Fruits make up a pretty huge part of our diets. In India, there are a variety of fruits available and let's be honest, not only do they taste great, but they also constitute the best vitamins, minerals and nutrients that our bodies need. In fact, consuming fruits is enough to make up for Vitamin C and Vitamin A deficiencies in the body. Plus, people who eat fruits regularly are also said to be able to avert major chronic illnesses.
The WHO also recommends at least five servings of fruits every day. However, what most of you do not know is that one must avoid consuming fruits that are artificially ripened. Under normal circumstances, a fruit ripens on the plant that it is growing from, using certain biochemical and physical processes. The fruits then reach a stage where they change colour, taste and aroma and become sweeter and less acidic. This is when they should be consumed.
Unfortunately, what happens is that the fruits cannot always be transported over long distances if they've ripened beforehand because then they get spoilt by the time they reach their destination. Because of this, farmers have started to pluck off the fruits before they ripen and then the traders ripen the fruits artificially after they reach the destination.
Normally fruits release a compound called ethylene which increases as the fruits start to ripen. Since this compound occurs naturally, it poses no threat to us. When artificially ripened, fruits are usually subjected to chemicals like ethephon (2-chloroethyl phosphonic acid) and calcium carbide. The problems with these compounds are that they can be rather dangerous for health because they contain trace amounts of arsenic and phosphorus, which are toxic chemicals.
The symptoms of consuming such chemicals include vomiting, diarrhoea with/without blood, weakness, burning sensation in the chest and abdomen, thirst, problems in swallowing burning of eyes, permanent eye damage, ulcers on the skin, mouth, nose and throat. You might also end up with a sore throat, cough, sneezes, wheezing and even shortness of breath.
This is why it is important to avoid consuming fruits that have been ripened artificially. If you're wondering how you can distinguish between naturally ripe and artificially ripe fruits, keep in mind that artificially ripened fruits usually have a uniform colour overall (tomato, mango, papaya). Fruits like bananas will be yellow on the inside while the stem will be ripe green. These fruits also have a shorter shelf life and are less tasty in nature. Try to wash and peel fruits before consuming them as this can also lessen the risk of poisoning. Stay tuned for more updates.