Supposing the world were created without fruits, could you imagine what the case would have been today? I mean if there were no pears, avocadoes, bananas, mangoes, apples, pineapples, oranges, blueberries, and what have you. In fact, the simple answer is there would not be any pineapple, orange, mango, or apple flavours; likewise, there would not be any strawberry shortcake, cherry pie, or raspberry sherbet either. Besides, you, others, and I would not be very healthy. Do you not know that the bulk of vitamins and minerals our body really needs are obtained from fruits – when we consume them?
We often think of fruit as food, but the real idea behind its consumption goes beyond mere edible reason. Fruit has a purpose quite different from our basic needs of feeding. Fruit is part of a flowering plant. It is the fruit that that bears the seeds of a plant. The purpose of fruit is to protect a plant’s seeds, and help them to disperse. Wind and water spread seeds; so do animals – when they eat fruit and drop the seeds. The seeds grow into new plants.
There are two types of fruits: fleshy and dry. Succulent (Fleshy) fruits are soft and juicy (e.g. apple, mango, cashew, citrus, etc) – this is the thinking of almost everybody when it comes to classifying fruits. Nevertheless, other types of fruits called Drupes or Dry fruits – which have thin and hard pericarp (fused pericarp and mesocarp), exist also. Examples of this category include coconut, grains such as wheat and rice, or nuts like chestnuts or almonds.
Perhaps, you may have consumed fruits like oranges and grapes without seeds. One may hurriedly ask, how comes? It is just due to anthropogenic activities – human interference or influence. Here, genetic engineers try to alter or manipulate specific genes that control the production of seeds in the main plant or fruit by way of deactivating those genes responsible for seed production, or by hybridisation of seed-producing plant with seedless plant of close species. Consequently, the outcome (hybrid) will become a seed-bearing plant, but plants raised from this hybrid are sterile (seedless). It is pertinent to note that a hybrid is made by combining two varieties of a fruit to form a new variety. This hybrid grows and produces seeds. However, the plants grown from these seeds are seedless. These plants cannot reproduce themselves. They can make fruit, but the fruit has no seeds.
Is tomato is a vegetable? The simple answer is no; it is actually a fruit. Other foods we misconstrue for vegetables such as peppers, eggplant, pumpkin, et al., are also fruit. They are fruits because they carry seeds and develop from flowers.
Scientists classify the tomato as a berry. In addition, they do not consider some fruits we call berries to be true berries. The raspberry is what is called an aggregate fruit. That means it is made of lots of tiny fruits that grow in a tight bundle. The red part of a strawberry holds the actual fruit – the tiny dark seeds on the outside of the strawberry. The red part is just the tip of the strawberry stem that is enlarged. As drolly as this may sound, it is just the plain truth.
Fruits a r e a source o f nourishing substances that keep us healthy. Examples of fruits include grapes, mango, banana, guava, apple, orange, coconut, cashew, pineapple, avocado, oats, watermelon, almond, pawpaw, peppermint fruits, et al.
Chemical Contents of Fruits
Fruits are built up of many vitamins, essential proteins, and minerals such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6/B-Complex, Vitamin B7 (Biotin) Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Anthocyannins, Capsaicing, Reservatrol, Silica, Collagen, Di-limonene, Polyphenols, Pectin, Malic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Carbohydrates, Manganese, Potassium, Zinc, Carotene, Melatonin, Flavonoid Polyphenolic Antioxidants (e.g. Leutin Xanthis, Beta Carotene), Foliate, Lycopene, Papain, Tannins, Ezigenol, Tyramine, Alkaloids, Steroikel Lactones, Pectin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Thiaminofolate, Arsenic, Anthocyannin Glycoside, Polyphenolic flavonoid, Ezigenol, etc. They also provide fibre for a healthy digestive system and carbohydrates need by our body to synthesise energy. They do not possess many calories that may make us fat, thus leading to several coronary diseases. Some seed-bearing fruits carry unsaturated fatty acids that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help in strengthening the sight (due to their possession of retinol – Vitamin A, and also in boosting the immune system, which in turn combats infections and diseases, and they help improve mental ability.
Some Uses of Fruits
Fruits may be used for many things and reasons. For example, we make juices from them; we bake bread and make pie with them; we make jams, jellies, and sweets with them, and we freeze them to eat later.
Some Fruits and their Nutritional cum Medicinal Importance
Almond: Is rich in fibre, which helps in keeping the stomach full, thus, preventing the accumulation of fats in the body by over feeding; it prevent stomach upset.
Water Melon: This fruit is rich in Vitamin B2; it contains 90% water – this helps keep the body cool normal and fully hydrated for a long time; it eliminates excess sodium in the body; it is rich in Vitamin C; its pericarp and mesocarp, when consumed alongside the seeds, improve sexual vitality, and it treats impotency.
Apple: This is rich in fibre, which makes our belly full thereby preventing us from over feeding. Being rich in arsenic, Iron and Phosphorus, it therefore treats anaemia, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery, stomach disorders, headache, heart diseases, dry cough, kidney store, eye disorders, and enhances vigour and vitality.
