Grapefruit was first bred in the 18th century as a cross between an orange and a lesser known Asian citrus fruit called the "pomelo." It may be a little tarter than its more popular cousin, but this underappreciated member of the citrus family has some seriously great health benefits.

A whole grapefruit will only run you about 80-100 calories, depending on size and color. If you can, choose red or pink over white: these varieties contain more of the antioxidants beta-carotene and lycopene. Grapefruits' 92 percent water content makes them great for staying hydrated, and one grapefruit will also earn you 150 percent of your recommend daily value of Vitamin C and 50 percent of your Vitamin A. You'll also get up to 10 percent of your daily recommended intake of fiber, Vitamin B6, and Potassium.

Studies have also shown that consuming grapefruit regularly can decrease high high blood pressure and increase good cholestrol levels. It's less apparent whether grapefruit has any exclusive benefits for weight loss, ⁠as was alleged by a fad "Grapefruit Diet" popular in the 1980s.

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While consuming grapefruit before a meal does seem to be correlated with weight loss, this is probably less because it has any special fat-burning benefits than because the low-calorie food simply makes it easier for you to feel full and helps regulate blood sugar. However, some studies in mice suggest that the antioxidant naringin, which is found in grapefruit, may actually have a unique fat-countering effect.

If you're finding grapefruit's admittedly strong taste a little much, diluting it into a vinaigrette as in our first recipe may make the harshness more manageable, as might sweetening the deal with stevia as we recommend for our frozen grapefruit spears. Don't throw out the white outer layer or "pith" either; though it may be a little bitter, that's one of the most nutrient rich sections!

However, you should be aware that consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice may cause too much of certain medications to enter your system, because grapefruit can inhibit the actions of a digestive enzyme called CYP3A4. Grapefruit can also have the opposite effect on other medications by interfering with the proteins that usually transport them. These outcomes are significant enough that the FDA has issued a warning about them, so it may be worth doing a little research before you dig in.

Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • Juice of 3 segments of grapefruit
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions

Combine juices and vinegar together. Pour over green salad and top with remaining grapefruit segments, or use as a marinade for fish, shrimp, or chicken. Add salt and fresh ground pepper if desired.

Citrus and Fennel Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/4 grapefruit cut into medium chunks
  • Fennel bulb steamed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Chopped mint or cilantro  
  • Stevia to taste

Directions

Slice fennel bulb and cut citrus into chunks. Combine ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and chill. Makes 1 serving (1 vegetable, 1 fruit).

Phase 3 modifications

Drizzle with olive oil and top with pine nuts.

Frozen Grapefruit Spears

Ingredients

  • 1/2 grapefruit in slices or segments
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice  
  • Pinch of lemon zest
  • Powdered stevia to taste

Directions

Dip grapefruit chunks in lemon juice and coat with stevia and lemon zest. Freeze until firm and enjoy as an icy treat. Makes 1 serving (1 fruit).

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