The Many Health Benefits of Ruby Red Grapefruit
Image by zaveqna via Flickr
The grapefruit is the newest addition to the citrus fruit family. First documented on the island of Barbados in 1750, the fruit made its way to Florida in the early 19th century. But the grapefruit was not a hit in America. Well, at least not at first.
Local farmers concluded that the new fruit was too sour to ever catch on with consumers. And they were right. From that point on the grapefruit became a mere novelty fruit. Small crops were planted in both Florida and later Texas. Then at the end of the 1920's two separate events altered the fortunes of the grapefruit in America forever.
The first was the discovery of a brand new grapefruit variety on a small orchard in South Texas. This new grapefruit had red flesh instead of pink or white. It was also much sweeter than the other varieties. The new fruit would soon be known as the Ruby Red grapefruit and it remains the most popular grapefruit in the world.
The second event was the creation and popularization of a new diet fad called the grapefruit or Hollywood diet. At first, the diet was a favorite of Hollywood starlets who needed to slough off a few pounds before a shoot. But when the fad went mainstream, grapefruit demand predictably increased.
Oddly enough, the grapefruit was being celebrated by two different groups of people for two very different reasons. The first group loved the taste of the new Ruby Red grapefruit and they made it the most popular breakfast fruit in America. The second group consumed grapefruit because they believed it contained fat burning enzymes that would help them lose weight in a hurry. Let us take a moment to separate fact from fiction with regard to the health and dietary benefits of Ruby Red grapefruit.
To begin with, there is scant evidence that the grapefruit actually contains fat burning enzymes. However, the grapefruit is a low calorie food that has no fat, no cholesterol and a myriad of essential vitamins and minerals.
Like all citrus fruits, the Ruby Red grapefruit is high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is important because it is a powerful antioxidant that wages war on inimical little molecules known as free radicals. These free radicals do little more than roam around the body attacking and damaging healthy cells. And since many medical professionals believe that this damage may increase the risk of cancer, antioxidants are important. Citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits are all sources of Vitamin C.
Grapefruits are also high in fiber. In fact, half a grapefruit has seven grams of fiber, which is more than a third of what you need in a day. Fiber is important because it promotes regular bowel movements and improves the health of the digestive tract. Studies have also shown that diets that are high in fiber reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.