Grapefruit

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 28. May. 2020

This citrus fruit might be best known as a diet food, however it's delicious tangy flavor adds depth to recipes, and it's packed with nutrients to boot.

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Grapefruit...

  • ...helps the body burn fat. Studies have shown that grapefruit can help burn body fat faster. This is due to the grapefruit’s bitter substance naringenin, which promotes the breakdown of fatty acids in the liver.
  • ...supports a healthy immune system. Grapefruits may contain slightly less vitamin C than oranges and lemons, but at around 44 milligrams per 100 gram serving, they still contain almost half your average daily requirement.
  • ...is great for dieters. Grapefruit is among the least sugary of the citrus fruits, making them particularly low in calories.
  • ...is a natural appetite suppresant. Grapefruit contains the dietary fiber pectin, which helps keep you full for longer and acts as a natural appetite suppressant. Pectin also helps with digestion.
  • ...isn't for everyone. People who are allergic to latex or grass can sometimes experience adverse effects from grapefruits, in a phenomena called “cross-allergy”.
  • ...shouldn't be combined with certain medications. Grapefruits have certain substances that can interact badly with some medications, including birth control medication, antidepressants, asthma and heart medication. If you are on one of these medications, be on the safe side and consult your doctor before eating grapefruit.

What You Should Know About Grapefruit

Grapefruit is one of the most popular fruits in the U.S. for good reason. Not only is it packed with essential vitamins and low in sugar, fat and calories, but its unique flavor makes it an ideal ingredient for cooking. It's also a top-tier diet food.

Origins

The grapefruit first appeared in botanists' handbooks around 1750, after it was accidentally produced in Barbados by mixing different varieties of citrus fruits. Some 130 years later, it was first cultivated for mass consumption in Florida, where the largest grapefruit farms are still located today.

Season

Grapefruits are grown in the USA, Israel and South Africa, making them available all year round. 

Taste

Grapefruits are very juicy and have a flavor that ranges from sour to more sweet-sour to even bitter, depending on the variety. 

Varieties

Worldwide there are about 20 main grapefruit varieties, which differ greatly in size, shape, color, skin thickness and taste. The pink-fleshed varities with a more sweet flavor such as the Ruby Red and Redblush are the most popular in the U.S. Increasingly hybrid varieties, which are created by crossing grapefruit with other citrus fruits, have become popular as well.

Our Favorite Grapefruit Recipes

Find all our grapefruit recipes here.

How Healthy Are Grapefruits?

Like all citrus fruits, the grapefruit contains few calories, hardly any fat and is filled with the fiber pectin. Pectin acts as a natural appetite suppresant, is good for digestion, and helps to lower cholesterol levels. Grapefruit also contains other bitter substances which have beneficial effects on the stomach and intestines.

Pink and red grapefruits also contain considerable amounts of the natural color lycopene, a carotenoid which helps block free radicals and thus protect the body's cells. Additional protection for cells and the immune system is provided by vitamin C, which is relatively abundant in grapefruit, at around 45 milligrams per 100 gram serving. Grapefruit also contains various B group vitamins, most notably folic acid. 

As healthful as grapefruit is for most however, if you're on certain medications it's best to avoid this citruis fruit. Recent research has shown that certain substances in grapefruitcalled furanocoumarins can destroy important enzymes in the body that are necessary for the breakdown of numerous different types of drugs. As a result, grapefruit can neutralize the effects of certain medications such as antidepressants and heart and asthma medicine, or in worse cases can interact dangerously in the body. It's best to consult with your doctor if you're on these medications before consuming grapefruit.

GRAPEFRUIT NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 45
Protein 0.6 g
Fat 0.2 g
Carbohydrates 7.5 g
Fiber 1.6 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

Don't worry about buying the most beautiful grapefruit; even small irregularities or stains on the peel are no cause for concern, as they're not indicative of the quality or flavor of the fruit inside. Look for a soft-yet firm fruit that isn't too mushy to the touch.

Storage

Grapefruits keep for several weeks in a cool place with a temperature up to 59 degrees without any loss of quality. In fact longer storage makes the grapefruit even more aromatic, milder and easier to peel.

Preparation

No matter what you're using grapefruit for, preperation is relatively easy. Simply cut in half to juice, or peel off the skin like you would an orange to access the fruit. If you're eating the grapefruit plain in the glassic way, simple cut in half, use a small sharp knife to seperate the individual segments from the thin white skin, and thin scoop out with a spoon. You can also purchase a serrated spoon, made especially for eating grapefruit.

What To Make With Grapefruit

Grapefruit is most traditionally eaten plain for breakfast, however there is much more to be done with this versaile fruit. It's a delicious and refreshing addition to fruit salads, which make a great dessert if you're on a diet, or as the base for baked goods like a citrus cake.

Grapefruit is also delicious in savory dishes as well, as a glaze or marinade for poultry, meat, and especially fish. Segments of fresh grapefruit also add delicious tang, acidity and freshness to virtually any summertime salad.

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