To Your Health Comments Off
By Dino P. Pierce, CFT, CPT, RD, CDE
I eat grapefruit regularly and, to be honest with you, while they are tolerable, I donâ€™t particularly care for the taste. My taste buds register them as â€œother than pleasurableâ€; but having said that, if I ate only to please my taste buds Iâ€™d be in BIG (pun intended) trouble. As in other areas of life we have to do what is right, whether it feels right or not. I continue to eat them regularly because I know how powerful and healthy they are; this article will hopefully sell you on regular grapefruit consumption too.
Grapefruits have been described as having a tart yet tangy flavor with a hint of sweetness to them. Much more impressive than the taste is the health benefits associated with this tropical fruit â€” which comes, by the way, in several varieties. (Ever wonder why such a large fruit bears the name grapefruit when it looks or taste nothing like grapes? Itâ€™s because they grow in grape-like clusters.)
One half of a large grapefruit is equivalent to a measly 15 grams of low glycemic carbohydrates, or roughly 50-60 calories. While low in carbs and calories, itâ€™s packed with a rich supply of vitamin C, and it contains cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, folate (B-9), pantothenic acid (B-5), and potassium.
Furthermore, lycopene, the prostate protecting triglyceride lowering carotenoid, provides the red tint to certain varieties and is just one of over 150 phytonutrients (contains components thought to promote human health) found in the fruit.
Grapefruit is rich in antitoxins, which are linked to protecting us against both lung and colon cancer. Further, it has been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease, improves the lung functioning capacity in those diagnosed with asthma, boosts carcinogen-clearing liver enzymes, and has been found to repair DNA damaged by cancerous prostate cells. The low-glycemic, low-carb, low-calorie, fibrous nature of the fruit helps to increase satiety and reduce blood insulin levels, making it a great weight loss aid.
On the contrary, you can get too much of a good thing! There are several reasons not to juice grapefruit; here are two:
- The juice lacks the fiber found in the whole fruit
- Drinking large amounts of the juice can increase the risk of developing breast cancer
Additionally, it is widely known that certain compounds in grapefruit can negatively affect enzymes that metabolize some drugs, thus increasing the power of statins, antiarrhythmic agents, calcium-channel blockers, and immunosuppressive agents.
Knowing what you know about this amazing fruit, if you are able to, please enjoy this recipe, which includes our power packed friend the mighty mighty grapefruit:
Refreshing Grapefruit, Orange, and Cucumber Salad
2 cups mandarin oranges in light syrup or natural syrup
2 cups unsweetened red grapefruit sections
1 sliced cucumber
1 thinly-sliced small red onion
1/4 cup thinly-sliced celery
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp juice from grapefruit
3/4 tsp dry basil or 1 tsp fresh chopped basil leaves
Drain fruits from natural syrup, reserve liquids, and combine fruit with onion, cucumber, and celery. In a separate bowl mix orange syrup and juice, red wine vinegar, grapefruit juice, and basil. Pour over fruit and veggies, serve chilled, and enjoy!
Serving Size Â½ Cup
Calories: 70; Total Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0g; Sodium: 10mg; Carbohydrates: 17g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 1g
Equals 1 Carbohydrate Exchange for Diabetics
Note: this is primarily a carbohydrate dish â€” to create more harmony in the meal plan please consume it after eating 5-10g of fiber, 5-10g of healthy fats, and 7-21g of protein.