Grapefruit Food Facts
Grapefruits have a rather recent history, having been discovered in Barbados in the 18th century. Many botanists think the grapefruit was actually the result of a natural cross breeding which occurred between the orange and the pomelo, a citrus fruit that was brought from Indonesia to Barbados in the 17th century.
The resulting fruit was given the name "grapefruit" in 1814 in Jamaica, a name which reflects the way it's arranged when it grows-hanging in clusters just like grapes.
Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, a vitamin that helps to support the immune system. Over 20 scientific studies have suggested that vitamin C is a cold-fighter. Vitamin C also prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, and is therefore also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis , and rheumatoid arthritis .
The rich pink and red colors of grapefruit are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. Lycopene appears to have anti-tumor activity. Among the common dietary carotenoids, lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells.
Recent studies show that grapefruit may also be more effective in lowering cholesterol than any other pectin source.
As with all citrus, the heavier the fruit, the juicier. Florida grapefruits are juicier than those from California and Arizona. However, Western fruit has a thicker skin which is easier to peel. If refrigerated, grapefruit will last for a few weeks.
Grapefruit should be firm and not discolored. Fruit that is pointed at the end tend to be thicker skinned and have less meat and juice. White fruit has a stronger flavor than pink fruit. Grapefruit is available all year, but best January through May.
Shredded grapefruit will be a great addition to any fish salad.
Grapefruits should be rinsed under cool water before consuming, even though you will probably not be eating the peel, since cutting into an unwashed fruit may transfer dirt or bacteria that may reside on the skin's surface to the edible flesh. Alternatively, if you allow a grapefruit to stand in boiling water for a few minutes it will be easier to peel.
Salt will make a grapefruit taste sweeter.
Safety: Check with your healthcare practitioner about consuming grapefruit juice if you're taking pharmaceutical drugs. Certain pharmaceutical drugs combined with grapefruit juice become more potent. Compounds in grapefruit juice, including naringenin, slow the normal detoxification and metabolism processes in the intestines and liver, which hinders the body's ability to breakdown and eliminate these drugs.
A few quick serving ideas:
- Grapefruit sections add a tangy spark to green salads.
- Instead of your morning glass of OJ, have a glass of grapefruit juice.
- Combine diced grapefruit with cilantro and chili peppers to make a unique salsa.
- To enjoy a salad with a tropical flair, combine chopped grapefruit pieces, cooked shrimp and avocadoes and serve on a bed of romaine lettuce.