Posts Tagged ‘phytonutrients’

Behold, the Power of the Grapefruit

grapefruit

Grapefruit 2

Don’t miss out on this luscious fruit that is freshly available now! This nutrient-packed treasure is in season from November through June, with the best tasting varieties available mid-December through April. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t start my morning with one of these babies.

During the winter, we tend to drink much less water. We also eat less fruit, presumably preserving our taste buds for summer. Wintertime allows us to load up on heavy foods (or as we like to say, “warming foods,” because that naturally sounds better). This leads to dehydrated, bloated bellies, and a lack of fundamental nutrients. Well, I am proud to proclaim that this special fruit can change all of our winter misconceptions.

Grown in Florida and Texas predominantly, the grapefruit is a perfect addition to any meal or snack. It is actually an excellent fruit for weight loss. It can accelerate your body’s ability to burn fat and assist in the breakdown of protein during digestion. Studies have linked this fruit with greater weight loss, lower waist circumference, and better insulin utilization. It is a metabolism-boosting splendor. Because of its rich fiber content, it allows us to feel fuller longer. Grapefruit also helps dispel excess water and waste in our system due to its low sodium and high potassium content, and even prevents kidney stones.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty – Citrus Limonoids – compounds found in grapefruit. These are phytonutrients that research has shown to prevent a multitude of cancers. They decrease the proliferation (multiplying and spreading) of already present cancer cells.  We also know that this phytonutrient is even more powerful when paired with green tea (that’s for another blog). Preliminary research is suggesting that limonoids help to decrease cholesterol by allowing the liver to produce less Apolipoprotein B, a componenet of LDL (lousy) cholesterol.

Pink and Red grapefruit have lycopene, a splendid phytonutrient that we usually associate with tomato sauce. It is a carotenoid that gives fruit and vegetables their red color. Watermelons are another example. Lycopene has been linked with the prevention of both cancer and heart disease. Unlike beta-carotene (think carrots), this carotenoid does not convert to Vitamin A in our bodies. It has a role of its own, for which researchers are feverishly attempting to pin down.  Unfortunately, this antioxidant is not found in the white variety of grapefruit. Eh, you win some, you lose some.

As with all citrus fruit, grapefruit is a phenomenal source of Vitamin C. One large grapefruit provides over 200% of our daily value. Vitamin C is an important component of iron absorption. Few know that its role in skin and tissue repair is vital…think sailors plagued with scurvy when Vitamin C was absent. Of course it is also a strong ally when embarking into the nasty flu season. It is a powerful immune boosting anti-oxidant, that helps destroy all of the vicious free radicals we pick up on a daily basis. An important thing to remember with this vitamin is that it is water soluble. This means that it is not stored in our fat cells, and is flushed out each day. Therefore we must regularly ingest it in order to keep our Vitamin C levels high.

Of course with all good things, there is always a caveat. I know this whole grapefruit thing sounds too good to be true, and unfortunately for some, it is. Grapefruits are metabolism manipulators and for this reason, it is advised that we do not eat them if we are taking certain drugs. Grapefruit and its juice contain a compound called furanocoumarin, which inhibits the liver from properly breaking down certain medications- thus leading to toxic blood levels. Some of these drugs include, cholesterol lowering medications, some blood pressure medications, some cancer drugs, some antibiotics, and others. Bottom line: if you are taking a prescription drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist before indulging in the grapefruit.

With that being said, this winter-busting fruit is incomparable because of its benefits. Enjoy alone, in a salad, or drizzled with a little honey all season long!

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