The grapefruit is a subtropical citrus tree known for its sour fruit, an 18th-century hybrid of a pomelo and an orange first bred in Barbados. When found, it was named the ‘forbidden fruit.’ The flesh is segmented and acidic, varying in color depending on the cultivars, which include white, pink, and red pulps of varying sweetness. The grapefruit was known as the shaddock until the 19th century. Its current name alludes to clusters of the fruit on the tree, which often appear similar to grapes. Botanically, it was not distinguished from the pomelo until the 1830s, when it was given the name Citrus paradisi. Its true origins were not determined until the 1940s.

Grapefruit mercaptan, a sulfur-containing terpene, is one of the substances which has a strong influence on the taste and odor of grapefruit, compared with other citrus fruits. Grapefruit can have a number of interactions with drugs, often increasing the effective potency of compounds. In particular grapefruit and bitter oranges are known to interact with statins (a type of choloesterol drug). Because of this unique property, grapefruit has a very bitter taste when mixed with milk or similar dairy products. Grapefruit is an excellent source of many nutrients and phytochemicals that contribute to a healthy diet.


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