Fruits and their dietetic value
No other class of foods more delightfully or deliciously contribute to the needs of the body than fruit. Fresh from the lap of nature, lavishly supplied and delightful to the eye, fruits makes most satisfying appeal to the appetite of everyone, from the quite indifferent to the most discriminating epicure. Most easy of digestion, in fact, practically predigested, fruit is most appropriate for all people both in sickness and in health, and at all periods of life, from babyhood to extreme age.
Fruit is made up of water, sugar, acids, some protein and organic salts. Water is by far the largest constituent of fruit, being 75–85%. The water of fruit is of the greatest possible purity, being doubly distilled, first as rain, than as sap, drawn and filtered through the tree.
The sugar of fruit is one of the most easily digested forms. The starch of the unripe fruit is converted into sugar in the ripening process, or in the cooking of partially ripened fruit. Sugar is present in varying amounts in fruits averaging from 5–10% . A well ripened banana contains 21% of sugar , while white grapes contain from 14–20%. The outward appearance of the fruit is often a fairly reliable indication of the amount of sugar. Fruit with yellow skin contain more sugar than the rest, and have a very penetrating odor. Fruits with red skin contain a medium amount of sugar and have a pleasant, delicate perfume. Fruits with reddish brown skin usually contain more sugar and have very little perfume.
As showing its perfectly digested state, demonstrations have proved that fruit sugar may be injected directly into the blood, from which it will be utilized in nourishing the body. This is in market contrast with ordinary cane sugar, which, if injected directly into the blood is expelled through the kidneys, the body being unable to appropriate it as such from the blood.
Fruit sugar may be eaten in practically unlimited quantities. It supplies the body with heat and energy in the most available form. For this reason, fruit when eaten will quickly relieve the sense of exhaustion.
The acids of fruits give to them their delightful and appetizing flavor. Fruits in the unripe state contain tannic acid, a marked astringent. The gastric and peristaltic woes of the small boy the night following the green apple episode are due to the tannic acid , the unripe fruits contains. The three chief acids of fruit are:
1. Citric acid, found in oranges, lemons and grapefruit.
2. Malic acid, found in apples, peaches, pears and similar fruits.
3. Tartaric acid, as found in grapes.
These are organic acids, recognized and readily digested by the body. The acids of fruits are remarkable peptogen, that is, they stimulate the appetite and promote the flow of the digestive juices. Fruit acids are most efficient disinfectants.