GRAPEFRUITS: The (Not So) Bitter Truth
Very large in size and yellowish pink, or pinkish yellow in color, grapefruits look nothing like their small green or purple namesake. Most botanists believe the name "grapefruit" refers to the manner in which it grows: in clusters, like a bunch of grapes.
It's no secret grapefruits pack a healthful punch. They are rich in Vitamin C, and the pink colored flesh is a telltale sign that it's laden with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Grapefruits are also said to aid in the prevention of kidney stones, to help protect against colon cancer, and perhaps to lower cholesterol. There is even an entire diet dedicated to this bitter orb.
But did you know that many folks who regularly take prescription medications have to approach grapefruit consumption with caution? Grapefruits and a few other citrus fruits contain a chemical that can interfere with the enzymes that metabolize medications in the digestive system. This can result in the medication staying in your body and can increase the potency to dangerous or toxic levels, causing severe side effects. Be sure to check with your doctor if you are prescribed a medication and plan to include copious citrus in your diet.
If you are able to safely eat grapefruit and citrus, you can derive the maximum benefit and enjoy all of its nutrient power by leaving some of the white pith on the fruit when you peel and eat it. The pith is packed with bioflavanoids, which have been shown to strengthen blood vessel walls and have antioxidant properties.
If the thought of uber-tart grapefruit contorts your face and makes you shudder, consider a pummelo (also called a pomelo), the juicy ancestor of the common grapefruit. Pummelos boast a similar flavor profile and can be eaten the same way as grapefruit, but the bitter notes are less intense.
Pummelos are even larger than grapefruits, although a lot of that bulk is just from the extremely thick peel. To learn a trick or two about how to peel one of these strapping citruses, check out this video. Get 'em while you can, though. Pummelos will be here and gone before you know it.