Grapefruit’s ancestors known as pummelo originated in Asia. Pummelo was brought from Indonesia to the West Indies in 1693 by an English ship commander, Captain Shaddock. And in the 18th century, grapefruit was discovered in Barbados. It is believed to have been a product of natural cross breeding between orange and pummelo and was first called as the “forbidden fruit”. However, in 1823, the fruit came to the U.S. and the name was changed to Grapefruit as the fruits grow in clusters like grapes. The first grapefruit nursery was established in Florida in 1870 and by the late 1800 it was being grown in Texas, California and Arizona. Grapefruit was not an instant hit back then due to its unusually thick skin and piquant tastes, and it was only in the 1940s that the fruit became a household favorite.
The fruit usually grows four to six inches in diameter and have a segmented flesh, which are categorized as pink, pinkish-yellow and ruby. It is very juicy, tangy and an essence of sweetness. Its peak season starts in October and goes on until the month of June.
Grapefruit is well known for its abundant supply of vitamin C but it does not end there, It is also a great source of vitamin A, B1, pantothenic acid (B5) and biotin, minerals like potassium and copper, as well as dietary fibers, pectin, antioxidants and other vital nutrients. Also present in grapefruits are phytochemicals like lycopene and limonoids.
This superfruit is a powerhouse of health benefits and healing properties, it lessens severity of cold symptoms, fight off free radicals and its damaging effects, eases up inflammation conditions like arthritis and asthma and maintain cardiovascular health, thanks to the fruit’s rich content of vitamin C. The fruit has an anti-tumor properties and with regular consumption can reduce risk of developing prostate cancer in men. It’s effective in maintaining your cholesterol level and lowering triglycerides. Drinking grapefruit juice regularly slims down your chances of developing kidney stones and protects you against colon and lung cancer. It is able to lower insulin level, thus preventing weight gain on individuals with diabetes. A compound in grapefruit called nootkatone improve energy metabolism in the body, so, if you need a quick energy boost, take a glass of grapefruit.
When consumed as food in the right amount, grapefruit is safe. However, individuals who are taking medications is best to consult first with a health provider as this fruit is known to interact with certain medications. For postmenopausal women, it is best to limit drinking grapefruit juice to avoid developing breast cancer. Not much is known about the effect of this fruit during pregnancy and in breastfeeding, avoid use to be safe.
If you want a tastier grapefruit, chose the heirloom varieties. Commercially grown are more focused only on the size with lesser seeds and attractive color.
Grapefruit trivia. Freshly squeezed and properly sealed in the fridge, grapefruit juice can retain 98% of its vitamin C for a week.
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