The tangy, slightly sweet Grapefruit comes in several colors, including ruby red, white gold and pink. The fruit grows in tree on clusters in a way that resembles grape, which led to its name. Grapefruit has an extended growing season when compared to other citrus fruits, usually growing from September through June, making it a healthy treat for most of the year. Grapefruit contains a variety of nutrients and is indeed a healthy food, but for some people, it can be hazardous.
Whether it is pink, red or white, grapefruit is a low-calorie, fat-free food that contains important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, folate, thiamin, vitamin A, niacin and magnesium. Mostly notably, this citrus fruit offers 100 percent or more of the daily value for vitamin C.
Besides providing various vitamins and minerals, grapefruit also contains phytochemicals, which are natural compounds found in fruits, vegetables and other plants that provide a broad range of protective benefits. One particular class of phytochemicals found in grapefruit is limonoids. In a study published in 2010 in the “International Journal of Food Microbiology,” the authors state that research suggests citrus limonoids may act as anti-cancer, cholesterol-lowering, antimicrobial and anti-HIV compounds. Another important phytochemical found in grapefruit is lycopene, a compound with strong antioxidant properties. The consumption of lycopene-rich foods is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.
It's simple to incorporate grapefruit into the diet. Slice a grapefruit in half to eat raw with any meal or snack, or broil it to caramelize the sugar. You can also blend the fruit into a smoothie or use it as a topper for cereal, waffles or pancakes.
Grapefruit contains certain chemical compounds that may increase the absorption of some drugs and cause toxicity in the body. According to the Clinical Central, National Institutes of Health Drug-Nutrient Interaction Task Force, even trying to offset the timing between consumption of grapefruit and an interactive drug may still prove dangerous as the effects of grapefruit may last for many hours. Other citrus fruits may also interact with some medications.
Drugs that may interact with, but are not limited to, grapefruit include certain cholesterol-lowering, blood pressure and antihistamine medications. Speak with a pharmacist if you are unsure of drug interactions. Drugs known to have interactions with grapefruit include the following: amiodarone, sold as Cordarone and Pacerone; buspirone, or Buspar; carbamazepine, or Tegretol; lovastatin, or Mevacor; nifedipine, or Procardia; and simvastatin, or Zocor.
- Bon Appetit: Guide to the Different Types of Grapefruit
- Food and Nutrition Service: USDA Commodity Food Fact Sheet for Schools and Child and Nutrition Institutions
- Clinical Central, National Institutes of Health Drug-Nutrient Interaction Task Force: Important Information to Know When You Take Certain Drugs
- International Journal of Food Microbiology: Grapefruit Bioactie Limonoids Modulate E. Coli 0157:H7 TTSS and Biofilm
- American Cancer Society: Lycopene
- Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.