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.
Must-Read: 5 More of the Healthiest Winter Foods
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).
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.
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.
Related: 7 Anti-Aging Superfoods
What’s your favorite way to eat grapefruit? Tell us what you think below.