Peppermint Fruit: Has stunning healing cum digestive effects, and it eliminates belly fats.
Oats: Are lower in calories, thus, they lower cholesterol levels; they help those who want to lose weight.
Citrus (e.g. lemons, limes, oranges, grape fruit eve): Scientific findings reveal that consumption of citrus for at least on weekly basis may curtail the risk of skin cancer by approximately 30%. This is because members of the citrus family contain a powerful antioxidant known as Di-limonene. This antioxidant battles skin cancer and drastically minimizes the risk of its attacks. Reservatrol found i n grapes a c t s in the same way as analgesics like Paracetamol and Aspirin (pain killers). It also helps prevent blood clotting. Orange, being part of the citrus family contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, C; it contains Calcium, and Fibre. Orange is a powerful anti-carcinogen food, which prevents cancer; it boosts the immune system; it helps in treating constipation; it facilitates sound sleep, especially if taken before going to bed; it cures pimples and other skin maladies; it contains an antioxidant that boosts the immune system in children, and it helps in fighting against free radicals in the body.
Pumpkin Seed: Is rich in vitamin E, which in turn, is another p o w e r f u l antioxidant. Without vitamin E, our skin will be vulnerable to damage by free radicals (oxidants). Sufficient availability of vitamin E in cell membranes exposed to free radicals helps in attacking and protecting the fatty acids surrounding all the intricate working inside each cell.
Olive Fruit/Oil: Contains Mono-unsaturated Fats, which cause low rates of cardiac (heart) related diseases and cancer. Recent research shows that olive oil possesses powerful antioxidant called Polyphenol, which helps in preventing age-related illnesses.
Avocado: Contains 73% water, 25% fat, mineral, carbohydrate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamins A, B, C, and E. It decelerates aging; it treats skin infections; it enhances secretion of gastric juice, which is essential for digestion; it corrects bad odour due to bacterial activities in the GIT/mount; it treats stretch-marks; it treats abnormalities of the skin caused by cream reaction on skin; it treats eczema and other skin abnormalities, it treats internal heat.
Banana: Contains 70.1% Water, 1.2% Protein, 0.3% Mineral, 0.4% Fibre, 27.2% Carbohydrates, 23% Potassium, 30% Manganese, 9% Iron, 1% Calcium, 15% Magnesium, Phosphorus, 2% Copper, 3% Selenium. Banana helps in treating anemia; it controls stress correct infesting disorders; it treats diarrhea and constipation, help during as pregnancy and lactation periods; it treats arthritis and gout.
Coconut: Contains 36.3% Water, 14% Calories, 11% Iron, 9% Phosphorus, total Fat 41%, 8% Potassium, 119% Unsaturated fat, 6% Zinc, 5% Protein, 17% Copper, 10%, Vitamin C, 60% Manganese, 5% Thiamin. It is antibacterial in nature; its oil treats chronic skin infections;, it controls cholera; its oil treats hair loss; it enhances the immune system; it treats and prevents malaria; its water neutralizes poison consumed in food; it effectively treats tuberculosis. Coconut water treats measles.
Guava: Contains Protein, Fibre, Fats, Calcium, Carbohydrate, Iron, Vitamins A, B and C, Foliate, Phosphorus, Zinc, etc. Therefore, it prevents and cures hypertension; it cleanses blood; it cuts down bad cholesterol, it treats running stomach.
Pineapple: Is rich in both nutritional and medicinal values. For instance, it treats stomach (gastric) ulcer; it enhances food digestion and prevents intestinal damage; it helps reduce and control weight gain; it regulates blood pressure and protects the body cells against free radicals that damage cells, and it promotes normal functioning of the kidney.
Pawpaw: It contains vitamin A, Beta Carotene and Papain (an important digestive enzyme, which breaks down inactive proteins); it is also a powerful antioxidant which attacks free radicals that cause damage to skin by accelerating cell regeneration; it treats malaria expels worms treats liver diseases corrects stomach and intestinal disorders; the paste of its seeds treats ringworm, and it aids digestion.
Plantain: It contains Tannins, Ezyigenol, Tyramine Pectin, Alkaloids, Steriokel Lactones, and Iron. Unripe plantain has antibiotic properties; unripe plantain corrects health problems like erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, ulcer, kidney diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure. Plantain treats indigestion; it rejuvenates sexual organ; it treats obesity; it treats frigidity, sterility and low sexual pleasure – that is premature penile ejaculation; it treat and heals fresh wounds; it helps blood clothing; it treats nervous ailments such as epilepsy; it treats dysentery, skin infections, hysteria, ulcer, and promotes sound sleep.
Based on the aforementioned, it is now up to you to change your feeding habits and start consuming fruits as much as possible due to the manifold nutritive and health benefits that abound in them. Please, keep a date with Tardigrade Magazine (TM) as next month’s edition promises more peppy and scintillating information on natural foods and recipes, including vegetables that will keep you vivacious and healthy.