Grapefruit has long been heralded as a health food. This citrus fruit is refreshing and offers a signature juicy, acidic flavor. It was discovered in the Caribbean, but in the US today, it’s mostly cultivated in Florida and California.
Grapefruits have a round shape and they’re the largest of the citrus fruits. While their skin is thicker than that of an orange, they are similarly segmented into “slices”. Their color depends on variety, and they may have white, pink, or red flesh. Seeded and seedless varieties are also available.
- Very low in calories while being rich in dietary insoluble fiber, which helps to protect the colon mucous membrane as well as increasing satiety and decreasing blood cholesterol.
- Contains vitamin A and antioxidants such as lycopene, beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein.
- Excellent source of vitamin C, providing over half of most people’s daily needs. This vitamin fights infection and is important for connective tissue health and wound healing, as well as increasing iron absorption.
- Contains potassium, an important electrolyte
In the store, look for grapefruits with bright skin that are heavy for their size and that yield to gentle pressure. Some abrasions are fine, but no wrinkles or soft spots should be evident.
At home, keep them at room temperature unless storing for more than a few days (then place in fridge).
Wash grapefruits under cool water before eating in order to get rid of any dirt or pesticide residues.
Grapefruits may be pealed and eaten like an orange, or cut horizontally into two halves and scooped out with a spoon.
Plain grapefruit is great, but if you want to get creative, try adding it to green and fruit salads, juice it for a refreshing beverage, or use it to make desserts, jams, marmalade and jellies.
*NOTE: Research has shown that many drugs interact adversely with grapefruit, which may lead to serious effects or drug toxicity. Common examples of such drugs are statins and Viagra. Before becoming a grapefruit connoisseur, talk to your healthcare practitioner about whether your medications allow you to safely consume this fruit.
For those times when stand alone grapefruit just isn’t cutting it, try THESE creative recipes.
- Morgan McManimon-Myers, BS, RDN