Halacha health: Health directives relating to fruit consumption as found in Halachic literature

Halacha health: Health directives relating to fruit consumption as found in Halachic literature

*To note that the information below is a mere overview from Halachic literature, and does not reflect the current medical beliefs surrounding the healthiness of fruit in a diet, which may be different today than it was in previous times, and as the Sages already stated regarding other such related matters, Nishtaneh Hativim, that the natures of man may have changed.[1]


A. Are fruits healthy?[2] [Rambam/Achronim]

Limit your consumption: A person should always push himself away from eating fruits and is not to consume too much fruit, especially fresh fruits and even dry fruits.

Unripe fruits: Unripe fruits are very unhealthy for the body and are like entering swords into it.

Sour fruits: Sour fruits are not good for the body, and one should only eat a small amount of them in the summer, and in hot climates.

Good fruits: Figs, grapes, and pomegranates are very good for the body whether they are dry or fresh, and a person may eat from them as much as he wishes. Nonetheless, one should not eat them too often even though they are the best of all the fruits of the trees.

Carob: Carobs are very unhealthy for the body.

Fruits with smell and taste:[3] All fruits that have good scent and taste, such as apples and lemons and Esrogim, should be avoided from being eaten frequently as they can lead to Keri. One should especially avoid eating it at night.

Dates:[4] Dates are slightly unhealthy, and hence should not be eaten too often.

Figs:[5] Figs are good for the eyes, and add wisdom, and whoever eats them often will have smooth skin without wrinkles.[6] However, some have dangerous worms in them which are lethal for the person, and likewise even non-lethal worms are forbidden to be eaten, and hence one should distance himself from eating figs.[7]

Raisins:[8] Raisins are very healthy to remove worry from one’s heart. They should particularly be eaten before a meal.

Melons:[9] Some sources record that melons causes memory loss of Torah learning.[10] However, some Poskim[11] rule that there is no need to worry about this.

B. Almonds: [Achronim]

Some Poskim[12] rule that one should avoid eating almonds regularly, as doing so can cause memory loss of Torah learning, as the minister of forgetfulness resides on the person.

The almond branch:[13] There are damaging spiritual forces which reside on the almond tree branches.

Kelipa: According to the Zohar[14], the almond is associated with the evil forces of Kelipa.


C. Persimmon [i.e. Afarsamon]:[15] [Sefer Chassidim]

It is a danger of death for a person to eat the persimmon fruit. There was once a person who ate it and immediately died from it causing a puncture in his intestines. It likewise causes a person’s body to not decompose after death, which is of great suffering to the soul.

D. When to eat fruits during a meal:[16] [Rambam/Achronim]

When planning to eat a number of different foods, one is to precede the eating of the food that is most loose on the stomach. Likewise, one is to precede an easier digestible food to a food which is more difficult to digest. Thus, for example, one is to proceed eating poultry to the eating of animal meat, and is to precede the eating of light animal meat to that of course animal meat, and is to precede the eating of eggs to poultry.[17]

Beginning the meal with foods, such as certain fruits, that help with digestion:[18] One is to begin the meal with foods that help with quick and easy digestion, such as grapes, figs, strawberries, pears, melons, and different vegetables, such as cucumber and zucchini. One is to then wait some time for these foods to digest, and only afterwards begin the meal.

Ending the meal with certain fruits to help close the digestive track:[19] Foods that close the abdomen, such as pomegranates and apples should be eaten immediately after the meal and in a small amount.[20]


[1] See Magen Avraham Orach Chaim 173:1 writes regarding meat and fish that “it is possible that today there is no longer much danger involved in the above as we see that are a number of matters mentioned in the Talmud which were forbidden due to danger of the “evil spirit” and other matters and today they cause no damage.” The reason for this change is because the natures of people have changed as well as that different lands have different natured people; M”A 179:8 and 202:4; M”A ibid in name of Bach; M”B 173:3 and 179:18 in name of M”A ibid; Rama E.H. 156:4 regarding Leida Bemuktzain that Nishtaneh Hativim; Tosafos Moed Katan 11a; Avoda Zara 24b; Chulin 47a; Chavos Yair 234; Kesef Mishneh 4 Deios 18; Bris Olam on Sefer Chassidim 477; Metzudos David 32; Shearim Hametzuyanim 32; Mishneh Halachos 3:61; See Bechur Shur Shabbos 82a; Beis Shlomo Y.D. 1:189; Shem Aryeh Y.D. 27; See Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] Mavo 6; Chapter 25 footnote 1.

[2] Rambam Deios 4:11; Kitzur SHU”A 32:16

[3] Yifei Laleiv 157:12; Kaf Hachaim 157:42

[4] Kitzur SHU”A 32:15

[5] See Kaf Hachaim 157:41

[6] Yifei Laleiv 157:12; Eyeles Ahuvim of Rav Shlomo Alkabetz; Kemach Soles p. 36

[7] Midrash Talpiyos p. 124; Kaf Hachaim Falagi 24:34

[8] Shevet Hammusar; Yifei Lalevi 157:4; Kaf Hachaim 157:40

[9] Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 11

[10] Pesikta Zutrasa Parshas Behalosecha on Pasuk 11:5 “We remember the squash and…”, brought in Lekach Tov and Yalkut Reuveini; See there Pirush Rashi and Even Ezra

[11] Alei Terufa [Malbim] in Eretz Chemda Deios 11; See Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 11 footnote 2

[12] Kaf Hachaim [Falagi] 24:43 in name of Karban Mincha; Nefesh Chaim Mareches Alef 19 in name of Yalkut; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 9

[13] Sefer Chassidim 1153

[14] Bereishis 19b; 44b, brought in Makor Chesed on Sefer Chassidim ibid

[15] Sefer Chassidim 725; Segulas Yisrael Mareches Samech 26; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 10; See also from Wikipedia “Toxicity: Unripe persimmons contain the soluble tannin shibuol, which, upon contact with a weak acid, polymerizes in the stomach and forms a gluey coagulum, a “foodball” or phytobezoar, that can affix with other stomach matter. These phytobezoars are often very hard and almost woody in consistency. More than 85% of phytobezoars are caused by ingestion of unripened persimmons. Persimmon bezoars (diospyrobezoars) often occur in epidemics in regions where the fruit is grown.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persimmon]

[16] Kitzur SHU”A 32:12; Yifei Lalevi 157:2; Kaf Hachaim 157:38; See Rambam Deios 4:6-7

[17] Rambam Deios 4:7; Kitzur SHU”A 32:12

[18] Rambam Deios 4:6; Kaf Hachaim 157:40

[19] Rambam Deios 4:6; Kitzur SHU”A 32:12; Kaf Hachaim 157:40

[20] Rambam Deios 4:6

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