Botanically, fruit is considered to be one of the parts of the plant that develops from the flower. The seeds of the plant are embedded in these fruits. The other parts of the plants such as roots, leaves, stem and flower buds are called vegetables. Hence beans, corn kernels, pumpkin, tomatoes, olive peppers, avocado technically fall under the fruit category. Beetroot, carrots, potato, cauliflower, lettuce, celery are termed as vegetables.
In the culinary point of view, vegetables are used in the preparation of the main dish due to their less sweet and more savory taste. Fruits are used in desserts or as a snack for its sweetish taste.
For a common man, the first thing that comes to mind when you say fruits are oranges, grapes, apples, banana, berries and the list is endless. To them fruit means the fleshy, sometimes succulent edible portion of the plant that can be eaten raw mostly. In fact, fruit is a source of food for many animals and birds and to some extent to the mankind.
Fruits fall into different categories – simple, aggregate and multiple.
Simple fruit – This can either be fleshy or dry and is formed when a simple or compound ovary in a flower with one pistil ripens. Eg. – Brazil nut, pea, bean, walnut, wheat, etc.
Aggregate fruit – These are formed from flowers with multiple carpels that are not joined together and each pistil contains a separate carpel. Each pistil then develops into a fruit forming a collection of fruits. Eg. – Berry varieties such as Raspberry, blackberry and Strawberry.
Multiple fruit – These are formed when each flower from a cluster produces a separate fruit which in turn form a single mass when they mature. Eg. – Pineapple, mulberry, breadfruit, etc.
Fruit is a wonder food which is useful in many ways. There are hundreds of fruit varieties and all vary in size, shape, taste and texture. Fruits are mostly eaten raw or as juice but also used as desserts, toppings, and decoration. They are also made into jams, marmalade and even pickles. They are added with other ingredients to gives its touch of fruity flavor.
Fruit is packed with important nutrients that are required for the general upkeep of the body. It is an abundant source for fiber, water, sugars, vitamins and minerals and also rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants. It is low in calories too.
- First and foremost, regular intake of fruits helps in preventing most of the chronic diseases afflicting the body.
- The antioxidants present in fruit reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and prevents stroke and increase in cholesterol.
- Potassium content prevents the development of kidney stones.
- Improves bone health and avoids bone loss that occurs due to ageing. It also plays a part in treating osteoporosis.
- Regulates blood flow and circulation and reduces blood pressure.
- Intake of fruits increases the water level in your system and keeps it well hydrated.
- A bowl of fruits a day ensures free bowel movements and prevents constipation.
- Helps to reduce weight and treats obesity as it is less in calories as well as fat.
- Vitamin C in fruits helps to fight various infections and boosts the immune system and prevents cold and cough.
- It provides the necessary folic acid requirement to women during pregnancy and ensures good growth of the baby inside the womb.
- Cancer fighting compounds such as antioxidants and phytochemicals are found abundantly in fruits and regularly consuming fruits help prevent cancer forming cells in the body.
- The mineral contents in fruits provide the necessary energy and keep the body fit and active.
- Fruit is used as a facial pack in beauty treatment.
- Fruit makes the skin healthy and helps to maintain its radiant glow.
- Dental health is promoted with regular consumption of fruits.
- It improves vision and takes care of the general well being of the eyes.
- Hair fall and dandruff can be reduced with fruit intake.
Fruits of any kind are basically good for maintaining good health. A serving of one cup of fruits a day is highly recommended for both children and adults alike. Doctors too advice on the various benefits fruits can provide and insist on its regular intake. However, certain health conditions do not suit the intake of some fruits that are high in potassium or any other nutrient. Hence, consult your physician before indulging in fruits. Also take care to rinse them well before eating as it can become a gateway to pass on the microorganisms present in it to the body.