A grapefruit looks nothing like a grape, does it? So why do we call it a grapefruit? It grows in clusters on the tree, resembling a bunch of grapes – hence “grapefruit.” And before we start exploring grapefruit benefits, let’s take a look at its history.
The grapefruit tree was found in Barbados by a Welsh seafaring reverend named Griffith Hughes, way back in 1750. He was searching the West Indies for the original Tree of Good and Evil from the Garden of Eden and he stated that the grapefruit was the “forbidden fruit.”
For many years the fruit was not popular because of its bitter taste. In 1823, it was brought to Florida and the growers got busy with it. They produced several different varieties but it was not until a single red grapefruit was found on a pink grapefruit tree that its popularity soared. The wonderful Ruby Reds were developed commercially and its grapefruit benefits are now enjoyed all over the world. Florida’s top sellers are Thompson, Duncans and of course, Ruby Reds as well as the sweet pink grapefruit. They are harvested and shipped in crates directly to your home in time for Christmas, so that you can have a taste of sunshine with breakfast together with all the other grapefruit benefits.
And they are many. Rich in vitamin C and most of the B vitamins, it’s also super-low in calories. It has less sugar than an orange and while the juice of your breakfast grapefruit has all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements you need, eating the whole fruit makes it a very effective aid to digestion. If you need to sweeten it, use a little honey. But keep in mind that the slightly bitter taste increases the flow of digestive juices which is why it’s such a great drink before a meal.
Wonderful for those on a weight loss diet, grapefruit benefits your metabolism by ramping it up to burn more calories. And its high content of fat-burning enzymes can help roll off those extra pounds – but be cautious. Eating grapefruit should be a part of a well-balanced diet plan for you to lose weight – you’ll recall the “grapefruit diet” where you ate half a grapefruit with every meal? This works, but because this diet is not well balanced, seven days is long enough.
The red grapefruit contains lycopene – an anti-oxidant which destroys free radicals, supports the immune system and it’s also a known cancer fighter. And another of the grapefruit benefits is that its salicylic acid can prevent kidney stone and gravel formations as well as slow any hardening or sclerosis of vital organ tissue and arteries. It can help loosen arthritic joints, improve liver function, break up gallstones and, as we discussed earlier, promotes good digestion. Try taking a grapefruit to work for your mid-morning snack – the pectin it contains will reduce bad cholesterol levels because it slows down absorption and works against plaque build-up in blood vessels.
It is known that grapefruit and its juice may interact with some medications and can affect your liver. If you are planning to include more of these miraculous grapefruit benefits in your diet and are taking certain medications, do please check with your doctor first to ensure that it’s safe for you to do so.