is one of the prime benefits of fruits that we can utilize in our busy schedules. This is the reason why athletes often eat fruit during and after exercise and why diets for pregnant mothers almost always involve fruits.
Fruits like apricot, apple, banana, cantaloupe, berries, grapefruit, and orange are great for protecting your heart as they are rich in flavonoids, carotenoids, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Fruits also contain vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, and folate, all of which aid in regulating cholesterol levels and preventing diseases like stroke, atherosclerosis, and heart attack.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition troubling a majority of people around the globe. While fruits are healthy for everyone, the ones with greater carb content are not recommended for diabetics. Fruits like apple, avocado, cherry, banana, orange, peach, plum, etc., have a low glycemic index (GI) – less than 55, and they help in controlling the blood sugar levels. Also, processed and canned fruits are not healthy as they contain artificial sweeteners, so always eat fresh fruits to reap maximum benefits.
Vitamin-rich fruits are great for prevention and treatment of many types of cancer like liver cancer and breast cancer. These include soursop, goji berry, camu camu and citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, etc., When consumed regularly, fruits have the ability to show hepatoprotective properties which help in driving away cancer.
Potassium-rich fruits like banana, apple, melons, plums, pear, apricots, and mango help in lowering hypertension. This mineral has been connected to regulating blood pressure owing to its vasodilating properties.
Fruits are rich in vitamin C, which helps in treating kidney stones. Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are great for reducing your chances of suffering from kidney stones. Also, fruits are low in sodium, which is great news for people suffering from the painful condition.
Fruits like grapefruit and orange are rich in calcium and vitamin K, both of which aid in maintaining healthy bones and also help improve the bone mineral density.
The combination of powerful flavonoids, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, and the countless micro and macronutrients make fruits very advantageous for your health. The daily consumption of fresh fruits lowers the risk of strokes, high blood pressure, indigestion, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Some fruits like bananas contain vital chemicals such as potassium, which helps prevent strokes, high blood pressure, and anxiety. Fruit consumption basically eliminates vitamin and mineral deficiencies and their associated symptoms. Fruits also have high quantities of water and fiber in them, which helps keep your digestive tract clean and your weight under control.
Aid in Digestion
Fibrous fruits aid the digestive process in the body. The skin of some fruits is also rich in dietary fiber, which is a major contributing factor in proper digestion and the excretion process of your body, while simultaneously keeping you safe from problems like gastritis and constipation. However, in some cases, the skin is thick, like in lemons, bananas, melons, and oranges, and cannot be consumed by humans. In those cases, the edible part of the flesh within the skin has plenty of fiber as well.
The fiber content in fruit not only has a brilliant laxative effect but also makes you feel full by adding bulk nutrition to the diet. Fibrous fruits also benefit conditions like heart diseases by reducing hyperlipidemia and hypertension, diabetes mellitus and obesity. Owing to this fibrous composition, fruits also have anti-carcinogenic properties and are known to prevent colon cancer and fight bowel irregularity disorders.
Once you start including a significant amount of fruits in your diet, you will begin to see that your weight is being controlled and your health is improving. However, fruits alone cannot reduce your weight. You also need to exercise regularly.
Many surveys done in America showed effective weight reduction after fruits were included in the family’s diet. Dr. Joanne L. Slavin from the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, suggests that a person who habitually eats fruits will be less inclined to have snacks and junk foods between meals that hardly have any nutritional value. Also, fruits are composed of 90-95% water, having a powerful diuretic effect on your body, thereby flushing out the nitrogenous wastes and unwanted toxins from the body.
One example of this is lychee, a fruit that is a great laxative with a negligible amount of calories, and no saturated fats or cholesterol. It also helps to cut down excess body weight. Except for a few fruits like coconuts, avocados, and olives, fruits are usually fat-free.
Fruits keep your skin supple and hydrated, and nourish it with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; thereby retaining your radiant skin for a long period of time. In fact, if you are tired of using the commercial anti-pimple creams, just try including fruits like berries, apples, or bananas into your daily diet and see the acne disappear quite quickly. Acne is one of the most irritating skin disorders that can affect people of any age. With a good amount of fruit in your diet, you can naturally curb this problem rather than opting for expensive dermatological creams. Acne mostly occurs from skin infections and dermatological issues, but there are other reasons for such eruptions as well. Apples are the best option for treating acne; eat the skin of the apple, which has a high level of pectin that helps control constipation, which can be a trigger for acne. Bananas also help to alleviate acne, as they are high in fiber that again relieves constipation. Berries have excellent cleansing properties and keep you protected from skin disorders. If you eat grapes during the day, it helps to cleanse your skin and body. Papayas rejuvenate your skin and repair minor damage that you may not even notice, lemon juice slowly eliminates the signs and scars from acne spots.
