GrapefruitPosted 9 years ago under Uncategorized
Grapefruits have been touted for their nutritional value for many years and even promoted as a popular weight-loss tool. As it turns out, the benefits of eating grapefruit go far beyond just weight loss. Grapefruits can help prevent kidney stones as well as detoxify the liver. (1) Limonoids, a phytonutrient, in grapefruit can inhibit the growth of tumors and cancers. (2)Grapefruit seed extract has a number of benefits as well. When combined with undecenoic acid, it works as an anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic compound. This makes it extremely effective in clearing candida from the body. (3)
The grapefruit comes from the Citrus x paradise tree.
Kingdom (Plantae) → Angiosperms → Eudicots → Rosids → Order (Sapindales) → Family (Rutaceae) → Genus (Citrus) → Species (Citrus x paradise)
The grapefruit is a subtropical citrus fruit that originated as a hybrid between the pomelo and the sweet orange. It grows on evergreen trees that range in height from fifteen to twenty feet and have glossy green leaves. The flowers are two inches in diameter and white. The grapefruit can range in size from a baseball to a softball with yellow to orange skin. The edible portion inside vary in color from white to pink or red. Grapefruits are somewhat bitter or acidic in taste, but the darker the inside flesh, the sweeter the fruit. (4)
Grapefruit comes in a rainbow of colors and a full range of flavor, from tart and intense to mild and sweet. Over time, commercial grapefruit growers have worked to improve sweetness and reduce the number of seeds in grapefruit varieties. All grapefruit types are packed with nutrients, and nutrient level increases with depth of color. The best grapefruit develops in areas with hot days and warm to hot nights, resulting in lower acidity and higher sugar content.
White grapefruit, also referred to as yellow, is the most traditional grapefruit type and is a favorite of commercial growers. It’s widely used for juices and syrups. The meat is pale yellow and the juice is colorless. Juicy white grapefruits have a firm texture and tart flavor, but most white varieties have been increasingly engineered by growers to enhance their sweetness. Pink and ruby grapefruit were bred from the white grapefruit. Varieties include Duncan, Golden, Wheeney, Sweetie, Melogold and the most popular, Marsh.
Pink grapefruit is typically pale to light yellow with a pink blush. It gets its pinkish pigment from lycopene, a powerful cancer-fighting phytonutrient, and beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in your body. This tasty citrus fruit is developed to have a balance of sweetness and tartness. The flesh of this exceptionally juicy fruit is pulpy and tender and it can range in color from chamois to variations of pink, although the juice is colorless. It’s taste is sweeter than the white grapefruit. Many commercially propagated varieties are seedless. Varieties include Foster, Henderson, Marsh Pink, Ray Ruby, Redblush and Shambar.
Ruby, or red grapefruit, has deep reddish flesh and juice. Like the pink grapefruit, its rich color is due to high levels of lycopene and beta-carotene. It’s often smaller than the pink and white varieties. Like the pink grapefruit, ruby has a sweeter flavor than the white grapefruit due to greater balance between sugar level and acidity. Varieties include Rio Red, Flame and Star Ruby.
The pummelo, also known as Chinese grapefruit, is considered the ancestor of the white, pink and ruby grapefruit. It’s the largest of all citrus fruits, typically weighing 2 to 4 pounds. These ball-size fruits are used in rituals during Chinese New Year and are said to resemble a full moon. When ripe, the pummelo is pale green or yellow. Because of its sweet, mild taste and pleasant aroma, it’s often used as a dessert, eaten raw, dipped in chocolate or sprinkled with salt. Varieties include Hirado Buntan and Oro Blanco.
Grapefruits are believed to have originated in Polynesia and the East Indies, but currently are grown in a variety of places including the southern United States, Central America, South America, South Africa, Greece, and China. Grapefruits grow best in subtropical climates where they take about six to seven months to mature. In colder climates, they can take over a year to mature. They prefer slightly acidic, well-drained soil. (5)
Both the flesh and the seeds of grapefruits are high in vitamins and minerals and provide a lot of nutritional benefit. Grapefruits are one of the leading sources of vitamin C with half a grapefruit providing 59% of the RDV. (6) Grapefruits are also a good source of copper, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin B5, biotin, vitamin B1, and fiber. They also contain large amounts of lycopene, an important antioxidant which helps fight free radicals in the body. (7)
China, America, and Mexico are the top producers of grapefruit in the world. Typically, grapefruit is grown by cuttings taken from mature trees. The grapefruit tree takes about three years to produce a commercially viable crop of fruit. Harvest of these trees is done in fall. (8)
Diseases, Pests, Predators
Grapefruit are prone to a number of diseases and pests that are common to citrus fruits. These include tristeza virus, gummosis, mites, aphids, and thrips. Birds can also become a common pest as well. (9)