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 majority of people.
Why is it important to eat fruit?
Eating fruit provides health benefits — people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
- Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. None have cholesterol.
- Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that are under consumed, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).
- Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Fruit sources of potassium include bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice.
- Dietary fiber from fruits, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as fruits help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Whole or cut-up fruits are sources of dietary fiber; fruit juices contain little or no fiber.
- Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
- Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
- Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
- Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers.
- Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
- Eating vegetables and fruits rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
- Eating foods such as fruits that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.
While the health-related benefits of a diet rich in fruits is known to most, the scientific literature in the last nine to ten years has increasingly pointed out the influence of these food groups on a variety of diseases.
The following is a list of resources that fruits and vegetables provide to the body:
- Vitamins and minerals (including antioxidants, such as vitamin A, C, E and selium). Vitamins and minerals are found in all foods, but fruits and vegetables are a particularly good source for some vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals play a vital role in most metabolic processes. Complex interactions make it essential that the status of all vitamins and minerals be kept at optimal levels.
- Phytonutrients are considered anti-inflammatory and offer many health benefits outlined below.
- Fiber, which assists digestion, slows carbohydrate absorption, and promotes satiety. (See the whole grains section for more information on the benefits of fiber.)