Red Grapefruits – A Nutritional Powerhouse
Grapefruits are among the healthiest and most nutritious food choices you can make. Of them, pink and red grapefruits offer a unique phytonutrient profile that includes both carotenoids and flavonoids.
Carotenoids are the compounds that create the yellow, orange, and red pigments in many fruits and vegetables. It’s what makes tomatoes red, and grapefruits pink or red. Grapefruit carotenoids include:
• Beta-carotene – creates a pink hue; once ingested into the body, it can be converted into vitamin A.
• Lycopene – creates the deeper red hues; displays one of the highest levels of antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids.
• Lutein – creates a yellow hue; plays a role in eyes and vision.
• Zeaxanthin.1 – creates a yellow hue; also involved in eyes and vision.
Pro tip: Star Ruby grapefruits are the darkest of the red grapefruit varieties, with the highest saturation of lycopene.
While the research is ongoing, carotenoids are thought to play a role in protecting the body from chronic diseases such as heart and cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer.
Flavonoids are another type of compound found only in plants. There are two types of flavonoids most common to grapefruits.
Naringenin – colorless and flavorless, it’s the major flavonoid in grapefruit; studies have shown that a diet high in naringenin is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Hesperidin.5 – is used in cancer treatments and trials.
Pro Tip: Drinking pure grapefruit juice was associated with reduced stiffness of the arteries, a risk factor for heart disease. The study looked at healthy women of post-menopausal age. Researchers believe that the effect was due to naringenin.
Grapefruits are low in fats and high in nutrient value, making them a smart addition to your everyday diet.