Why Eat Fruits?

                                                                  " An apple a day keeps doctor's away..."
F
RUIT has always tended to be looked upon as rather a luxury in this country. Whenever money gets tight the first thing the average Mauritian saves on is fruit. It is an attractive addition to the meal, because of its taste and colour, but seldom regarded as a useful source of nutriment- with the exception of oranges as a source of vitamin C for children or sick people. It needs be mentioned however, that due to the  Cartel on fruits, the
price is very high. In fact, the price which we pay for 6 apples, one can buy a bag (about 20) in South Africa or India and the quality is inferior.**
In an International lecture delivered at Brussels in 1959 and published in the Revue Médicale de Liége (1959, 14, 252), Professor L. Brull demonstrates two fallacies in this concept.

The three main nutritional contents of fruits are sugar, salts and vitamins. So far as sugar is concerned, apples, pears, prunes and cherries contain 10 to 15 per cent., raisins more than 20 per cent., oranges 12 per cent., and bananas about the same proportion as potatoes. The fruits with the highest content of vitamin A are peaches, apricots and prunes, whilst many fruits contain either vitamin B or vitamin C, the latter being in greatest abundance in citrus fruit. What is often forgotten is that fruit is a rich source of salts, especially calcium, iron and iodides. As a practical demonstration of the nutritional value of fruit, Professor Brull draws attention to the fact that, unlike most other occupied countries during the 1939-45 War, there was very little osteoporosis or anaemia in Belgium. This he attributes to the relative abundance of fruit and vegetables the country was able to grow, thereby maintaining an adequate supply of essential minerals such as calcium and iron. Meat and fat were in short supply, with resulting loss of weight and nutritional oedema, but home-grown supplies of vegetables and fruit saved the population from many of the ills to which the inhabitants of other enemy-occupied countries were subject. The lesson learned in the hard way by the Belgians might well be taken to heart by those in this country (Britain) and (Mauritius too!)*** who look upon fruit as luxury and not as an important part of the household diet.

Sources: The Practitioner, No 1092 June 1959 Volume 182.
(*** Ed's note: words in italic and parentheses are ours)

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