Grapefruit History

Grapefruits have a rather recent history, having been discovered in Barbados in the 18th century.

Many botanists think the grapefruit was actually the result of a natural cross breeding which occurred between the orange and the pomelo, a citrus fruit that was brought from Indonesia to Barbados in the 17th century.

The resulting fruit was given the name “grapefruit” in 1814 in Jamaica, a name which reflects the way it’s arranged when it grows-hanging in clusters just like grapes.

Grapefruit Nutrition

Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, a vitamin that helps to support the immune system. Over 20 scientific studies have suggested that vitamin C is a cold-fighter. Vitamin C also prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, and is therefore also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Grapefruit Sections; 1-cup: Fresh grapefruit sections from California or Arizona, whether pink, red, or white, have about 85 calories, 1 gram of protein, and about 3 grams of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and assist with digestion and elimination. Also, according to the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, diets high in fiber possibly decrease the risk for cancer of the colon, rectum, breast, and pancreas. Grapefruit sections from Florida have 69 to 74 calories.

The carbohydrate content varies between 17 and 22 grams, while the fat content is negligible.

Lycopene gives some fruits and vegetables their unique and vibrant colors and also act as a powerful antioxidant against free radicals that can damage cells, DNA, and proteins. Pink and Ruby Red grapefruit contain lycopene, which has been associated with decreasing the risk of ovarian cancer and prostate cancer. As an antioxidant, lycopene also has been linked to reducing risk of heart disease, the number one killer of women today.

Red and pink grapefruit shines with its approximately 596 I.U. of vitamin A. The white grapefruit is much lower in vitamin A with about 23 I.U.

Grapefruit has a full range of B vitamins with the exception of vitamin B12 and contain about 28 mcg of folic acid. Grapefruit contains vitamin B6 which can help convert homocysteine to cysteine and lower the amount of homocysteine in the blood and the risk for heart disease.

The rich pink and red colors of grapefruit are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. Lycopene appears to have anti-tumor activity. Among the common dietary carotenoids, lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells.

Recent studies show that grapefruit may also be more effective in lowering cholesterol than any other pectin source.

As with all citrus, the heavier the fruit, the juicier. Florida grapefruits are juicier than those from California and Arizona. However, Western fruit has a thicker skin which is easier to peel. If refrigerated, grapefruit will last for a few weeks.

Grapefruit should be firm and not discolored. Fruit that is pointed at the end tend to be thicker skinned and have less meat and juice. White fruit has a stronger flavor than pink fruit. Grapefruit is available all year, but best January through May.

Shredded grapefruit will be a great addition to any fish salad.

Grapefruits should be rinsed under cool water before consuming, even though you will probably not be eating the peel, since cutting into an unwashed fruit may transfer dirt or bacteria that may reside on the skin’s surface to the edible flesh. Alternatively, if you allow a grapefruit to stand in boiling water for a few minutes it will be easier to peel.

Salt will make a grapefruit taste sweeter.

Packed with Vitamin C

Grapefruit Vitamin C TreasureGrapefruit are loaded with vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) ranging from 79 to 88 mg. In fact, half of one grapefruit provides more than a full day’s supply of vitamin C! Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants acting as a scavenger to neutralize harmful elements naturally occurring within the body and helps fight cell and tissue damage that could lead to disease.

Vitamin C also helps the body fight infection and may reduce risk of diseases, such as cancer. In fact, one report shows that people with low vitamin C intake (less than 50 mg/day) appeared to have approximately twice the cancer risk, compared to people with higher (greater than 100 mg/day) vitamin C intake.

Grapefruit offers plenty of calcium, potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. According to the National High Blood Pressure Education Program, potassium plays an important role in our cardiovascular health. Higher potassium intake has been associated with lower blood pressure and reduced risk of stroke. Grapefruit also contains magnesium as well as trace amounts of iron and zinc.

Magnesium helps your body generate energy and is required for the action of over 300 enzyme systems in your body. A study by the USDA found that during moderate exercise, people with low magnesium levels used more energy and tired more easily than those with adequate levels. Give your work out a boost with an orange, grapefruit or tangerine.

Grapefruit contain more than 60 phytonutrients, many of them known as flavonoids, a class of natural antioxidants that many scientists believe may help the body in its battle against aging, allergies, infection, cancer, ulcers and heart disease.

The grapefruit membranes are a good source of pectin, a soluble fiber helpful in reducing cholesterol.

Canned grapefruit juice has about 100 calories (1-cup) and 1 to 2 grams of protein. Most canned grapefruit juice is sold with the pulp removed, resulting in a loss of fiber. The carbohydrate content of the juice is similar to the grapefruit sections with 17 to 22 grams.

The Grapefruit Tree

The grapefruit we know today was developed in the West Indies in the early 1700s and first introduced to Florida in the 1820s. The grapefruit got its funny name from the way it grows in clusters (like grapes) on the tree. Today, most grapefruit is still grown in Florida.

Since the early part of the 20th century, mutant strains of white grapefruit have appeared with pink to slightly reddish color, and have been propagated by citriculturists into several strains of grapefruit that are now best known as the Ruby Red.

Grapefruit got its name from the way it grows in clusters (like grapes) on the tree. There is no mistaking a grapefruit tree — they are large with glossy dark green leaves and the fruit hangs in clusters on the tree. Grapefruit trees are beautiful and a member of the citrus family. It seems to be a cross between an orange and a shaddock, combining the sweet and tangy flavor of each fruit.

