The term fruit
implies here to mean the edible envelope containing the seeds of a plant
or tree. The common fruits are banana, orange, sweet lime, guava,
grapes, papaya, chikoo, apple, pineapple, pomegranate and various types
of berries. In the tropics fruits are a delicacy and are relatively
Raw fruit contains
varying proportions of starch which, in the process of ripening, is
converted into fructose and glucose. These impart a sweet taste and are
readily absorbed. Fresh fruits also contain vitamin C. The flavor of
fruits is due to the presence of various organic acids, such as citric,
malic and tartaric acids. Fruits may contain up to 90% water and so can
also be eaten to quench thirst.
Fructose intolerance is a
rare condition in which there may be severe hypoglycemia on eating
fruits. Frits should be avoided by people predisposed to types 3, 4, or
5 hyperlipoproteinemia, because fructose stimulates more lipid synthesis
Banana is perhaps the
cheapest and the most extensively eaten fruit in the tropics. There are
many varieties, each with a distinctive flavor; the word plantain is
generally used for the coarser types. An average green banana weighs
about 150 g, of which two-thirds is edible, the rest being inedible
skin. It supplies more calories than other fresh fruits, with an average
sized banana providing 100 kcal.
Raw banana is usually
eaten ripe, though it can be cooked. The digestion and absorption of
banana depend on the starch content. The latter depends on the ripening:
it is 37% in the least ripe, and 3% in the most ripe. Ripe banana
contains carbohydrates in the form of sucrose, fructose and glucose
which are readily digested.
5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin); a high banana diet results in a rise in
its urinary excretory product, 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid (5-HIAA)
In some constipated
people, bananas act as a mild laxative. They can be given as a source of
calories in a non-residue diet; for example, in diarrhea and in
ulcerative colitis. A high banana diet probably increases the butyric
acid concentration in the colon, and this may control diarrhea by
inhibiting the growth of B. coli. Steamed banana leaves are effectively
used for dressing burn wounds.
Mango is a
tropical fruit available during the hot season. The flavour of mango
varies with the quality, the Alphonso variety being widely considered
the best. Raw mango is widely used for preparing pickles and in cooking,
as the gallic acid in itimparts a sour taste to the food.
is commonly eaten in large amounts and provides a good source of
calories during season. Depending on its size, a mango supplies 50-100
kcal, mainly derived from fructose. An average mango supplies 25 mg
vitamin C and over 10000 units (142 micromols) carotene. The total
carotenoid content in mango increases with the stage of ripening, and is
12.5 g per 100 g ripe fresh pulp. About 60% of the carotenoids is
betacarotene; this is much higher than in other fruits. Eating too many
mangoesmay impart a yellow tinge to the skin due to carotenemia.
Mango is an
excellent source of vitamins A and C and of calories. The diet of an
average indian is low in vitamin A, and eating mangoes in season may
provide a store of vitamin A in the liver, sufficient to last for the
rest of the year.
fruits contain citric acid. This is metabolized into carbonate, and if
sufficient quantities are taken, the urine becomes alkaline. The common
citrus fruits are orange, tangarine, sweet lime, grapes, lour lime, and
grape fruit. Tangerine (extensively grown in tropical countries) is a
variety of orange with a loose skin which can be easily peeled.
fruits may precipitate an attack of allergic rhinitis in those
susceptible to it. An anaphylactoid reaction to orange has been
described. Intestinasl obstruction due to the ingestion of orange pith,
after partial gastrectomy, has also been described.
The juice of
citrus fruits is a very refreshing drink during fevers, and for patients
with severe liver damage. It also supplies vitamin C. The high potassium
content makes it unsuitable for patients with oliguric renal failure.
Papaya is a
tropical fruit. The unripe fruit is rich source of papain, which is a
"vegetable pepsin" capable of digesting protein in acid,
alkaline or neutral medium. Because of this property, raw papaya is used
during cooking to soften tough meat or dal. Patients with celiac disease
who cannot digest the wheat protein gliadin, can tolerateit if it is
treated with crude (not crystalline) papain.
is rich in carotene, and excessive consumption produces carotenemia.
be prescribed for dyspeptic patients, as the pepsin may help in the
digestion of proteins. Papaya seeds have an antithelminthic action. A
protein digestive enzyme chymopapain, derived from papaya, is used for
injection into herniated intervertebral lumbar discs to relieve pain
caused by the pressure on nerves.
rich in pectin, a constituent of the cell wall. Pectin is a
hemicellulose capable of absorbing water, and forms a gel on heating
with sugars, as when making jams. Depending on the quality , fresh apple
may contain 2% - 5% pectin. Apple also contains an appreciable amount of
is rich in tannin, which acts as an astringent in the intestine and
precipitates food proteins.
pomegranate are usually advised in diarrhea, but there is no evidence
to prove their efficacy in this condition.
Alar is a
chemical that can control the ripening of apples: it is thus used to grow
larger and more uniform sized apples. Alar was previously banned because
it produced cancer in mice; the dose required for this was, however,
35000 times the amount consumed by children.
This is a
relatively cheap fruit relished particularly by children and a rich
source of vitamin C (212 mg per 100 g). As this is grown extensively
guava provides the cheapest source of vitamin C. Unripe guavas may lead
to intestinal colic because of the acids they contain, The ripe fruit,
on the other hand, may be helpful in constipation
Amla is the subject of many
interest for tropical nutritionists because of its high content of
vitamin C (600 mg per 100 g). However, it has an extremely sour taste.
fruit is eaten for its medicinal value. It contains pectin, mucilagenous
principle, and tannin, all of which are useful for the treatment of
diarrhea and dysentery.
Grapes are a
seasonal fruit. The carbohydrate, and therefore the calorie content vary
according to the variet. The carbohydrate present in grape sugar
(glucose) is readily absorbed through the stomach and intestine without
further digestion. Grapes contain only 3 mg vitamin C per 100 g, and so
are a poorer source of vitamin than citrus fruits.
contain glucose, grapes from delicious, nutritious food and drink for
patients with fever and for invalids. Intestinal distension may occur if
grapes are consumed in large quantities.
RELATED DRUGS AND AILMENTS
prepared from the pits of apricot, bitter almond, peach, cherry, plus,
etc, was claimed to be effective against cancer. A trial conducted by
National Cancer Institute showed no such benefit. The purified extract
of amygdalin contains cyanide and can cause cyanide poisoning.
unripe akee fruit, which is prevalent in Jamaica, results in fatal
hypoglydcemia, This fruit contains hypoglycin, which decreases sugar
synthesis (neoglucogenesis) in the liver and inhibits long chain fatty
acid transport into the mitochondria.