The Many Health Benefits of Eating Grapefruit

Sarah Schlichter, RD
by Sarah Schlichter, RD
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The Many Health Benefits of Eating Grapefruit

Don’t let the tart taste deter you, low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals, grapefruit is the perfect winter fruit to add to your diet. While oranges get most of the attention in the citrus family, you’ll find grapefruits with or without seeds and in colors ranging from red to white. With cold and flu season upon us, it’s the perfect time to bite into a juicy grapefruit and reap its immune-boosting benefits. Take a trip to your local farmers market and pick up the seasonal powerhouse to include in salads, yogurt and more.

NUTRITION BENEFITS

Grapefruits are 91% water, which is among the highest of any fruit and makes it an excellent way to help reach your hydration goals.

The remaining 9% is nutritiously stacked. A medium-sized grapefruit offers more than half of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, nearly 1/3 of your vitamin A needs and small amounts of potassium, iron, zinc, folate and magnesium for about 80 calories. One medium grapefruit also contains roughly 2 grams of fiber, which helps with fullness, digestion and weight loss.

Grapefruit is also high in polyphenols, antioxidant-like compounds that offer several health benefits including boosting the immune system. A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found triglycerides or “bad” cholesterol levels decreased among those who supplemented with fresh red grapefruit daily.

COMMON TYPES OF GRAPEFRUIT

The darker the color, the sweeter the fruit, and ruby red grapefruit is one of the most popular varieties. It gets its hue from lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant.

This variety has a more yellow skin color on the outside and is a pale yellow to white on the inside. It has a slightly more tart taste compared to the red and pink varieties.

A hybrid of red and white grapefruit, the pink fruit has a mild, tangy sweetness.

EASY WAYS TO ADD MORE GRAPEFRUIT TO YOUR DIET

Store grapefruit at room temperature for maximum freshness if you’re using within one week of purchase; otherwise, you can store the fruit in the fridge for up to three weeks. While grapefruit is juicy and refreshing on its own, you can also press it to add to a green juice or use it to add texture to salads and grain bowls.

Grapefruit is also a tasty addition to salsa or yogurt. For a healthy dessert, lightly brush the individual slices with a touch of honey or maple syrup and bake at 375°F (190°C) for 15 minutes.

Note: Grapefruit can interact with some medications, so make sure to check with your doctor before adding the fruit or its juice to your diet.

About the Author

Sarah Schlichter, RD
Sarah Schlichter, RD

Sarah is a registered dietitian based in the Washington, DC area. She works with athletes on fueling for their sports without strict dieting. Sarah is also a nutrition consultant and writes the blog, Bucket List Tummysharing nutrition posts, healthy family-friendly recipes and running tips.

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