Like vegetables, fruits are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and enzymes. They are easily digested and exercise a cleansing effect on the blood and digestive tract. They are highly alkaline and contain a high percentage of water and a low percentage of proteins and fats. Their organic acid and high sugar contents have immediate refreshing effects. Apart from seasonal fresh fruits, dry fruits, such as raisins, prunes and figs are also beneficial.
Fruits are at their best when eaten in the raw and ripe state. Much of their nutritional value in terms of salts and carbohydrates is lost in cooking. They are most beneficial when taken as a separate meal by themselves, preferably for breakfast. If fruits are eaten with regular food, they should form a fairly large part of the meal. Fruits, however, make better combination with milk than with meals.
It is also desirable to take one kind of fruit at a time. For the maintenance of good health, at least one pound of uncooked fruits should form part of the daily diet. In case of sickness, it will be advisable to take fruits in the form of juices. However, juices should be drunk immediately after their extraction as they begin to decompose quickly and turn into harmful substances.
Each food group should roughly form the bulk of one of the three principal meals. Fruits can be taken in the morning for breakfast; seeds, nuts and cereals for lunch and vegetables for dinner. This order can, however, be interchanged to suit one’s requirements.
About 75 to 80 per cent of the diet should consist of foods in their natural uncooked state, because cooking destroys much of the nutritional value of most foods. Sprouting is an excellent way of consuming seeds, beans and grains in their raw form as in the process of sprouting the nutritional value is multiplied. New vitamins are created and the protein quality is improved.
Foods should be eaten only in their natural form, that is whole, unprocessed, unrefined and preferably grown organically, without chemical fertilisers and sprays. Organically grown fruits and vegetables contain more enzymes and have greater health-building and disease-preventing potential.
The three basic health-building foods mentioned above should be supplemented with certain special foods such as milk, vegetable oils and honey. Milk is an excellent food. It is considered as ‘Nature’s most nearly perfect food.’ According to Charak, the great author of the Indian system of medicines, milk increases strength, improves memory, revitalizes the body, maintains strength and promotes long life.
The best way to take milk is in its soured form — that is, yogurt and cottage cheese. Soured milk is superior to sweet milk as it is in a predigested form ana more easily assimilated. Milk helps to prevent intestinal putrefaction and constipation. High quality unrefined vegetable oils should be added to the diet. They are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin C and F and lecithin.
The average daily amount should not exceed two tablespoons. Honey too, is an ideal food. It helps increase calcium retention in the system, prevents anaemia besides being beneficial in kidney and liver disorders, colds, poor circulation and complexion problems. It is one of Nature’s finest energy-giving food. It is easily digested and assimilated.
A diet of the three basic food groups, supplemented with the special foods mentioned above, will ensure a complete and adequate supply of all the vital nutrients needed for health, vitality and prevention of diseases. It is not necessary to include animal protein like egg, fish or meat in this basic diet, as animal protein, especially meat, always has a detrimental effect on the healing processes. A high animal protein is harmful to health and may cause many of our most common ailments.