What Is Grapefruit Good For?
If you're looking for a juicy burst of flavor that's as refreshing as anything you'll ever eat, grapefruits certainly deliver. Large in comparison to other citrus fruits, grapefruits could be described as mouth-wateringly tart with a hint of sweetness – somewhere between a lemon and an orange.
Grapefruits are tasty all by themselves or added to any type of fruit or green salad. They're also a unique and delicious addition to salsa. Grapefruits have a smooth, easily peelable skin, but it's the color of the flesh inside that determines whether it's a white (blonde), pink, or ruby grapefruit.
Possibly a cross between an orange and a pomelo (an obscure citrus fruit transported from Taiwan to Barbados in the 17th century), grapefruits were discovered and transported from that region a century later. They underwent cultivation in Florida a hundred or so years later. The state still produces the lion's share of the U.S. crop, with help from other subtropical states like California, Arizona and Texas. Israel, Brazil, and South Africa are the major world suppliers of grapefruit.
Some grapefruit varieties are puckeringly sour and others succulently sweet. Some grapefruits are seedless, but most contain a handful of white seeds. Heavier fruits often indicate thinner skin and juicier flesh. If they're rough, lumpy or wrinkled, they may be thick-skinned and dry.
Grapefruits should be firm and give a bit when pressed, but not too spongy. Once they reach your kitchen, keep them at room temperature if they'll be eaten within a week; otherwise keep them refrigerated. Before peeling, always wash them thoroughly because any germs on the outside can and will reach the edible part of the fruit.
You can section and eat grapefruits as you would an orange, but one popular way involves slicing them in half around the middle, using a paring knife to cut each section between the membranes, and removing with a spoon. This takes a minute, but it's worth it! The riper they are, the better, not just taste-wise, but in the antioxidant power they offer.
Health Benefits of Grapefruit
Grapefruits provide an amazingly healthy wallop of vitamins, namely A and C. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, which decreases the transit time in the colon.
A wide assortment of other vitamins and minerals also are part of this fruit's makeup, but principally from potassium, which is important for the make-up of cell and body fluids and in controlling the heart rate and blood pressure. Grapefruits also contain folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium, as well as lesser amounts of many more phytonutrients.
Vitamin C, of course, is associated with increased immunity to infection, but also shows remarkable reduction in inflammation, even in conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Of all fruit juices, grapefruit juice is ranked among the highest in the antioxidants it provides, just ahead of cloudy apple juice, purple grape juice, and cranberry juice.
Health experts advise including an assortment to your juice-drinking repertoire to achieve the optimum array of antioxidant power. Make sure you always choose 100 percent juice – otherwise, you'll most likely be ingesting unwanted high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Red grapefruit contains a bit more flavonoids and anthocyanins, while another nutritional difference between white and pink grapefruit is that the rosy flush reflects lycopene content not seen in white varieties. This is the same compound that provides the color in tomatoes, apricots, papaya, and watermelon. Lycopene lowers triglycerides, contains the highest capacity among all the carotenoids to help fight free radical damage, and protects the skin from UV rays.
Here's a dramatic statistic: comparing men who eat lycopene-rich foods the most with those who eat the least, the former group is 82 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer.
Another study shows that eating grapefruit can lower the risk of developing kidney stones. Limonin, another phytonutrient, suppresses cancerous cell and tumor growth. The pectin in grapefruits inhibits hardening of the arteries and lowers the LDL or "bad" cholesterol, in fact reducing it dramatically in a matter of days in even low amounts. And the flavonoid naringinen, inhibits hepatitis C virus, repairs DNA in prostate cancer cells and may prevent dyslipidemia (high blood cholesterol) and diabetes.1
However, consume grapefruit in moderation because they contain fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts.
Note: eating grapefruit may, in rare cases, interfere with certain medications, so you may want to discuss this with your doctor.
|Calories from Fat||1|
|Total Fat||0 g||0 %|
|Saturated Fat||0 g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrates||8 g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber||1 g||4%|
|Vitamin A 1%||Vitamin C||56%|
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Studies on Grapefruit
A study on the effects of grapefruit on insulin resistance, body weight, and metabolic syndrome involved 91 obese patients in groups consuming placebos, apple juice, grapefruit juice, grapefruit capsules, or fresh grapefruit. The fresh grapefruit group lost significantly more weight than the placebo group over 12 weeks. Half of a fresh grapefruit eaten before meals also was associated with significant weight loss, improved insulin resistance, and a reduction in two-hour post-glucose insulin level. Researchers concluded that, while the mechanism of the weight loss was unknown, eating grapefruit as part of a weight loss program made sense.2
Grapefruit, limonin, grapefruit pulp powder and the flavonoid naringen (similar to naringinen) were examined in another study for their abilities to suppress the proliferation of and programmed death of colon cancer cells. The result: only untreated grapefruit and limonin suppressed carcinogens or raised the cancer cell-neutralizing index.
Scientists concluded from these findings that eating grapefruit may help inhibit colon cancer development.3
Grapefruit Healthy Recipes:
Grapefruit-Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
✓ 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
✓ 5 Tbsp. fresh grapefruit juice
✓ 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
✓ 1 tsp. mayonnaise
✓ 1 tsp. honey
✓ 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
✓ 1 ½ tsp. poppy seeds
✓ Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a bowl, whisk the lime and grapefruit juices together with the mustard, mayonnaise, and honey. Slowly whisk in the oil until the dressing is creamy. Stir in the poppy seeds, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Grapefruit Fun Facts
Grapefruits are 75 percent juice. The average grapefruit provides about two-thirds of a cup of fresh-squeezed juice, which retains 98 percent of its vitamin C in the refrigerator for up to a week.
If you're looking for the health benefits of delicious tropical grapefruits, it won't take long to find them. They're rich in vitamin C, which fights infection, bolsters the immune system, reduces inflammation, and has the ability to prevent asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. in addition, grapefruits contain lots of fiber and potassium, as well as folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, and calcium.
Pink grapefruits contain lycopene, a hard-working carotenoid that lowers triglycerides, fights free radical damage, and protects the skin from UV rays.
Among many other benefits, lesser known phytonutrients like limonin, pectin, and naringinen can suppress cancerous tumors, lower cholesterol, repair DNA in prostate cancer cells, and prevent colon cancer.
With all these health benefits, don't just eat grapefruit for breakfast. Try experimenting. A fun way to enjoy grapefruit is to chop and add it to cooked shrimp and avocados with a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. Paridisi!
- 1 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21494673, Enhancement of naringenin bioavailability by complexation with hydroxypropoyl-β-cyclodextrin, Nov. 2012
- 2 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16579728, The effects of grapefruit on weight and insulin resistance: relationship to the metabolic syndrome, Nov. 2012
- 3 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16387741, Suppression of colon carcinogenesis by bioactive compounds in grapefruit, Nov. 2012