|See Also||Clinical Nutrition|
A fruit is the fleshy seed portion (pistil) of a flowering plant that is naturally sweet and mostly edible in its raw state. The term fruit is varied and broad and includes citrus fruits, berries, melons, apples and pears and others.
Fruits are classified into three categories based on the structure of the pistil from which they developed:
1. Simple: Fruits that develop from a single pistil. This category is further subdivided into:
- Fleshy: Mostly fleshy fruit at maturity do not split open. There are two types of fleshy fruits: drupe which is 1-2 seeded (e.g.: peach, plum) and berries which are 1 – many seeded (tomato, grape, lemon).
- Dried Indehiscent: fruit is dry at maturity and does not split open. There are three types: ahene (sunflower), grain (corn, wheat) and nut (hazelnut, walnut).
- Dried Dehiscent: fruit is dry at maturity and splits open. There are three types: legume (beans, peas), capsule (poppy) and schizocarp (dill)
2. Aggregate: Fruits that are formed by the fusion of several pistils of one flower (raspberry)
3. Multiple: Fruits formed by the fusion of several pistils of several grouped flowers (pineapple, fig)
- Yellow and orange fruits such as apricots and cantaloupe are good sources of Beta-carotene
- Vitamin C rich fruits include citrus fruits, melons, guavas, strawberries and kiwis.
- Several key minerals needed by the body are also found in fruit including potassium (bananas, pears, oranges), iron (berries, dried fruits) and small amounts of calcium and magnesium (cherries).
The following chart outlines the sugar composition of the most common fruits.
Table of Fruits (grams sugar per 100 grams)
|Fruit||Total Sugars||Glucose||Galactose||Fructose||Sucrose||Lactose||Maltose||Total Metabolic|
|Purple Passion Fruit or Granadilla||11.2||4||3.1||3.3||4.8|
- Significant protection against heart disease, strokes and the development of cataracts and cancer.
- As a result of its natural fructose content, fruit has been shown to help with appetite control and lowered food consumption if eaten thirty minutes before a meal.
- Each fruit has its own specific healing properties based its composition and constituents. Following are some of the nutritive benefits for a selection of well-known fruits:
- Pineapples: As a result of their manganese and bromelain content, pineapples have effective anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, and are useful in the treatment of osteoporosis, bone fractures, indigestion, angina and upper respiratory tract infections.
- Apples: The pectin in the skin of apples is a rich source of bulk fiber. Apples also have anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to help lower blood cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and assist in elimination of toxins in the gut.
- Bananas and Plantains: Because they are very high in potassium and magnesium, bananas and plantains are useful in the treatment of diarrhea, colitis, dyspepsia, muscle cramps and lowering blood cholesterol.
- Cherries: are rich in iron and anthocyanins, and are effective in eliminating excess acid, pain and inflammation in the body. As such, cherries are often beneficial for treating inflammatory conditions such as gout, arthritis and rheumatism.
- Berries: are a rich source of water-soluble fiber, potassium and flavonoids called anthocyandins which give the berries both their colour and medicinal properties.
- Blueberries also contain tannins, flavonols and reservatrol which have been shown to block damage to blood vessels (especially in the brain), fight urinary tract infections and inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development and inflammation.
- Cranberries are a very effective antiviral and antibacterial fruit and are often used to treat urinary tract infections because of their ability to prevent pathogenic bacteria in the bladder, kidney and prostate.
- Strawberries, due to their high pectin, vitamin C and silicon content are useful in the reparation of connective tissue and arteries, and as such are beneficial to the cardiovascular system.
- Prunes: Prunes are known for their laxative effect due to their high soluble fiber content, and are effective in the treatment of constipation.
- Red Grapes: Red grapes are well-known cancer and heart disease fighters and have hepatoprotective properties as a result of the antioxidants quercetin and reservatrol. Grapes are also helpful in reducing edema and the treatment of dysuria.
A consistently low intake of fruit is a contributing factor in chronic micronutrient deficiencies as seen in: nutritional disorders, cardiovascular disease, mental and physical developmental delays and a weakened immune system. Following are some signs and symptoms of fruit deficiency:, 
- Elevated cholesterol levels
- Elevated triglyceride levels
- Increased weight and obesity
- Susceptibility to colds and flues
- Weakened night vision
- Decreased energy
- It is best to consume tree or vine-ripened fruit where possible as it is higher in vitamins and nutrients.
- The majority of popular fruits (apples, oranges, bananas, grapes) are sprayed with pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which increase the toxic burden on the body when consumed. Consequently organic fruit is a safer option.
- According to simple food combining principles, fruit does not mix well with other foods and is best consumed on its own, 60 minutes apart from other meals.
- Candida feeds on all forms of sugar. Therefore the majority of fruits – including dried fruits and fruit juice – should be avoided during acute yeast infections and systemic candidiasis. The fruit that may be okay with treating Candida include apples, pears and berries.
- Most fruits have a low glycemic index because of their fructose and fiber content, and are an acceptable part of diabetic diets as long as the serving size does not exceed 15 grams of carbohydrates (e.g.: 1 ¼ cup of whole strawberries).
- Citrus fruits may aggravate indigestion in some individuals.
- Raw fruits and tomatoes can cause aggravation in patients with Crohn’s disease.
- Preliminary evidence suggests that some Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers have greater trouble absorbing fructose which is found in high concentration in fruit juice and dried fruit.
The recommended intake varies based on age and health status. To determine what your specific requirements are talk to your naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional.
- As fruits contain a moderate amount of natural fruit sugar, the recommended amount is no more than two – three servings, or two eight-ounce glasses of fresh fruit a day.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should aim to eat four to five servings of fruit to meet the extra demands of the body (if no underlying medical issues exists)
- Brintnall Simpson, Ogorzaly Molly. (1986) Economic Botany: Plants in Our World. McGraw-Hill
- Murray Michael T (1993) The Healing Power of Foods Prima Publishing
- Kirschmann and Kirschmann G (1996) Nutrition Almanac Fourth Edition McGraw-Hill.
- Pitchford Paul (2002) Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition Third Edition North Atlantic Books.
- The Paleolithic Diet 
- Murray Michael T (1997) Chronic Candidiasis: Your Natural Guide to Healing with Diet Three Rivers Press
- Bateson-Koch Carolee (1994) Allergies Disease in Disguise Alive Books