Tart and tangy with an underlying bittersweetness, some folks find grapefruit hard to swallow.
But believe me, it is a great choice for breakfast. I like to have my omelets, followed by grapefruits whenever I travel or am on holiday. It keeps me fit and I don’t easily fall sick while moving around.
Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, which prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, and is therefore also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The rich pink and red colors of grapefruit are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. Among the common dietary carotenoids, lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells, i.e. they can greatly reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Phytonutrients in grapefruit called limonoids inhibit tumor formation by promoting the formation of glutathione-S-transferase, a detoxifying enzyme. This enzyme sparks a reaction in the liver that helps to make toxic compounds more water-soluble for excretion from the body. Pulp of citrus fruits like grapefruit contain glucarates, compounds that may help prevent breast cancer.
Grapefruit contains pectin, a form of soluble fiber that has been shown in animal studies to slow down the progression of atherosclerosis. Both blond and red grapefruit can reduce blood levels of LDL cholesterol, and red grapefruit lowers triglycerides as well, shows a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Both red and blond grapefruits both positively influenced cholesterol levels, but red grapefruit was more than twice as effective, especially in lowering triglycerides. In addition, both grapefruits significantly improved blood levels of protective antioxidants. Red grapefruit’s better performance may be due to an as yet unknown antioxidant compound or the synergistic effects of its phytonutrients, including lycopene.
Grapefruit juice can prevent kidney stones. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that when women drank 1/2 to 1 liter of grapefruit, apple or orange juice daily, their urinary pH value and citric acid excretion increased, significantly dropping their risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.
Not only are grapefruit rich in vitamin C, but new research presented at the 228th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society provides two more reasons to drink grapefruit juice – protection against lung and colon cancer.
In humans, drinking three 6-ounce glasses of grapefruit juice a day was shown to reduce the activity of an enzyme that activates cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Researchers also confirmed that grapefruit may help prevent weight gain by lowering insulin levels as well.
So, good enough reasons to eat your grapefruits in the morning, don’t you agree? 😉