Living in California, I always have oranges or tangerines in the house. But I need to make room for grapefruit. Most of us
know citrus (in season now) is loaded with immunity-boosting vitamin C. Grapefruit is a good choice, and it’s a winner on the
anti-aging front too.
Here are three ways that grapefruit helps fight aging:
Slows cell aging. Grapefruit contains large quantities of spermidine—which, as the name
suggests, is also plentiful in, well, um, human sperm. The compound helps cells grow and mature, and in 2009, researchers
in Austria found that when they added spermidine to the diets of mice, it both increased the life span of cells and slowed
cell aging in the mice. Spermidine has also been found to slow aging in human immune cells by inducing autophagy—a process
that helps our cells regenerate.
Squelches harmful free radicals. 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.
Keeps your heart healthy. Grapefruit is 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.
Keep these tips and tricks in mind as you enjoy grapefruit:
AntioxiDON’T:Pair with some medications. One of the
compounds in grapefruit binds to enzymes naturally found in your intestines that help reduce the absorption of some
medications, including statins, anti-depressants and calcium blockers. When those enzymes are blocked, these medications are
more easily absorbed, causing blood levels of these medications to rise faster and higher than normal, which can be
dangerous. If you’re taking these medications, check with your doctor about including grapefruit in your diet. Chances are
it’s all right so long as you’re consistent with how often and how much you eat grapefruit.
AntioxiDO:Eat the peel. To reap grapefruit’s full potential,
use a zester (or the smallest holes on your cheese grater) to grate and then eat the peel—it delivers a healthy dose of
vitamin C. Add the grated peel back to the juice you squeeze or top your salad with it. (Just be sure to scrub the fruit
Recipereprinted with permission from “Positively Ageless: A 28-Day Plan for a Younger, Slimmer, Sexier You” by Cheryl
Forberg, R.D. (Rodale).
Makes 2 Servings
Lassi (or lhassi) is an Indian yogurt drink. A savory lassi may be flavored with spices such as cumin, and may even contain
salt. This sweet lassi is made with antioxidant-rich pink grapefruit juice. Creamy Greek-style yogurt is high in protein,
making this frosty treat a perfect on-the-go breakfast or a welcome refresher after a great workout.
8 ounces 100% pink grapefruit juice
1 cup nonfat Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ice cubes
1 tablespoon agave nectar, honey, or sweetener
Fresh mint sprig for garnish, if desired
Combine all ingredients in blender jar. Blend until smooth. Add sweetener, if desired. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.
Nutrient analysis for one serving: 130 calories, 11 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 0 g total
fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g monounsaturated fat, 10 mg omega-3s, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 45 mg sodium
How do you include grapefruit in your diet?
Cheryl Forberg, R.D.
Cheryl Forberg, R.D., is a James Beard Award-winning author, the nutritionist for NBC's The Biggest Loser and author
of Positively Ageless: A 28-Day Plan for a Younger, Slimmer, Sexier You (Rodale, 2008).
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