Botanists commonly believe that the grapefruit is a result of a natural cross breeding between the orange and the pomelo. The fruit that resulted from this cross breeding was named "grapefruit", a name that is meant to indicate the way it grows - in hanging in clusters, just like grapes.
The grapefruit belongs to the citrus family and can be from 10 to 15 cm in diameter. Grapefruits are of two varieties -- seeded or seedless. The pulp is acidic and segmented like most citrus fruits. The outer skin is usually yellow or pinkish yellow in color. The fruit is actually a modified berry and its botanical name is Hesperidium. The flesh of the grapefruit is a beautiful shade that ranges between pink, orange and red. The grapefruit is juicy and tart in taste but has an an underlying sweetness.
Why should I be aware about it?
It has the potential of preventing colds effectively, and is touted as a wonder food for people who want to lose weight. Scientists at the Nutrition and Medical Research Centre at Scripps Clinic in San Diego, America, has found that the simple act of adding grapefruit and grapefruit juice to your diet, really can aid weight loss . Some research suggests that grapefruits may also contain some compounds that lower blood sugar levels. However, there is not enough research to substantiate this.
Most importantly, grapefruit is a zesty, tangy addition to any breakfast. It is used to make marmalade which is, people who enjoy bitter marmalade say is much tastier than orange marmalade.
Grapefruits and health
- Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, a vitamin that helps to support the immune system. Vitamin C-rich foods like grapefruit may help reduce cold symptoms or severity of cold symptoms .
- Grapefruits contains the phytonutrients liminoids and lycopene. Limonoids inhibit tumor formation by promoting the formation of glutathione-S-transferase. This enzyme causes the liver to make toxic compounds more water soluble for excretion from the body. Studies have shown that limonoids help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. Grapefruit also contain glucarates which help prevent breast cancer.
- Pectin, a form of soluble fiber that is found in grapefruit, slows down the progression of atherosclerosis. All varieties of grapefruit reduce blood levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, while the red variety lowers triglycerides. Grapefruit also positively affects cholesterol levels although the red variety is found to be much effective. Grapefruits also increase the blood levels of protective antioxidants.
- A recent research proves that drinking grapefruit juice provides protection against lung and colon cancer. Drinking three 6-ounce glasses of grapefruit juice a day reduced the activity of an enzyme that activates cancer-causing chemicals.
- A flavonoid found in grapefruit called naringenin, helps repair damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells. Prostate cancer progresses slowly and often remains undetected for a long time. Including grapefruit in the diet is a good way to prevent its progression by promoting the repair of damaged DNA in prostate cells.
What can I do about it?
Tips on selection and storage
- Scratches or discoloration on the skin of a grapefruit do not affect taste or texture quality.
- Watch out for soft spots, especially near the stem , as these are signs of decay.
- The fruit should be heavy for its size as this indicates it is juicy and has a thin skin.
- Avoid fruit with very thick, wrinkled or rough skin.
- Grapefruits should be firm yet spring back to the touch when lightly pressed. *They have a better aroma if they are kept at room temperature. If you plan on consuming them within a week, do not refrigerate.
- The season for grapefruits is usually winter through early spring.
Tips for eating
Some people like to eat Grapefruit sweetened with white or brown sugar, or a bit of honey. Others add cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves. As an appetizer before dinner, grapefruit halves may be similarly sweetened, lightly broiled, and served hot, often topped with a maraschino cherry. The sections are commonly used in fruit cups or fruit salads, in gelatins or puddings and tarts. They are commercially canned in syrup. In Australia, grapefruit is commercially processed as marmalade. It may also be made into jelly.
Here are some tips for eating grapefruit --
- Grapefruits should be rinsed under cool water to prevent bacteria and dirt from being transferred to the flesh when they are cut.
- Grapefruits are best eaten fresh by cutting the fruit horizontally and scooping out sections of the halves with a serrated grapefruit spoon. Special curved-blade grapefruit knives are also available.
- Grapefruits can also be peeled and eaten like oranges. If using a knife try not to cut through the skin.
Quick serving ideas
- Add grapefruit to green salads for that extra tang.
- Drink a glass of grapefruit juice instead of orange juice in the morning.
- Add diced grapefruit to your salsa to give it an unusual flavor.
Safety tips for grapefruit consumption
- Certain drugs combined with grapefruit juice can become more potent, hence it is a good idea to check with your doctor before adding it to your diet, especially if you are on any prescribed medication. 
- Certain compounds in grapefruit juice slow the normal detoxification processes in the intestines and liver and hinder the body's ability to breakdown and eliminate these drugs.
- Grapefruits were discovered in Barbados in the 18th century.
- The grapefruit is an accidental hybrid between the pomelo and the orange.
- Drinking three glasses of grapefruit juice a day may prevent lung and colon cancer!
- In 1970, the consumption of grapefruit was temporarily heightened by a widely promoted "grapefruit diet" which claimed to achieve a loss of 10 lbs (4.5 kg) in 10 days and continuous gradual loss until the achievement of desired body weight.
- People who need to take Viagra must not eat grapefruits -- they have potentially serious interactions with the drug. 
- About Grapefuits
- Holistic Online on Grapefruits
- The Grapefruit Diet