I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but February is a very special month. Of course it’s known for Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, and President’s Day, but did you know that it is also the month of National Do a Grouch a Favor Day, National Ferris Wheel Day, National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, and maybe most important of all, it’s National Grapefruit Month.
I know, you think that grapefruit has just always been here. Wrong; it’s actually a fairly recent addition to the list of the world’s best foods. The most accepted account is that it was created by a French Physician in Napoleon’s Army who was captured by the British and sentenced to a prisoner of war camp in the Bahamas. (I have got to believe it was better than the salt mines of Siberia.) Upon being discharged, he relocated to the Sunshine State of Florida and established a citrus plantation. He is credited with cross breeding an orange with a pomelo, thus creating the very first grapefruit.
They got their name from the fact that they grow in clumps like big, yellow grapes. I’m confident you all know what an orange is, but many people are unfamiliar with the pomelo. The pomelo is also known as a shaddock, which is native to Southeast Asia, and was brought to the Caribbean region around 1700. It is green, has a thicker rind, a milder taste, and is larger than the grapefruit. The grapefruit is a synergy of these two fruits and, in my opinion, became more than the sum of their parts, well deserving the nickname “fruit of paradise.”
I enjoy the delicious, refreshing taste of grapefruit so much that even if they weren’t good for you I would still want to eat them regularly. Fortunately the wonderful fact is they are extremely good for you—what a rare combination! So let me share a few of the nutritional gifts that can benefit you.
Grapefruit is very low in calories; there are only about 40 in each half.
Grapefruit is absolutely bursting with vitamin C and bioflavonoid antioxidants that boost your immune system. Just a half of a grapefruit provides about two-thirds of the recommended daily allowance.
Grapefruit is a good source of vitamins A, B1, B5, B9 and copper. The potassium it contains helps to maintain a healthy electrolyte balance and lower blood pressure.
Grapefruit is also an excellent source of the soluble fiber pectin, which has proven effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides thus fighting atherosclerosis. Additionally, it functions as a bulk laxative helping to detoxify and cleanse the colon.
Grapefruit is available in three major varieties of flesh, from white to pink to ruby red. The darker the hue the more carotenoids, like lycopene, it contains, which is beneficial for vision and combats prostate cancer.
Grapefruit is known to stoke your fat-burning furnace, helping weight loss.
Grapefruit only has one warning that I am aware of. According to a Harvard Medical School study it possesses compounds called furanocoumarins that interfere with the action of a number of prescribed drugs causing their levels to build up in the blood. Medications like Lipitor, BuSpar, Zocor, Seldane, and even Viagra should not be taken in combination with grapefruit or its juice. No ED jokes please.
So, no need to wait until February; every month can be your own personal grapefruit month.