Sweet Goodness of Grapefruit

The peak season shines down on us from January through about March or April for Grapefruit. This is the time it is at its juiciest and sweetest. And sweet grapefruit is! Citrus growers over the years have improved the varieties they plant, lessening the characteristic grapefruit bitterness and leaving many of the seeds behind. Pink and red grapefruit outsell their paler counterparts.

Tip: Clean and skin grapefruit and keep the sections in a glass jar. They keep for weeks and you don’t have the mess each time you want some.

Grapefruit Varieties

There are three major types of grapefruit white, pink/red, and star ruby/rio red varieties. All grapefruit have a similar tangy-sweet flavor and are very juicy. The grapefruits that are used to make juice are those which contain seeds. The pink or red variety contains more vitamins than the white.

The Oddballs

Oddballs such as oroblanco, Ugli fruit and pommelos have become more widely available.

Developed in the 1950’s, oroblancos are a cross between pommelos and grapefruit. They have pale yellow skin and juicy, sweet flavor.


Ugli fruit are a cross between grapefruit and tangerines. They are cursed with an unattractive bumpy rind, but blessed with sweet yellow-orange fruit.


Pommelos are giant, thick-skinned grapefruit-like fruit. Compared with standard grapefruit, they have a drier, less acid taste.


Selecting Grapefruit

Choose grapefruit that is glossy, round, smooth and heavy for its size. Avoid any grapefruit with brown and/or soft spots.

Storing Grapefruit

Store grapefruit at room temperature up to a week, or up to 8 weeks in a refrigerator. Leave at room temperature for a couple of hours before eating.

Grapefruit for Weightloss?

According to researchers at Scripps Clinic in California, eating half a grapefruit before each meal may help you lose weight — up to one pound a week — even if you change nothing else about your diet. The study’s author, Ken Fujioka, MD, says a compound in grapefruit helps regulate insulin, a fat-storage hormone. Anything that helps lower insulin can help people lose weight. Grapefruit appears to be one of those foods. Suggestion to work grapefruit into your diet: Peel and segment; cut into chunks and add to spinach salad. It’s also a great companion with shrimp or peeled, sliced jicama. To learn more on using grapefruit for weight loss, check into grapefruit essential oil and how it can assist your efforts.

Grapefruit For Dessert?

Yes, Oroblancos are truly THE “Dessert Grapefruit”! Oroblanco, which means “white gold” in Spanish, is a cross between a Pummelo and a grapefruit developed in the 1950s. With a yellow skin, Oroblancos have a sweet and juicy grapefruit flavor without the bitterness or acidity.

Tasty Tidbit…
Sprinkling your favorite flavor of Kool-Aid on grapefruit slices makes it a fun and tasty treat for kids.

Grapefruit Aids Detox

Grapefruit contains pectin fiber that binds to cholesterol, thereby helping to remove arterial buildup and cleanse the blood. Pectin also binds to heavy metals and helps escort them out of the body. Grapefruit also has anti-cancer properties and helps particularly to protect against stomach and pancreatic cancer. Grapefruit helps cleanse harmful viruses out of the body. Grapefruit is an excellent intestinal and liver detoxifier.

Grapefruit Safety

Check with your healthcare practitioner about consuming grapefruit juice if you’re taking pharmaceutical drugs. Certain pharmaceutical drugs combined with grapefruit juice become more potent. Compounds in grapefruit juice, including naringenin, slow the normal detoxification and metabolism processes in the intestines and liver, which hinders the body’s ability to breakdown and eliminate these drugs.

Quick Serving Ideas

  • Grapefruit sections add a tangy spark to green salads.
  • Instead of your morning glass of OJ, have a glass of grapefruit juice.
  • Combine diced grapefruit with cilantro and chili peppers to make a unique salsa.
  • To enjoy a salad with a tropical flair, combine chopped grapefruit pieces, cooked shrimp and avocados and serve on a bed of romaine lettuce.

An Old Fever Remedy

To Reduce Fever:  Cut a medium sized grapefruit in half and place in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, and allow to cool to room temperature. Wring out the grapefruit half into the water, and discard rind. You may add 1 teaspoon Feverfew herb, or 1 teaspoon Echinacea herb to the water while cooling, to make an infusion. Strain before drinking. The tea will be bitter, so add a little honey to sweeten.

Why would this work? Grapefruit rind is a natural source of Quinine. Quinine is used to treat the fevers of Malaria and other infections. Use fresh grated grapefruit rind with plasters and poultices to aid in healing of wounds and rashes also.

Mood Enhancer

Grapefruit (Citrus X paradisi) is pressed from the fruit’s rind, and is known to help boost your mood in no time, and is generally used as an aromatic agent. The cleansing power it holds has also made it a popular essential oil by users over the years.

In Summary


  • 1-cup fresh grapefruit (pink, red, or white) contains about 85 calories.
  • Good source of dietary fiber, which can help lower cholesterol, and aid digestion and elimination.
  • Grapefruit has a full range of B vitamins with the exception of vitamin B12 and contain about 28 mcg of folic acid.
  • Grapefruit contains vitamin B6 which can help convert homocysteine to cysteine and lower the amount of homocysteine in the blood and the risk for heart disease.
  • Grapefruit are loaded with vitamin C.

Mint ‘n Honey Grapefruit Recipe

  • 1 large grapefruit, halved
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • Mint leaves

Prepare the broiler. Place the grapefruit, cut side up, on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with the honey and transfer to the broiler. Broil until the top is browned and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Set aside for 3 to 4 minutes and serve warm, garnished with mint leaves.

Read More: Food Facts