Nothing says summer more than a fresh squeeze of citrus. Surprisingly, Florida grapefruit is at its juiciest and most delicious in January and February and the growing season continues until April, so winter is prime time to enjoy it! It’s nature’s way of giving us a burst of vitamin C when we need it most… during cold and flu season. Just half of a Florida grapefruit has 100% of the vitamin C most people need in a day!
(Photo credit: Barry Cheong).
As an added bonus, citrus is well-priced compared to other fruit, especially in the winter when we don’t have much (if any) local fruit available.
Grapefruit is low in calories (50 calories per half) and it’s low on the glycemic index. Rumoured to be the accidental but delicious hybrid of an orange and a pomelo, the grapefruit is an excellent source of antioxidants such as vitamin C and A that help strengthen the immune system and fight free radical damage. Grapefruit is also a good source of fibre. It’s rich in a type of soluble fibre called pectin which helps lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
Ruby red and pink grapefruit is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant which gives it it’s brilliant hue. Lycopene may have heart health benefits and enjoying lycopene-rich foods is linked to lower risk of prostate cancer. Grapefruit is also rich in phytochemicals called liminoids that have shown promise in fighting different types of cancer in cell and animal studies.
Curious about whether you can or can’t have grapefruit with your medication? See this table from The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide to check, and speak to your doctor to be sure.
Grapefruit adds the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness to salads, desserts and more. This recipe for Grapefruit Super Salad was created by Chef Cory Vitiello for The Florida Department of Citrus.