Grapefruits (Citrus paradise) are a member of the plant family Rutaceae and the genus Citrus. These subtropical evergreen plants come in a variety of forms, like March and Foster, and are very popular in countries like Arizona, Texas, California and Florida. They can also be categorized based on the color of their skin, as yellow or pinkish yellow. Also, some of the varieties feature seeds, while others are seedless. Grapefruit has a general flavor of tanginess or mild tartness and is quite juicy, with an underlying sweetness that weaves throughout. The discovery of this fruit was made in Barbados, in the later part of the 17th century. It was later introduced to Florida, during the 18th century. Some other countries that are involved in the cultivation and production of the fruit are South Africa, Brazil and Israel. Although available throughout the year, the best season for the cultivation and consumption of grapefruit is from the winter to the early part of the spring season. Given below are some of the major health benefits of grapefruit, listed just for you.
Health Benefits Of Eating Grapefruit
- A particular flavonoid present in grapefruits called Naringenin is useful in repairing damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells. The repair of human DNA is one of the major mechanisms to prevent the development of cancer, because it removes cancer-causing mutations in the cells.
- Grapefruit juice is also involved in the production of certain liver detoxification enzymes that help in the elimination of certain toxic compounds, including certain carcinogens, from the body.
- The fruit also helps in avoiding the occurrence of colon cancer. Studies have indicated that the regular intake of 3 glasses (six ounces each) of grapefruit juice slows down the activity of an enzyme that initiates cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
- Research has also indicated that grapefruit helps maintain body weight, by reducing the levels of insulin in the body.
- Consumption of grapefruit juice is linked with the prevention as well as reduction in the rate of kidney stone formation. This is achieved by increasing the level of urinary pH and citric acid excretion.
- Regular intake of both the blond and red variety of grapefruit has been associated with lowering the levels of LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) in human blood and also the level of triglycerides. However, in comparison, the red variety has been shown to influence the cholesterols levels twice more than the blond variety. This may be attributed to the fact that the red variety contains a strong antioxidant and even phytonutrients like lycopene, with synergistic activities.
- A particular phytonutrient present in grapefruit, called limonoids, inhibits the formation of tumors in the human body. This is done by assisting in the formation of a detoxifying enzyme called glutathione-S-transferase, which makes the toxic compounds water soluble, thereby facilitating their excretion from human body.
- Citrus limonoids are also regarded as potent anti-carcinogens (a fact aided by their bioavailability and persistence), which prevent the proliferation of cancerous cells in the body.
- Grapefruit juice is considered to have the highest amount of antioxidant activity. Long term consumption of the juice is associated with the prevention of certain conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease.
- One of the best sources of vitamin C, grapefruit is linked with the prevention of a number of conditions. The vitamin is particularly essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. Some of its important effects are reduction of the severity of cold symptoms and prevention of inflammatory symptoms like asthma, Osteo-Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Vitamin C also aids in maintaining a healthy cardio-vascular system and reduces the occurrence of conditions like heart disease, stroke and cancer.
- Certain compounds present in grapefruits increase circulating levels of certain drugs like statins. Due to this, the risk of muscle toxicity associated with statins may increase with grapefruit consumption. This may even lead to a rare, but serious statin induced disease rhabdomyolysis. In this condition, there is alteration in the muscle tissue activity, causing temporary paralysis and weakness.
- Components like naringenin, present in grapefruit juice, decrease the normal detoxification and metabolism processes in the liver and intestines. As a result, the body’s ability to breakdown and eliminate these drugs is hampered.
- Prior to their consumption, grapefruits should be cleaned thoroughly under cool running water. Intake of the fruit without washing may transfer some dirt or bacteria present underneath the skin surface.
- The normal way of eating the fruit is by slicing it horizontally and scooping out sections of the halves, with a spoon.
- For the purpose of separating the flesh from the membrane of grapefruit, you can make use of a sharp knife, a serrated grapefruit spoon or a special curved-blade grapefruit knife.
- Another way of consuming the fruit is by peeling the skin off with your hands or a knife and then consuming the inner flesh.
- A third way to serve the fruit is by peeling the skin and then slicing them.