Grapefruit is a hybrid of two vitamin-packed fruits, the pomelo and the orange. Both of these fruits have a multitude of health benefits, including fiber, vitamins and liminoids. Grapefruits are available year-round and, when ripe, should be heavy for their size. Skin discoloration or scratches do not affect the taste of the fruit, but bruised fruit should be avoided. Store grapefruit at room temperature if you plan to eat it within a few days; otherwise, refrigerate it for two to three weeks.
Grapefruit provides the feeling of being full due to its fiber content, about 2.5 grams in 1 cup. It is also low in calories, with just 74 calories in a cup, making it the ideal candidate for weight watchers and health enthusiasts. Grapefruit is low in sodium, allowing it to help flush out extra water weight incurred by eating foods with high sodium levels. This citrus fruit is also a good source of potassium, giving you an energy burst by relieving the waste build-up within the body.
Grapefruit contains 77 milligrams of vitamin C in one fruit, more than 70 percent of your daily recommended value. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and fights the inflammatory assault by free radicals, helping to prevent common cold symptoms and reducing the severity of health conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This vitamin also benefits cardiovascular health by reducing plaque build-up, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Grapefruit contains citrus limonoids that help prevent cancerous cells from spreading rapidly and excessively. Limonoids have been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. Eating at least one grapefruit each day or drinking an 8-ounce glass of juice promotes a lower risk of getting cancer and prohibits the growth of cancer cells. Another phytonutrient contained in pink and red grapefruit is lycopene, which reduces tumor activity and helps colon health.
Everyday Ways to Eat Grapefruit
Replace your glass of orange juice at breakfast with grapefruit juice. Grapefruit grows in warmer climates and is best eaten at room temperature by peeling the skin and dividing the sections of the flesh in the natural jacket. Mix spinach leaves, red grapefruit segments, shrimp and thinly sliced red onion, and top with a dijon mustard vinaigrette. Broiled grapefruit is a simple dessert that is sweet and sour. Give grapefruit halves’ a light coating of cinnamon and sugar, then place under the broiler until caramelized. Serve with a spoonful of low-fat plain yogurt for a healthy and delicious breakfast or brunch.
By Joelle Taylor, MD