By Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D. Associate Nutrition Editor for EatingWell Magazine
Citrus season is here and while oranges and clementines definitely pack a health punch, it’s time to make some room for grapefruit. Grapefruit has some powerful health benefits, some of which Cheryl Forberg, R.D., and Karen Ansel, M.S. R.D., reported on for EatingWell Magazine.
Recipes to Try: Grapefruit Brulee and More Healthy Recipes with Grapefruit
Note: Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with certain medications and make them less effective, so ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should avoid grapefruit.
It’s a get-skinny food.
Naturally packed with water and fiber, citrus will help you stay full and satisfied, but grapefruit may have a decided advantage, according to a 2006 Journal of Medicinal Food study. When researchers put volunteers on an exercise plan for 12 weeks and asked them to eat either half a fresh grapefruit or drink apple juice and pop a placebo pill before each meal, the grapefruit group dropped an average of 3½ pounds (compared to just ½ pound for the apple group).
Are you trying to lose weight? Follow our 7-Day Food-Lover’s Meal Plan to lose weight.
It helps calm a cold.
Loading up on citrus and vitamin C won’t prevent colds, but high doses of C (400 to 500 mg) may shorten the duration and lessen the symptoms. One grapefruit delivers 77 mg of the vitamin. Learn how to ward off colds with these five foods.
It protects your ticker.
Grapefruit is a rich source of flavonoids. The predominant flavonoid in it -- hesperidin -- is credited with boosting “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Grapefruit is also a good source of fiber, including the soluble fiber that removes cholesterol during digestion. By preventing cholesterol from entering your bloodstream, soluble fiber helps lower the risk of age-related conditions like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
It battles aging.
The brilliant pink pigment in some grapefruit indicates the presence of lycopene, an antioxidant that combats the body’s cell aging triggered by harmful free radicals. Lycopene may also help lower your risk of several kinds of cancer, including prostate, colon and lung. Learn more about anti-aging superfoods here.
What's your favorite way to eat grapefruit?
By Kerri-Ann Jennings
Kerri-Ann, a registered dietitian, is the associate editor of nutrition for EatingWell magazine, where she puts her master's degree in nutrition from Columbia University to work writing and editing news about nutrition, health and food trends. In her free time, Kerri-Ann likes to practice yoga, hike, bake and paint.
For more from EatingWell writers, click here.
For more on diet and nutrition, click here.