At the start of the new millennium, government health officials set what they believed to be modest dietary goals for the American people. The guidelines were designed to combat the growing obesity problem, which some healthcare professionals feared could reach epidemic proportions. A decade later, most Americans are still struggling to reach those "modest" thresholds. In fact, they are further away from them then they were ten years ago.
One particular area of concern is the fruit and vegetable group. Health officials had hoped that 75 percent of Americans would be getting the recommended two servings of fruit each day by 2010. But according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 32.5 percent of US adults met that goal last year.
Why is fruit important?
Studies have shown that a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables, especially when they are fresh, can help you keep your weight under control and can reduce the risk of serious diseases like diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Overweight and obese people are also far more likely to suffer from chronic conditions like arthritis and joint and back pain.
Where are we now?
America is currently the fattest developed nation on the face of the earth. A full third of her citizens are obese, while two-thirds are merely obese. Getting back into shape will not be easy. The country has never been heavier and weight-related illnesses are, not surprisingly, on the rise. But fresh fruit can help!
One fruit in particular has gotten a lot attention of late. We are speaking of course about the grapefruit. Often described as a dieter's food, the grapefruit is actually one of the most popular citrus fruits in America. And because we are the world leader in grapefruit production, it is also cheap and readily available.
Just how healthy is the grapefruit?
Like most citrus fruits, the grapefruit is naturally fat and cholesterol free. It is also low in calories and high in vitamin C. But where the grapefruit truly sets itself apart is in the dietary fiber department. A full grapefruit has 12 grams of fiber, which is about half the fiber we need each day.
Dietary fiber is good for us because it promotes regular bowel movements and can improve digestive health. Studies have also shown that people who eat a lot of fiber reduce their risk of heart disease and colon cancer.
There are three basic grapefruit colors: red, pink and white. Only the white variety does not contain vitamin A. Also known as retinol, Vitamin A is important because it helps our eyes adjust to the light and it keeps our skin moist, which prevents drying. That is why vitamin A is one of them most common ingredients in skin moisturizers. The red grapefruit from Texas contains about 28 times as much vitamin A as the original white variety.