Monday, August 15, 2011

The forbidden fruit

The forbidden fruit is not exclusively found in the garden of Eden anymore, it is also found in our garden (and maybe in yours too).

Just outside our humble house in the farm, growing close to the patio are trees that bear a type of fruit that I so love to eat, the pomelo (Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis). And these particular trees produce an excellent quality of pomelos. But now this is a fruit that I could only touch but could no longer eat. How come?

My doctor cautioned me to refrain from consuming grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi) products (fruit, juice, etc.) because it may interact with my prescription medication to lower my blood cholesterol level. There's something in the chemical make up of this fruit that affects the metabolism of some medications rendering them dangerous. This culprit has not been pinpointed to a certainty yet but one suspect is the chemical furanocoumarins. And what has grapefruit got to do with pomelo?

The grapefruit is a hybrid which came into existence by crossing a pomelo with an orange. Since some chemical compounds in grapefruits like furanocoumarins are also found in high amounts in pomelos, it can be assumed that consuming pomelo is also a big NO, and this assumption is supported by some online literatures. So rather than second guess and endanger my earthly existence, I would rather err on the side of caution.

For several years now, every time I go on vacation to the farm our pomelo trees beckon me to come and partake of their fruits, especially those that are hanging low and at an arm's reach. Weak as I am, their seduction draws me to touch and admire their fruits only to turn back and slowly walk away from these luscious temptations.
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