Grapefruits since the 1940’s have been a household favorite in the United States. They have been so popular that they are actually imported in the off-season yet grow in from October to June, the peak period in the U.S.
The grapefruit ranges in diameter between three to four inches, and it has a characteristically thick, tough skin compared to oranges. It is similar to oranges because it has segmented flesh. Varieties of grapefruit you’ll find in your local grocery store are regular “white” grapefruits with a tart flavor, “pink” grapefruits with a sweeter taste, and “red” pulps with a bit more sweetness.
Delicious grapefruits are low in calories actually; around 42-50 calories per half. There are many health benefits of grapefruits including the insoluble fiber pectin that acts as a bulk laxative that helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time to toxic substances in the colon. Pectin has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by reabsorption of cholesterol binding bile acids in the colon. Sounds to me like grapefruit are most helpful for colon health.
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Grapefruits also contain good levels of Vitamin A and several flavonoid antioxidants as well as a source of lycopene and beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein, all helpful with vision. Let’s not forget that Vitamin C is in plentiful supply in grapefruit and further helps the body’s resistance against infectious agents and harmful free radicals.
You might not be aware that grapefruits have quite a bit of potassium electrolyte which your body needs because this electrolyte helps control heart rate and blood pressure through countering sodium effects. There are also other good amounts of the B-complex group of vitamins, so one grapefruit can provide a tasty treat and a healthy addition to your diet (unless you’re drug-restricted as mentioned earlier).
Besides enjoying the grapefruit as a breakfast addition, you can enjoy it before dinner as an “appetizer” and in fruit salads and even in puddings or tarts. I remember many Church dinners or banquets where they served grapefruit sections in lime Jello with meals. I like grapefruit, but that was not one of my enjoyable ways to eat grapefruit. And you may remember the “Grapefruit Diet” from the 1970’s and1980’s that had you eating lots of grapefruit before meals. I do recall that and Jack and I followed that for a short time. Although the fad diet was extreme, according to latest research by scientists at Scripps Clinic in San Diego, California, Nutrition and Medical Research Center, have found that by simply adding grapefruit and grapefruit juice to your eating plan that it can aid in weight loss.
Did you know that grapefruit peel is often times candied and is an important source of pectin for preserving other types of fruits? Even the peel oil is commonly used in soft-drink flavoring…do you remember the soft drink Squirt? In comparison to ‘dark sodas’, it only had less than 1% actual grapefruit juice but with just one taste you knew it was a tangy citrus-flavored drink.
For a long time they have converted waste from grapefruit packing plants into molasses for cattle. They even use the grapefruit seed hulls, after oil extraction, for soil conditioning. Old grapefruit trees are salvaged for their wood and the sapwood is useful for various domestic purposes.
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