Grapefruits are nearing the end of their season, but you can probably still find some good ones for a few more weeks (the prime season is winter through early spring). It took me a long time to enjoy eating grapefruit — I found it to be a very bitter fruit when I was younger. But as I got older I started to really enjoy the tart and tangy taste of red and pink grapefruits (the red ones are my favorite since they’re sweeter).
Grapefruits (and their juice*) have many health benefits:
- They provide more than half a day’s supply of vitamin C
- The pink and red varieties are full of vitamin A
- The pink and red colors are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient
- They are filled with antioxidants (e.g. vitamins A & C and lycopene)
- They contain pectin, a soluble fiber that may help lower cholesterol levels
*While grapefruit juice may contain some of the same nutrients as the whole fruit, it does not contain the fiber, and therefore will not keep you full and satisfied. As always, it’s best to eat whole fruit, rather than fruit juice.
One grapefruit counts as two fruit servings — 1/2 a medium grapefruit contains 60 calories, 15 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein.
You may have heard of the “grapefruit diet” — a short-term, quick weight loss “fad” diet that revolves around eating grapefruits. The premise is that something in grapefruits triggers fat burning. People who have done this diet lose weight, however it is mostly fluid loss and once normal eating is resumed weight is regained (as is the case with most fad diets). That said, eating grapefruit as part of healthy diet will keep you full with few calories. Just make sure to add some protein so you keep your blood sugar levels steady!
Note: Grapefruit and it’s juice can interfere with several prescription medications, including cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) and blood pressure lowering drugs (calcium-channel blockers).