Grapefruit: Health Benefits and How-To

Written By: Sofia Layarda, MPH

Title: Master of Public Health

Alumni: University of California, Berkeley

Last Updated on:

Juicy, refreshing, tart, sweet, tangy – these are just a few of the adjectives often used to describe our food of the month: grapefruit. Belonging to the same citrus family as orange, lemon, and pomelo, grapefruit is thought to be the result of a natural cross-breeding between the orange and the pomelo. The fruit grows in clusters on trees, resembling a large bunch of grapes (thus the name). It is widely available in the US, with the main producers located in Florida, California, and Arizona.

Editor’s Note: numerous studies have shown that grapefruit interacts with some medications, so if you are taking prescription medications, find out if you should avoid grapefruit or grapefruit juice.

Nutrition Tidbits for Grapefruit

  • One-half of a grapefruit contains:
    • Calories: 52 kcal
    • Fat: 0.2 g
    • Carbohydrates: 13 g
    • Protein: 0.9 g
    • Fiber: 2 g
    • Glycemic Index (GI): Low (below 55)

It is not surprising that grapefruit is a great source of Vitamin C, but did you know it is also a good source of fiber and cancer-fighting phytonutrients such as lycopene (which gives the flesh its characteristic reddish or pink hues) and limonoids? Grapefruit juice also exhibits high antioxidant activity when compared to many other fruit juices.

When buying grapefruit, look for fruits that are heavy for their size and avoid any that have soft spots or water-soaked patches. If you plan to use the fruit within a week, you can store it on your kitchen counter. Otherwise, whole fruits will keep for two to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Ways to Include More Grapefruit in Your Diet

  • Toss them into salads or salsa.
  • For a slightly different twist, sprinkle grapefruit halves with brown sugar, coconut flakes, and almonds and grill or broil for two minutes in the oven.
  • Incorporate peeled, cut sections into homemade popsicles or granitas.
  • Substitute grapefruit for oranges in your baked goods recipes.

Cooking, Health

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