Fruits are one of the oldest forms of food known to man. 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 observation have shown that potassium, magnesium and sodium contents of the fruit act as a diuretic and dieresis – frequency of urination is considerably increased when fruits and fruit juice 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 alkalize 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.
Fruits are highly beneficial in maintaining acid-alkaline balance in the body. They neutralize the toxic condition of the body resulting from excessive intake of acid-forming foods and restore its alkalinity. They help clear the system of morbid waste and cater to the body’s requirement of neutral sugar, vitamins and minerals.
Fasting is considered as Nature’s oldest and most effective method of treating diseases. The best and safest way of fasting is juice fasting. The procedure is to take the juice of an orange or any other juicy fruits, such as grapes, grapefruit, mosambi and pineapple, diluted 50:50 with water, every two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nothing else, whatsoever, may be taken, as otherwise the value of the juice fast will be entirely lost. Canned or frozen juices should not be used. The total daily liquid intake should be about six to eight glasses.
Vitamins, minerals, enzymes and trace elements contained in fresh fruits juices are extremely beneficial in normalizing all the body processes. They supply needed elements for the body’s own healing activity and cell regeneration and thereby speed up the recovery. Each day, while fasting it should be ensured that the bowels are cleansed of the toxic matter thrown off by the self cleansing process set up by the body. This can be done by a warm water enema.
Next to the short juice fasting, the all-fruit diet is nature’s finest eliminating medium. The value of fresh juicy fruits in overcoming of all diseased conditions, especially chronic diseases, by the cleansing of tissues, is incalculable. The all- fruit diet is highly beneficial particularly in cases of bronchitis, rheumatism, chronic catarrh and constipation as it fills the body with life-giving mineral salts.
In the case of all- fruit diet, one should take three meals a day of fresh, ripe juicy fruits such as apples, pears, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, peaches, melon or any other juicy fruit in season. Bananas should, however, not be taken, nor should any other foodstuff be added to the fruit diet. For drinks, plain water or unsweetened lemon water may be taken.
Curative Properties of Fruits
Moreover, certain fruits can combat specific ailments. It should however be remembered that in the therapeutic use of any fruit as a treatment for specific disease, nothing except that particular fruit or its juice should be taken in the system at the time of treatment. Thus, when utilizing lemon juice as a food remedy, the juice should be taken at least half an hour before consuming any other food.
It has been found that fruit sugars, calcium, iron, vitamin A, B-complex and C control the gradation of heart energy. Hence, eating fruits like apple, lemon, orange and pomegranate can aid the proper functioning of the heart and keep it healthy even in old age. Fruits like apple, date and mango have a direct action on the central nervous system. The phosphorous, glutamic acid and vitamin A and B complex of these fruits exert a protective and tonic effect on the nerves. Hence, regular use of these fruits in the diet will sharpen memory and prevent nervous exhaustion, mental tension, hysteria and insomnia.
All berries, being extremely rich in iron, phosphorous and sodium, are highly beneficial for blood building and nerve strengthening. The lemon can be a good food remedy in case of liver ailments, indigestion and rheumatism. Watermelons make the best kidney cleansers. The water flushes through the kidneys and the traces of various minerals contained in the water act as healing agents.
The soothing qualities of pineapple and pomegranates are helpful in catarrh, hay fever and other chronic nasal and bronchial ailments. The common cold may be treated with grapefruit juice. This juice helps rout the infection by activating the organs of elimination.
Fresh and fully ripe fruits like grapes, apples, bananas and figs are best suited for all brain deficiencies. They contain a superior quality of easily assimilable sugar which is transformed into physical energy that refreshes the brain. The kernel of walnut is a positive remedy for weakness of the brain.
A generous intake of fruits in the diet will enable a person to lead a healthy life. Fruits prevent all diseases and keep a person smart, energetic and active all through his life up to the ripe old age.
(Culled from FOODS THAT HEAL by H.K. Bakhru)