Grapefruit is a wonderfully delicious, versatile, citrus fruit with a moderate glycemic index. It is available in the U.S. from late Summer through early Spring. It is a good to excellent source of a wide range of nutrients essential to human health and that support cardiovascular, vision, and skin health, immune function, and reduce the risk of of certain diseases.
About Red Grapefruit
Red grapefruit is a sweet-tart, mildly-bitter citrus fruit measuring three to six inches in diameter with pale yellow to deep pinkish skin and pink to dark-red flesh. Grapefruit is a cross between a sweet orange and a pomelo that first appeared around 1790 in Barbados. Red grapefruit was bred later, and is sweeter than yellow grapefruit which is sweeter than white grapefruit. Breeding has also resulted in grapefruit becoming sweeter over time. The red color of grapefruit is caused by the carotenoid phytonutrient lycopene, which is not present in yellow and white grapefruit. Popular varieties found in many markets include Ruby Red and Rio Red. The Environmental Working Group gave conventionally grown grapefruit a low to moderate pesticide residue score in its 2018 report.
Grapefruit is low in calories but full of nutrients with a low glycemic index of 25. A full list of the nutrients in grapefruit can be seen on the USDA website. Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin A and C, a good source of pantothenic acid, copper, dietary fiber, potassium, biotin, and vitamin B1, and contains important phytochemicals including flavonoids, liminoids. and lycopene.
As well as being essential to human health, some of the nutrients found in high concentrations in red grapefruit are believed to have specific health benefits:
Fiber, potassium, lycopene, vitamin C, choline: Heart health
Vitamin C: Skin health, metabolic support, asthma prevention, reduced risk of coronary disease, hypertension, and stroke
Vitamin A: Vision health, skin health, immune system support
Copper: Cardiovascular support, immune system support, skin health
Ongoing or inconclusive research hopes to establish a link between these nutrients and the prevention of certain diseases:
Vitamin A: Reduced risk of macular degeneration
Fiber, Vitamin C, and other antioxidants: Reduced risk of cancer
Lycopene: Reduced risk of prostate cancer
Flavenoids: Reduced risk of stroke in women
Potassium: Reduced risk of ischemic heart disease
Copper: Reduced risk of osteoporosis and arthritis
Grapefruits are delicious eaten raw or made into juice. Use sections or pieces of grapefruit to liven up salads or garnish savory dishes. Grapefruit juice can replace or complement vinegar or other citrus juices in salad dressings and can be used as an ingredient in sauces for both sweet and savory dishes. It makes an excellent mixer with soda water, other juices, and spirits. Manufacturers use grapefruit and natural and artificial grapefruit flavoring in a wide range of food products including beverage and confections.
U.S. Growing Seasons
California: Late Summer through Autumn
Florida: September through June with the height of the harvest in February.
Texas: November through April with a peak in January and February.