Home » Some raves and some cautions about grapefruits

Some raves and some cautions about grapefruits

It’s not that much of a surprise that grapefruit is a healthy food. Obviously, it has a ton of vitamin C and fiber. It’s also a source of folate, vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium. It has carotenoids, which help boost your immune system, and it has flavonoids, which are believed to be a nutritional triple-threat; they are anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Grapefruits are also a source of lycopene.

One thing you might not know is that grapefruit and grapefruit juice interact with some medications, including antidepressants, calcium channel blockers and cholesterol-lowering drugs. Apparently the juice and pulp can interfere with the enzymes in our body that break down the medications. The end result is that you can have much-higher-than-anticipated levels of these drugs in your blood, which can lead to side effects. Some of the drugs included on this list include Zoloft and Lipitor. For a full list, or if you have any concerns, ask your pharmacist.

I found my information about this online at the Mayo Clinic Web site. The Minnesota-based health organization is particularly sensitive about anything related to grapefruit; for years now, there has been a grapefruit diet falsely attributed to the clinic.

The Grapefruit Diet, according to Webmd.com, has been around since about the 1930s and is sometimes called the Hollywood Diet or the Mayo Diet — it is not a Mayo Clinic diet, however. In fact, it’s generally considered to be a fad or crash diet, and not something you should sign on to if you want to find a healthy weight-loss plan.

Eating grapefruit can help you lose weight simply because it’s a nutritious no-fat food. But, as with all foods and all diets, moderation and variety are key.

When I was a kid, my grandparents used to eat a half grapefruit every day, without fail (even before they moved to Florida). I can’t imagine eating the same thing every day, and I actually don’t recommend it. You want some variety, nutritionally and from a culinary point of view. After all, there aren’t all that many unusual ways to prepare a grapefruit.

You’ve probably heard that grapefruit broils well. We tested out a half grapefruit in the toaster oven here in the test kitchen at The Lakeville Journal. It came out fine but wasn’t a real knock-your-socks-off surprise. Drizzle your favorite honey over the grapefruit before broiling — try a flavored honey, such as lavender.

This recipe from Texas ruby red grapefruit growers is worth trying, however.

                                                            Citrus Vinaigrette

                                                                      Makes one cup

                                                    Adapted from texascooking.com

1â„4 cup fresh grapefruit juice;  2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice;  2 tablespoons fresh orange juice; 1 teaspoon sugar; 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest; 2 tablespoons rice vinegar; coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; 1â„2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the fruit juices and sugar in a small saucepan and, over medium-low heat, reduce the mixture by half (to 4 tablespoons). In a small bowl, mix the reduced juice with the grapefruit zest, vinegar, salt and pepper and then whisk in the olive oil.

Citrus vinaigrettes work well with many salads but not so much with cheese. We like this dressing with spinach, red onion and shaved fennel.

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