The common fruits, because of their low nutritive value, are not, as a rule, estimated at their real worth as food. Fruit has great dietetic value and should be used generously and wisely, both fresh and cooked. Fruits supply a variety of flavors, sugar, acids, and a necessary waste or bulky material for aiding in intestinal movement. They are generally rich in potash and soda salts and other minerals. Most fresh fruits are cooling and refreshing. The vegetable acids have a solvent power on the nutrients and are an aid to digestion when not taken in excess.
Fruit and fruit juices keep the blood in a healthy condition when the supply of fresh meat, fish, and vegetables is limited and salt or smoked meats constitute the chief elements of diet. Fresh fruit is generally more appetizing and refreshing than cooked. For this reason it is often eaten in too large quantities, and frequently when underripe or overripe; but when of good quality and eaten in moderate quantities it promotes healthy intestinal action and rarely hurts anyone.
If eaten immoderately, uncooked fruit is apt to induce intestinal disturbances. If eaten unripe, it often causes stomach and intestinal irritation; overripe, it has a tendency to ferment in the alimentary canal. Cooking changes the character and flavor of fruit, and while the product is not so cooling and refreshing as in the raw state, it can, as a rule, be eaten with less danger of causing stomach or intestinal trouble. If sugar be added to the cooked fruit, the nutritive value will be increased. A large quantity of sugar spoils the flavor of the fruit and is likely to make it less easily digested.
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