Healthy and refreshing, the versatile grapefruit is a beloved member of the citrus family. This juicy fruit was named after the way it clusters on a tree branch (like grapes). Having its origin in the Caribbean in the early 1800s, it is perhaps a cross between a Pomelo and another citrus fruit. The grapefruit is grown in semitropical areas of US (mainly Florida and Southern California) and is about the size of a fist. Referred to as chakotra in Hindi; recent years have witnessed its cultivation in India as well. In the subcontinent's folklore, grapefruit is ranked as the sourest of all citrus fruits. Assam, Kerala, Bangalore and Tripura cultivate the fruit up to an altitude of 1,500 meters. Several regions like Manipur in West Bengal use the fruit for religious purposes too.
According to the National Institute of Nutrition in India, grapefruit contains 92% moisture and is also a low carb fruit – only 7 grams per 100 grams. Readily available from November to December in the Indian markets, it can enact as a substitute for many medicines. In terms of culinary value, grapefruit scores 10/10 as a hydrating fruit for summers and can be regularly included in the breakfast - providing a rejuvenating start to the day.
As per NIN guidelines, it is a powerful source of Vitamin C (31 mg per 100 grams), agrees Dr. Sheela Krishnaswamy, Bangalore-based nutritionist. “This makes it a remarkable fighter of cough, cold and flu. The juiciness and health promoting befits compete with that of the canonized Orange.The moon shaped fruit acts as a natural antihistamine, a great aid to the immune system. Tart and tangy with and underlying sweetness, it is usually eaten as it is or merged with a variety of salads.”
Benefits of Grapefruit
But what else makes it a must add on to your grocery list? Let us find out-
1. Reduces Acidity
The citric acid contained in this bitter-sweet fruit creates an alkaline reaction post digestion. This in turn serves as a vital remedy against cold, cough and flu. The bitter properties arising from an essence called ‘naringin' tone up the system and the digestive process. Having said this, the nutritionist points out that no single fruit can by itself prevent acidity.
2. Increases Metabolism and Weight Loss
Scientists at the American Nutrition and Medical Research Centre showed that grapefruit contains unique plant compounds that reduce insulin levels and in turn promote weight loss. Advocates of the renowned ‘Hollywood diet', which first appeared in the 1970s, present grapefruit as an active fat burner. The lower starch levels also make it a safe alternative for the diabetics' sweet tooth. The fiber rich fruit makes you feel full for longer, thus functioning as an excellent suppressant.
3. Lowers Stroke Risk
A study conducted by the American Heart Association (2012) highlights that eating higher amounts of grapefruit may lower ischemic (blood clot-related) stroke and intracerebral stroke risk. Women who ate high quantity had a 19% lower risk than the women who consumed the least amount.
4. Boosts Vitality
The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition brings forth the point that Grapefruit may work on a cellular level, increasing the amount of ATP, which is an ornate way of referring to increased ‘cellular energy'. It gives the human body a feeling of fullness and normalcy, assisting it to fight fatigue and lethargy. Further, the high water content helps in keeping the skin supple and reducing the burning sensation caused during fever and similar situations. Nootkatone found in grapefruit helps to dispel the general tiredness caused from mundane chores.
5. Builds Stronger Bones
As per Texas A&M University's Vegetable and Fruit Improvement research, orange and grapefruit juice regularly given to lab rats prevented osteoporosis, long considered an unavoidable aging disease in which bones become more likely to break.
6. More Than Just Vitamin C
A pivot source of vitamins and minerals, the citrus fruit is essential for normal growth and overall well-being. However, it is being gradually established that the biologically active and non-nutrient compounds (phytochemicals) contained in grapefruit can also aid elevate symptoms of many chronic diseases. Epidemiological studies have shown a significant inverse association between grapefruit intake and cardiovascular mortality. There is good evidence showing cancer protective effects of the wonder fruit too.
7. Source of Antioxidants
“In the grapefruit world, colour counts. Pink-and-red red grapefruit is higher in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage. Also, they are more effective than the white variety at lowering triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood," remarks Catherine Reddy, author at The Alternative - Sustainability as a Way of Life.
No wonder it is called Citrus Paradisi (Paradise of Citrus) in Latin. For it is equally valuable among populations who need to overcome micronutrient deficiencies as well as those concerned with problems of over nutrition, obesity and diet- related chronic diseases. And did we mention they are lip-smacking as well; adding a remarkable twist to salads, poultry and desserts. So do not hesitate to make room for the super fruit into your meals today!
How to Buy Grapefruit
When buying grapefruit, it is advised to choose the heavier ones, for they are ripe and contain plenty of water. Smoothness and luster are other healthy indicators. A good chakotra is also aromatic near the stem.
How to Eat Grapefruit
To ensure the best tasting experience, completely remove the pith from each segment, lest the former adds a strong bitter taste. The grapefruit mantra is “peel, peel, peel”, only the tear drop-like sacs of juice should remain. Being a hardy fruit, it can last in room temperature for about two weeks.
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