The Many Health Benefits of White Grapefruit
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For many years botanists believed that the first grapefruit crops had been had been cultivated on the island of Barbados. The reason for this was simple–that was where Europeans first encountered the exotic new fruit.
The year was 1750 and a Welsh scholar was documenting the fauna and flora of the islands when he came upon the new fruit. Years later, the grapefruit received its strange name based on that fact that it grew in clusters, like grapes.
Shortly thereafter, botanists concluded that the grapefruit could not have originated in Barbados. After all, the grapefruit was a hybrid fruit–a cross between a pomelo and an orange–and neither pomelos nor oranges grew in Barbados. In the end, it was discovered that the breed of orange that had spawned the first grapefruit was actually a Jamaican sweet orange. Therefore, the grapefruit was first cultivated in Jamaica.
Though the date of the first crop is not known, the history of the tropical fruit has been well documented. For instance, we know that the grapefruit first came to America in 1823 when it came to Florida, which is now known for producing great citrus fruit. But because of the burgeoning orange industry, the grapefruit failed to win friends and influence people in the Sunshine State.
If the story had ended there, the white grapefruit might not be the most popular breakfast fruit in the world. Fortunately for all us, the grapefruit found its way to South Texas where farmers experimented with the new crop. Though early efforts were decidedly inauspicious, a new mutation gave birth to the great Texas grapefruit industry in 1929.
What are the health benefits of the white grapefruit? Like all citrus fruits, the grapefruit is high in vitamin C. Just one half of one grapefruit has 156 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Why is this important? Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from harmful molecules called free radicals. These free radicals can damage and destroy healthy cells, which may lead to serious diseases like cancer. Some medical professionals even believe that antioxidants may slow the aging process a bit by protecting healthy cells.
The white grapefruit is also an excellent source of fiber. The average grapefruit has about seven grams of fiber, which is more than a third of the recommended daily allowance. What does fiber do? It improves digestion by promoting regular bowel movements. There is also ample evidence to suggest that high fiber diets may reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.