The Grand Strategy of the Fruiting Plants and Us
Most people enjoy many fruits that are considered edible either raw or cooked. According to some reports, about 25% of mammalian herbivores eat fruits and most mammalian omnivores include fruits as a primary item in their diets. Animals that eat entirely or predominantly fruits or fruit-like vegetables which are called frugivores. Bats, orangutans, gorillas, and humans are among the members of the most common frugivorous mammals that are regularly mentioned as fruit lovers.
Evolutionary scientists believe that frugivory evolved through mutualism or relationship that is beneficial to both organisms involved, to facilitate seed dispersal in plants. They have studied flowering plants diversity through fossils record since the Cretaceous period about 146 to 66 million years ago. Basically, in a natural way, the plants which produce fruits will attract mammals including humans to eat more and more the fruits in order to help their seeds dispersal and make sure that their new generation will survive everywhere, any time according to their grand strategy.
Most of the edible fruits have very attractive shape, color, smell, taste, texture (crunchy and juicy), and very high sugar, so they are nutritious and have a lot of vitamin content. Moreover, some plants which bear yummy fruits also develop tough and poisonous seeds like in wild apples to make sure that their seeds will be successful, not destroyed by frugivores. So, the seeds will thrive well as far as possible.
In nature, like plants, the frugivore animals have also undergone some adaptations over time to be successful, for example facilitating seed dispersal in their fruit-eating activity. In some birds, their digestive system is adapted such that they can consume large numbers of fruits without any negative side effects. For instance, some birds have a shorter intestine, which allows them to pass the seeds out from the fruits they eat and keep moving, be hyperactive to burn fast the high caloric of the nutritious fruits.
Some fruiting plants have also evolved mechanisms to decrease consumption of fruits when unripe by physical deterrents (e.g. green fruits are unpalatable) and chemical deterrents (e.g. toxins, starch that is slowly converted to fructose as the fruit ripens). In general, stir fried green tomatoes contain more minerals, yellow tomatoes contain more vitamins, while red ripe tomatoes contain more sugar and lycopene. Eating colorful tomatoes is the best with the full benefits for our body and mind.
In humans, coevolution or the influence of closely associated species on each other (frugivores – fruit plants) can be a warning for fruit believers or fruit lovers. Eating too much nutritious high vitamins fruits can be superfluous. The excess of nutrients and vitamins cannot be saved in our body, it will be a waste, and the excess of the sugar can trigger obesity or even diabetes.
There is a story in the scriptures about the forbidden fruit growing in the garden of Eden which God commands mankind not to eat otherwise they will die. Forbidden fruit is a metaphor that describes any object of desire whose appeal results from the knowledge that it should not be obtained. Remember the hungers, the poor, and the unlucky ones to control our appetite on attractive fruits. Share the excess of edible fruits with others, so we can help all generations to be stronger and live longer.
Be aware and be prepared not to fall in the trap of the grand strategy of the plants that bear amazing fruit, especially in this new millennium with the very tight fruits business competition. It seems that the dependence of addition of chemicals, hormones, pesticides, and production of genetically modified fruit in order to supply the fruits market are unavoidable.
Furthermore, global warming creates more pests, so many treatments are hiding behind the attractive fruits on the farms and before reaching the supermarkets. Never eat too much fruit and try to eat reasonably seasonal fruits. If there are contaminants on the fruit, it will not accumulate in our body.
Are you ready to challenge the grand strategy of the fruiting plants and to face the temptation of the attractive fruit by sharing the excess seasonal fruits production with neighbors and friends?
Photo is courtesy of Getty Images by Carsten Schanter
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