The grapefruit (Citrus × paradise– the “x” stands for hybrid) is a subtropical citrus tree known for its tart and tangy taste, with an underlying sweetness. Grapefruits are related to the orange, lemon and pomelo, have either yellow or pinkish-yellow skin and categorized as white (blond), pink or ruby, based on the color of their flesh. The wonderful flavor of a grapefruit is like paradise as is expressed by its Latin name, Citrus paradise.
Grapefruits have a rather recent history, having been discovered in Barbados in the 18th century, and named “forbidden fruit”. Many botanists believe the grapefruit is actually the result of a natural cross breeding between the orange and the pomelo, a citrus fruit that was brought from Indonesia to Barbados in the 17th century. In 1814, people in Jamaica named it “ grapefruit” due to its fruit arrangement resembling the way grapes grew in clusters.
Grapefruit trees were planted in Florida in the early 19th century, although they did not become a viable commercial crop until later that century. Florida is still a major producer of grapefruits, as is California, Arizona and Texas. Other countries that produce grapefruits commercially include Israel, South Africa and Brazil.
19 REFRESHING HEALTH SECRETS OF GRAPEFRUIT:
- Acidity: Grapefruit juice has an alkaline reaction after digestion, neutralizing the acidity in the stomach.
- Atherosclerosis: Grapefruit contains Pectin that is effective in reducing the accumulation of arterial deposits, and vitamin C helps to strengthen and maintain the elasticity of arteries.
- Cancer: Bioflavonoids found in grapefruit eliminates excess estrogen, and fight carcinogens in breast cancer patients. Pectin acts as a bulk laxative, protecting the colon mucous membrane from stomach and pancreatic cancer. Lycopene along with Vitamin A fight lung cancer and oral cancer. Naringenin, a flavonoid helps to repair damaged DNA in prostate cancer cells.
- Cholesterol: Antioxidants present in grapefruit help to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Grapefruit also boosts heart health and reduces heart disease.
- Diabetes: Increased consumption of grapefruit helps to reduce and burn the starch and sugar content in the body reducing the risks of both Type I and Type II Diabetes.
- Fatigue and fever: Grapefruit juice with lemon and honey provides relief from high body temperature and instantly diffuses the fatigue from overwork, fever or stress.
- Insomnia: A warm drink of grapefruit juice before bedtime, helps to promote sleep and alleviates insomnia.
- Pregnant Women: The bioflavonoids and vitamin C in grapefruit help to reduce water retention and swelling of the legs during pregnancy.
- Sore Throat: Drinking freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice with warm water and honey is a age old remedy that helps relieve sore throats and soothes coughs.
- Weight-loss: Grapefruits lowers insulin, is very low in calories and sodium, contain rich dietary water soluble fiber that make you stay fuller longer and has high water content providing adequate hydration.
- Detoxifier: Nutrients like antioxidants and phytonutrients, called limonoids help remove toxin stored in colons and kidney, cleansing and detoxify the liver and contains naringenin which causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it.
- Skin Health: Grapefruit contains high amount of Vitamin A and C, minerals and anti-oxidants like retinol that fight damage caused due to free radicals and oxidative stress and stimulate the production of skin collagen that provides elasticity, prevents skin pigmentation, wrinkles and age spots.
- Kidney Stones: Grapefruit juice contains Vitamin C which is very effective in treating calcium oxalate kidney stones, by increasing urinary pH and hastening the rate at which citric acid is secreted.
- Hair Care: Vitamin C has strong antioxidant properties boosting the immunity system, strengthening the hair follicles and increases blood circulation in the scalp which promotes hair growth. Grapefruit seed extracts can help to fight the bacteria on the scalp, soothes the skin, and wards off dandruff.
- Vision: Grapefruits contains rich amounts of Vitamin A and flavonoid antioxidants such as naringenin and naringin, lycopene, beta carotene, xanthin and lutein. These anti-oxidants promote good eye health and prevent cataracts and age related macular degeneration.
- Arthritis: Grapefruit juice contains salicylic acid that helps break down the body’s calcium that can build up in the cartilages of joints leading to arthritis.
- Infections: The flavonoids, vitamin C and minerals present in grapefruit provide great support to immune system to ward of common colds and other infections.
- Gum Problems: Grapefruits help reduce gum bleeding, increase plasma vitamin C levels and help to prevent and treat periodontal diseases.
- Respiratory Problems: Vitamin C in grapefruits reduces wheezing symptoms in children and aids in treating asthma, chronic cough, shortness of breath and even runny nose.
The only known side effect, though a lethal one, is the fruit’s impact when taken with some commonly used cancer, heart, cholesterol and painkilling drugs.
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 some pharmaceutical drugs. Grapefruit may increase the effects of calcium channel blockers, statins (leading to Rhaddomyolysis), benzodiazepines, immunosuppressants, and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.
Just one glass of grapefruit juice is enough to treble the potency of these medicines. So consult your GP before drinking the juice.