Fruits are universally the favorite food of summer. And justly so, because they have many advantages, not only as hot weather foods, but as adjuncts all year round.
Their hot weather value is due to their high water content and low protein and fat. The low protein and fat makes them, as the phrase is, “non-heating.”
This emphasizes the importance of the inclusion in the human diet of a suitable amount of leafy vegetables, greens or pot-herbs. These, together with milk, supply sufficient mineral content and other factors, and are so distinctive as supplemental foods that they were called by Dr. McCollum “protective foods.”
Further research showed the following items were rich in protective values: Eggs, fresh fruit, grapefruit, milk, salad, fresh vegetables.
In order to prevent the development of degenerative diseases, it was recommended by several physicians that the following corrective diet be advised. The table shows the percentage of calories in protective foods and in non-protective foods:
Their advantage as part of any diet is due to their high vitamin and mineral content. The vitamin content of fruits has been emphasized so much that it is unnecessary to expatiate upon it. They are almost the only source of Vitamin C in our diet, and many of them contain also Vitamins A, B and G. Grapefruit, lemons, oranges, pineapples, and tomatoes contain three-plus Vitamin C, as well as two-plus G-B and traces of A. Apples, bananas, cantaloupes, cherries, peaches and watermelons also contain good quantities of these vitamins. Cantaloupes, cherries and peaches, however, contain no Vitamin G, and watermelons contain no Vitamin B.
The significance of fruits as sources of minerals has not been so widely appreciated. They are the best sources of calcium in the diet, and almost the best source of iron, copper and manganese, which latter are necessary for proper blood building. The fruits containing the most iron, all of which contain good amounts of copper and manganese also, are apricots, bananas, blackberries, dates, figs, grapes, pineapple, plums, prunes and raisins. Remember that iron alone will probably not increase the richness of the bloodcopper and manganese are required also.
The fruits containing the largest amounts of calcium are figs and fresh olives but large amounts are also found in dates, limes, canned olives, oranges, pineapples, plums, prunes, raspberries and strawberries. Phosphorus is found in greatest abundance in figs, prunes and raisins, but good amounts are also found in dates, limes, goose-berries, grapes, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, strawberries and tomatoes.