Apart from including fruits in your diet, try to watch your other food habits as well. Reduce caffeine consumption since it increases certain hormones in your body and thus increases acne. Cut down on red meat and dairy intake as well, since they aggravate your hormonal generation, resulting in acne. You should also keep your skin clean by frequently washing with herbal soap or mild face wash.
Just as fruits enhance the radiance of your skin, they also contribute greatly to long and healthy hair. Vitamin A brings luster to your hair and also softens its texture. If you have fruits on an empty stomach, it will prevent hair loss and premature graying. Citrus fruits are excellent hair stimulants. The vitamin C content in citrus fruits prevents hair loss and keeps your hair shiny and healthy. Fruits like kiwis, strawberries, and pineapple are also known for aiding hair growth. Fruits even ensure healthy hair growth and keep your locks lustrous and soft.
The benefits of fruit for your hair health can also be enjoyed through hair masks. Melon and banana hair masks are recommended by many beauty professionals for hair care at home. You can also make a paste of lemon juice and aloe vera and apply it to your hair. Keep the paste on for approximately 45 minutes and then thoroughly wash your hair with mild shampoo. These packs not only improve hair quality but also eliminate scalp disorders like dandruff and itching. Avocado has an impressive amount of vitamin E, which is widely known to be very good for hair. Avocado hair masks strengthen hair and delay premature graying of your hair. Coconuts are also very good for healthy hair growth. Coconut oil is used extensively throughout the tropical world for hair care.
A 2014 research published in the Clinical Nutrition journal suggests that greater consumption of vegetable, whole grain products, and fruits may lower the risk of multimorbidity.
Fruit vs Fruit Juice
Did you ever wonder which form of fruit gives you more nutrition – whole fruits or fruit juices?
- It is actually difficult to say which one gives more nutrition. Although eating whole fruit is considered to be the best way of attaining the full benefits of fruits, fruit juices are also easy and healthy options. Of course, if the fruit juice is composed of 100% fruit without extra preservatives or additives, then it has the same nutritional value.
- Fruit juices are available in two forms, 100% fruits juices and as fruit pulp + water + sugar. In both cases, preservatives and additives are added to increase the shelf life of the juice. Very few juices contain no preservatives.
- Homemade fruit juice contains the same fiber content as whole fruits, provided you don’t add artificial flavors and preservatives. However, if bought from the store, these juices may not have the equal fiber content after the vigorous processing. Moreover, when you consume processed juices, you are at a risk of unhealthy weight gain.
- When you make fruit juice at home, try to add the edible skin of the fruits to the juice to gain even more nutritional value.
Things to Remember
- It’s advised to eat fruits in the whole form, including their skin if it is edible, in order to gain the benefits of high fibrous content present in them. This promotes healthy digestion and prevents constipation.
- Eating seasonal fruits ensures that they are fresh. Furthermore, most seasonal fruits can also ward off the disorders that come with the season. For example, in India, green mangoes are quite useful for dealing with the heat of summer.
- The maximum nutritional value in fruits can be derived when eaten raw. Cooked or preserved fruits usually lose some of their important nutrients due to high heat and extended shelf life, respectively. Thus, fresh fruits are the most advantageous for your diet.
- Never eat fruits along with your main meal; this can result in severe acidity and digestive problem because fruits are usually mildly acidic in nature. Always eat fruits before or after your meals, leaving an hour or two of separation.
- It is always recommended to eat fruit on an empty stomach, or at least after a relatively light meal. Fruits on an empty stomach help to delay graying of hair, nervous outbursts, dark circles under the eyes, and balding.
- Never drink water immediately after having fruits as it can result in high acidity.
- Fruits should be eaten in the morning, as this helps in detoxification and also aids in weight loss. Although these benefits can be gained by eating fruits at any time during the day, morning is said to be the ideal time for them to have their greatest effect.
How to Store Fruits?
- Try not to keep fruits in very hot or very cold places, this reduces their shelf life – a moderate, dry, cool temperature is suggested for storage.