2 of the Most Important Elements in Fruits

Have you ever wondered what’s all the fuss about eating fruits, why are fruits so important and which are the most important elements in fruits!?!

When referring to most important elements in fruits we definitely have to consider 2 elements: 1. Water and 2. Glucose.

1. WATER IN FRUITS

Water plays an important part in our lives and is one of the most important elements in fruits. 70% of our planet is covered with water, resembling with the human body that consist of 80% water. So, it seems that we should control our water intake in order to maintain the “volume” of water in our bodies.

Some might say that we could drink 2 bottles of water a day and have the intake covered. If you think that this is the proper solution, think again!

You don’t have to flood your body with water, you only have to consume products that are rich in water. So, the best sources of water for the human body are fruits and vegetables.

Fruits have the highest water content of any other food products. Additionally, they contain all the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, amino acids and fatty acids needed by the human body.

The results of a survey outlined that those who eat fruits at every meal tend to want to eat less food at the next meal, resulting in a very safe and healthy weight loss diet. The main factor influencing our appetite might be the sugar content (glucose) in fruits, which is also among the most important elements in fruits.

Some researchers also found that fruits contain a substance that can reduce the risks of heart attacks and heart diseases. The substances prevent the blood from becoming to thick and plugging up the arteries.

Water helps our bodies to integrate nutritious elements contained by food. A faster integration of nutritional elements means a faster digestion. By digesting food quicker our bodies can use their energy for other purposes that digestion (our bodies save energy). Another factor why water should be considered one of the most important elements in fruits.

For example, grilled meat is digested in approximately 8 hours, while a fruit salad digested in 30 minutes or less.

Additionally, fruits do not even digest in the stomach. Most of them (except dried fruits, dates and bananas) are pre-digested in 20-30 minutes. As they pass through the stomach, they break down and release their nutrients in the intestines.

2. GLUCOSE IN FRUITS

Glucose is also one of the most important elements in fruits. The extraction of energy from fruits is a relatively difficult process. Everything we eat or drink has to be digested in order to obtain energy for our bodies. There are 2 different ways of extracting energy from food:
– BURNING WITH OXYGEN, for sugar and fat (fruits, etc.)
– BURNING WITHOUT OXYGEN, for proteins (meat, dairy, etc.)

This process is one of the most effective ones for the human body. The energy of fruits is concentrated in the form of sugars (glucose). The human body uses oxygen in order to transform glucose into energy. After transforming glucose into energy, the waste products remaining after this reaction are water and carbon-dioxide. Water is used by the human body, while carbon-dioxide is eliminated through the lungs by breathing.

When referring to extracting energy, this process is 3 times more effective as compared to a combustion engine. By transforming glucose in energy, the body extracts about 50% of the contained energy, while a combustion engine uses only 10-20% of the energy (the rest is lost through heat).

As regards the other burning process, without oxygen, the energy is extracted from proteins. Products like meat, milk, dairy, etc. contain energy in the form of proteins and fat. The process of transforming proteins into energy is more difficult and time-consuming. Additionally, the body uses more energy to transform proteins as compared to glucose.

The waste products of this burning process is ammonia which is connected to carbon-dioxide and forms the less toxic ureum which is excreted by kidneys.

Our bodies always burn a mix of glucose and fat. The ratio of the fat and the glucose in the burning process depends of the intensity of the activity carried out by a person.

Low intensity activities tend to burn more fat than glucose, while high intensity or duration activities tend to burn more glucose.

Let’s take for example two of the most common exercises: walking and running.

Walking for 30 minutes will force your body to burn about 110 kcal of fat and about 60 kcal of glucose.
A major difference occurs if we change the intensity of the exercise. So, running for 30 minutes will force your body to consume about 120 kcal of fat (10 kcal more as compared to walking – not a major difference) and about 250 kcal of glucose (4 times more as compared to walking – a major difference).

Additionally, some believe that more muscles means less fat. With a higher muscle to fat ratio you must burn extra energy, some of it resulting from stored fat.

Here are some interesting examples that might help you when deciding on a fruit (in terms of provided energy):

  1. Dates: 300 kcal and 20% water
  2. Olives: 142 kcal and 75% water
  3. Avocados: 126 kcal and 81%
  4. Bananas: 88 kcal and 76%
  5. Pomegranates: 81 kcal and 82% water
  6. Figs: 80 kcal and 80% water
  7. Persimmons: 76 kcal and 81% water
  8. Lychees: 76 kcal and 82% water
  9. Guavas: 72 kcal and 81% water
  10. Kumquats: 68 kcal and 82% water

Here is a brief description of main 3 fruits in terms of provided energy:

1. DATES

The Date Palm is native to the desert oases of northern Africa. The Date Palm tree has a very old history, evidence of its cultivation suggesting it could be found in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and Arabia. Today, the palm is often cultivated for its fruit.

Dates are believed to have many traditional medicinal uses. They can be used as a detersive (due to its high content of tiannin) and as an astringent. Also, dates can help against sore throat, fever, colds and other problems. Also, some believe that dates can help against alcohol intoxication.

Dates can be eaten in four stages from unripe to sun-dried. It is very helpful to eat dates unripe because they provide a large amount of vitamin C. Dates contain a small quantity of water, so by drying them you won’t concentrate them very much, although the fruit will lose vitamin C.

Nevertheless, 100g of dried dates provides you with about 300 Kcal and almost none of them come from fat.

2. OLIVES

The olive fruit is very popular among countries near Mediterranean Sea. References of olive are made in old literature like Iliad and Odyssey, were olive oil is viewed as a luxury, accessible only to the wealthy. Today, olives still play an important part in the economy and culture of these countries.

Olives have many uses in cuisine: in cocktails (as an adjunct to martini), bread, sausages, etc. Olives are rich in vitamin E, minerals, monounsaturated fats, and anti-oxidants. 100 grams of canned olives contain about 142 kcal, approximately 100 of them coming from fat.

3. AVOCADO

The avocado tree originates from Mexico and Central America. The word “avocado” comes from the Spanish “aguacate”, which comes from the Aztec “ahuacatl”, meaning “testicle”. The fruit was named this way because of its shape.

The avocado leaves contain a toxic fatty acid derivate named persin. This causes some animals to be harmed or killed if they eat them. The fruit is also poisonous to birds; however, there are no negative effects on humans, besides those who are allergic to it.

Avocado provides nearly 20 vitamins including vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, fiber, iron, potassium, lutein and beta-carotene. 100 grams of avocado can provide about 126 calories, of which 110 kcal are from fat.

Knowing which are the most important elements in fruits and how they impact your general health might be the extra motivation you need to include more fruit in your diet.

Photo Credits:
Fabulous Blue Kiwi Drink and Flower via photopin (license)

32 thoughts on “2 of the Most Important Elements in Fruits

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