Fruits are, generally, the seed-bearing parts of plants and they are the fleshy structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state, such as apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, juniper berries, bananas, and the fruit-like structures in other plants such as lemons and olives. Seed-bearing parts of plants that are not called fruits are called by other names such as vegetables, pods, nuts, ears and cones.
Fleshy fruits like apple, peach, pear, kiwifruit, watermelon and mango are nutritionally highly valuable as human food, eaten both fresh and in raw state, and as jams, marmalade and other preserved forms. Some fruits are used to make beverages such as fruit juices or alcoholic beverages such as wine or brandy. Fruits are also used for gift-giving.
Fruit Basket, oil on wood painting (1632) by Balthasar van der Ast (1593-1656). Fruit Basket and Fruit Bouquet are some common forms of fruit gifts.
Some vegetables are in fact botanically fruits, for instance, tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, okra, squash, pumpkin, green bean, cucumber and zucchini. Olive fruit is crushed or pressed for extracting olive oil. Spices like vanilla, paprika, allspice and black pepper are derived from berries, which are also fruits.
From the point of view of nutrition, fruits are generally high in fiber, water, vitamins, complex sugars and some rare nutritional elements. Regular consumption of fruits is advised by nutrition-specialists for reducing risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases (heart), strokes, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts and functional disorders associated with aging.
Diets that include sufficient amounts of potassium from fruits and vegetables help reduce the chance of developing kidney stones and may help reduce the bone disorders. Fruits are low in calories, and hence help fight obesity and help lower one’s calorie intake as part of a weight-loss diet.