The Power of Pectin
Grapefruit ~ Super Fruits
The Power of Pectin
Relieve cold symptoms,
Reduce bruising and prevent heart disease and stroke.
These are a popular citrus fruit enjoyed by millions of people and are often eaten regularly as a breakfast staple as well as a popular snack.
This citrus fruit may be the biggest fruit on the breakfast block, but in terms of popularity, it sometimes gets rolled aside.
It's sour taste just isn't as appealing to some people as its sweeter citrus kin.
What many may not be aware of is that these citrus fruits, particularly the red variety, are also one of the most highly regarded, when it comes to healthy nutrients and health benefits.
They contain powerful antioxidants and valuable nutrients, such as Vitamins-C, A, K, D, and B-complex.
Other important nutrients contained in these citrus fruits are potassium, folic acid, calcium, phytonutrients and phosphorus.
They also contain a number of antioxidant compounds, not just vitamin-C but also such things as lycopene, limonoids, and naringin.
Together, these compounds can help reduce cold symptoms and also help decrease the risks of heart disease and cancer.
What these substances have in common is their ability to mop up excess dangerous oxygen molecules in the body called free radicals.
While free radicals are a natural part of metabolism, they can have dangerous effects as well.
When you eat this super-fruit, you're essentially getting a chemical "mop" that helps clean up problems before they occur.
Consuming these on a regular basis boosts the immune system and helps prevent colds.
Additionally, the juice is effective in healing sore throats, eliminating coughs and reducing fevers.
They're also instrumental in increasing the body's alkalinity and reducing acidity, and in preventing or treating various diseases.
In addition, this ruby-red, contains large amounts of pectin, a type of fiber that has been shown to substantially lower cholesterol, thus reducing the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Red With Health
One of the compounds that gives them their distinctly pinkish hue is lycopene.
Also found in tomatoes and sweet red peppers,
is a very important, very potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger.
Our cancer and heart disease situations in North America would be a lot worse if not for the lycopene in our foods.
This super fruit is also an excellent source of limonoids, which, like vitamin-C, have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
In laboratory studies, researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Fruit and Vegetable Chemistry Laboratory in Pasadena, California, found that limonoids increase the level of
certain enzymes that help detoxify cancer-causing agents and aid in their excretion from the body.
And this super fruit is probably your best source of limonoids.
A 6-ounce glass of juice, for example, contains over 100 milligrams of various limonoid compounds.
It's also rich in an additional compound, Naringin, which doesn't appear to be present in other fruits.
In laboratory studies, Naringin has been shown to stop the growth of some kinds of breast cancer cells.
Finally, this super fruit is an excellent source of vitamin-C.
It's one of the few super fruits that can provide more than the entire Daily Value (DV) in one serving.
A cup of sections contains 88 milligrams of vitamin-C, 146 percent of the DV:
While vitamin-C is a powerful antioxidant vitamin, it also is part of the recipe for collagen, the "glue" that binds skin cells together.
If you don't get enough vitamin-C, cuts will be slow to heal and your gums may bleed.
has also been shown to help relieve cold symptoms by reducing levels of histamine, a naturally occurring chemical that makes your nose run.
Additional Benefits Include:
*Promoting proper functioning of the digestive system. The fibers in the fruit aid in preventing constipation.
*Controlling blood pressure.
*Helps to control blood sugar levels. They're an excellent addition to a diet for diabetics.
*Alleviates fatigue. Those needing a quick pick-me-up will find that a glass of grapefruit and lemon juice, mixed in equal parts, will dispel general fatigue.
*Relieves insomnia. People suffering from this condition should drink one glass of grapefruit juice before going to sleep.
*Daily consumption of grapefruits seems to relieve inflammation caused by inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
*And, last but not least, grapefruits contain fat burning enzymes that are instrumental in promoting weight loss.
A Medical Magnifier
Sometimes the foods you eat can have an effect, good or bad, on medications that you may be taking at the same time.
In a study at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, it was found that when grapefruit juice was given at the same time as medication, it magnified the effects of the drug.
In some cases, one dose of the drug essentially acted like five.
The more it was studied, the more drugs were found that were affected by this super fruits juice, it appears that Naringin, a compound found in grapefruit, turns off an enzyme in the small
intestine that helps metabolize certain drugs.
When a drug isn't metabolized as quickly, more is absorbed into the body, magnifying its effect.
Thus far, drugs affected by the juice include calcium-channel blockers (used for high blood pressure), Seldane (an allergy medication), and Halcion (an anti-anxiety drug).
To avoid problems, be sure to read the package inserts that come with your medications.
Or simply substitute orange juice (which doesn't contain naringin) when taking medications.
In The Kitchen
While many people truly enjoy the bittersweet bite of this citrus fruit, others prefer a slightly sweeter taste.
To find fruit with a mellower taste, here's what to do.
Buy At It's Peak.
While this super fruit is available in supermarkets all year long, the peak season is between January and June.
That's when the fruit will be most mature and sweetest.
Shop For Hybrids.
There are a number of "almost-grapefruits" that are much sweeter than the real thing.
Hybrids such as Oroblancos and Melogolds taste like grapefruit but with the sugar already sprinkled on top.
Another alternative is the Pummelo.
Sold in specialty markets, "it's a bit drier and sweeter than grapefruit and it's always less bitter and acidic."
Add Your Own Sweetener.
Sprinkling a little sugar or honey on this citrus fruit is a tasty way to take off the sour edge.
Or try sprinkling it with a little brown sugar, then broil the fruit for a few minutes, or until the sugar bubbles.
This super fruit has received a lot of attention in recent years due to its generous supply of pectin, a type of soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol to healthy levels.
It does this by forming a gel in the intestine that helps block the absorption of fats into the bloodstream.
In animal studies, it was found that pectin could produce a drop in cholesterol of 21 percent.
At the same time, it helped prevent sticky components in blood, called platelets, from forming clots in the bloodstream and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
It was found that animals given a diet containing 3 percent grapefruit pectin for nine months had more than 5 percent of their artery walls covered with plaque.
In animals not given pectin, plaque covered 14 percent of the artery walls.
A 4-ounce serving (about 1/2 cup) of grapefruit provides 1 gram of pectin.
It's found not only in the flesh but also in the peel and the thin white layer just beneath the peel.
Getting the Most
Eat the sections.
When you eat grapefruit halves, scooping out the flesh with a spoon, you leave about half the pectin behind.
To get the most fiber, experts say, peel the fruit and eat the entire section.
Sip your juice.
Compared to the flesh, the juice is a concentrated source of naringin.
You can make your own juice, but ready-made may be better since, during commercial processing, parts of the healthful peel go into the juice.
Buy it red.
Red grapefruits contain more lycopene than the white varieties.
Good choices include Ruby Red, Flame, and Star Ruby.
By sectioning this broiled super fruit and adding a bit of greek yogurt, it becomes a decadent dessert.
Prep and Cook Time: 20 minutes.
Makes 4 Servings
2 of the ruby red variety
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. nonfat Greek-style yogurt
1. With a sharp knife, cut both ends off the fruit.
Set fruit on end on a flat surface and, following the shape of the fruit, cut away and discard peel.
Cut individual sections out from the fruit, leaving the membrane behind.
2. Preheat broiler.
Arrange grapefruit sections in 4 shallow ovenproof dishes (such as individual gratin dishes).
Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Broil until sugar melts and darkens, about 5 minutes (watch carefully).
Serve warm, with dollops of yogurt.
Total Fat 0.3 g.
Saturated Fat 0 g.
Cholesterol 0 mg.
Sodium 5 mg.
Dietary Fiber 3.8 g.
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