Dr. Pettit’s Tips for Healthy Living: Grapefruit Powerhouse

isolated ripe grapefruit and slice
Texas has fantastic grapefruit! And lately we’ve had a lot of delicious grapefruit available at our markets. Dr. Auvenshine and I have been eating a grapefruit every day for the past few weeks. I thought I’d take some time to highlight the benefits of this tasty fruit in this month’s newsletter.

A core benefit of grapefruit is the level of Vitamin C, with one fruit providing 122%  of your RDA. In addition, it is set apart from other citrus fruits in its high content of Vitamin A (92% RDA) and lycopene. Lycopene is an important antioxidant for skin, eye, and heart health. The redder the flesh of your grapefruit, the more lycopene content there will be. The more red the flesh, the sweeter your grapefruit will taste as well.

Grapefruit is very hydrating, with 90% of it being water. It is high in fiber as well and can help curb your appetite. If you’re aiming for weight-loss, eating half a grapefruit before each meal may be helpful. Several studies also show eating a red grapefruit a day can help lower your triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.

One caution with grapefruit is the interaction it can have with the metabolism of certain drugs. Certain antidepressants, antihistamines (for allergies and colds), and statin drugs (for lowering cholesterol) can become either less potent or toxic because of this interaction. Medication package inserts should tell you if grapefruit is likely to interfere with the medication you are taking. You can also check with your pharmacist.

How do you pick a grapefruit? To avoid picking a dried out fruit, look for a grapefruit with weight and a little bounce in the skin. You can store grapefruit for about a week at room temperature. I prefer to eat my grapefruit refrigerated, which can make them last for up to three weeks. Cut your grapefruit into small bites to protect yourself from wide opening and heavy chewing.

Your health is important to us. If your medication list allows, enjoy some fresh grapefruit this year!

-Nathan J. Pettit DMD, MSD

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