From the very primitive time in human history fruit has been regarded as one of the most favorite foods because they are tasty, easy to digest, a good source of quick energy and packed with vitamins and minerals. Because of its popularity civilized people have learned to cultivate fruit-bearing bushes and trees and developed many methods to dry many fruits so that they can enjoy them during off season.
Most of the fruits are rich in antioxidants. Research shows that people who eat ample amount of fruits on regular basis suffer less from cancer, heart attacks and strokes compared to others who eat less fruits. Studies show that men and women who take at least six servings of fruits and vegetables everyday have lower rate of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke. High amount of anti-oxidants, vitamin C and A in the form of beta carotene protects against various diseases. Antioxidants work by preventing the cell damage caused by free radicals and unstable molecules when the body uses oxygen. Fruits are also high in polyphenols and phytochemicals. All these properties can actually prevent tumor growth.
Citrus fruits are rich source of vitamin C. Dietitians suggest that at least one daily serving of grapefruit, orange, lemon, tangerine, etc is necessary for healthy living. Other vitamin C rich fruits are melons, kiwifruits, strawberries, raspberries, mangoes and papaya.
Brightly colored fruits are rich in beta carotene. Fruits like apricots, cantaloupes or mangoes get their deep yellow or orange tinge from the yellow orange pigment of beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A. Other carotene pigments – lycopene in red fruits and bioflabnoids such as quercetin in grapes protects people from heart disease.
Many fruits are high in potassium, an electrolyte that is essential to maintain a proper balance of body fluids. It also helps to maintain a proper balance of blood pressure. To maintain the proper balance of potassium eat fruits like bananas, melons, apricots, and dried fruits.
Most of the fruits are low in calorie and high in fiber. For this reason people who are willing to loose weight can eat enough fruit to fill their stomach without the fear of gaining weight. Fiber breaks down slowly and that keeps hunger at bay. Apples, pears and many other fruits contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps to regulate blood cholesterol levels.