There’s nothing like munching on a delicious Rio Grande Valley grapefruit. As a Valley native, I’m proud to say that we grow grapefruits like it’s nobody’s business. A bag of Jalapeño Kettle Cooked Chips has nothing on my Ruby Red grapefruit when snack time comes around.

Sure, you can find grapefruit all year long, but their peak season is winter through early spring. If you get them at their finest, grapefruits are just the right amount of tangy and sweet. You almost forget that you’re even eating a nutritious food.

Grapefruit is a functional food that provides numerous health benefits beyond basic nutrition. That means you don’t only get a serving of carbohydrates every time you eat a grapefruit, you also get all the amazing health benefits that come with it.

Check out these six health benefits of eating grapefruits:

A Food for Boosting Immunity

There’s a reason so many people increase their citrus fruit intake during the cold and flu season. Grapefruit and other citrus fruits are jam-packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent and fight infections. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient in grapefruit that can provide immune boosting benefits when consumed in moderate amounts.

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Men and women over 18 years of age should consume 90 milligrams (mg) and 85 mg of vitamin C respectively, according to the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. A single serving of grapefruit contains some 34 mg of vitamin C!

If you want to reap the cold-fighting benefits of vitamin C, you can take between 30 to 3,000 mg of vitamin C daily. To benefit from the powerful antioxidant, 200 to 1,000 mg can be consumed daily for a period of between four weeks to a year.

A Food for Heart Health

Humberto Garza, Licensed Dietitian at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, noted that many people often ask him if eating grapefruits is better than eating any other fruits.   

According to Mr. Garza, the answer is that eating any fruit as part of a balanced diet is undeniably beneficial to your health, but a diet rich in citrus fruits, like grapefruits and oranges, can help lower the risk of stroke.

He also mentioned that amazingly, there is research suggesting that grapefruits provide a greater positive effect on blood pressure than other citrus fruits. Still, consuming any fruit that can be found in the citrus family – grapefruit, kumquat, lemon, lime, orange, mandarin,  tangerine, clementine, and pomelo – can positively affect your heart health in the long run.

However, he did state that grapefruits may not be for everyone. While consuming the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables can help in preventing some chronic diseases, grapefruit is one of those foods that can have serious interactions with some medications. Intake of grapefruit and grapefruit juice with certain prescribed medications may need to be monitored or avoided, so check with your doctor to find out if you think this relates to you.

A Food for Antioxidants

Vitamin C is not the only powerful antioxidant found in grapefruit. Small amounts of lycopene can be found in the pink and red grapefruit varieties. While tomatoes are the major source of lycopene in foods, grapefruits can provide a small dose of the antioxidant.

Lycopene protects cells from damage while removing toxins from the body. Other possible health benefits of lycopene include heart health and cancer prevention.

A Food for Regularity

Nobody likes talking about it openly, but fiber is an essential part of our diet. With a lack of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain intake typical in the American diet, there are a lot of people who deal with the discomforts of constipation. The recommended daily intake for fiber is 25 to 30 grams.

Unsurprisingly, Americans only consume about 15 grams of fiber per day, on average. While grapefruit is not a significant source of fiber, at two grams of fiber per serving, and a host of electrolytes like potassium, the fruit can promote regularity.

A Food for Beautiful Skin

There’s no doubt that the foods we consume impact our body inside and out. Grapefruit is a testament to that.

This deliciously bitter-sweet citrus fruit not only provides a host of health benefits, it also acts as a boost for skincare as well. If you want to improve your skin texture, fight skin damage, and reduce the signs of aging, you need grapefruit in your diet.

The fruit contains a double whammy of vitamins that play an essential role in skincare: vitamin A and vitamin C. As the key nutrient in grapefruit, vitamin C aids in the development of collagen.

Why is that important?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it is directly involved in maintaining skin integrity and texture. Vitamin A, on the other hand, is a popular nutrient found in topical skincare products that claim to fight wrinkles and skin damage.

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin A for men and women is 3,000 IU and 2,300 IU; a grapefruit provides 1,414 IU. That’s nearly more than half of the daily intake in a delightfully tart serving.

Grapefruit is also a great source of important electrolytes that help keep your body and skin hydrated. Good hydration helps you achieve irresistible healthy, glowing skin!

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A Food for Good Health

How much better can a single fruit get? The health benefits of grapefruit are truly incredible. Grapefruit isn’t just a source of antioxidants, skin-clearing nutrients, electrolytes, and fiber, it also contains about 48 mg of choline per serving.

Choline is a macronutrient that plays a key role in brain development and liver function. It also aids in maintaining a healthy metabolism and is thought to improve muscle movement and energy. The recommended daily intake for men and women over 14 years of age is 550 mg and 425 to 550 mg respectively.

Give Grapefruits Some Love

Even if you’re more into calorie counting than the nutrient content of foods, grapefruit is a must. A serving of grapefruit, or a medium-sized fruit, only has 52 calories. Typical low-calorie packaged and processed foods won’t offer the same benefits that you get from grapefruit.

What more could you ask for?

They’re low-calorie, nutrient-rich, and time-efficient for those on the run. Just pack and go for a yummy treat.

How the Ruby Red Became a Crown Jewel

Donald Wernecke comes from a family of Rio Grande Valley citrus pioneers. He recalls stories told by his grandfather and father, Arthur and Eron Wernecke about the rise of the Ruby Red in the RGV. The stories tell of the discovery of ruby red grapefruits and the subsequent events that led to their high demand. Soon after ruby red grapefruits were developed, public demand and farming of traditional white varieties “fell off the wagon”. People simply preferred the sweeter and more beautiful red varieties such as the Rio Star. Wernecke also remembers the extreme commitment to quality and presentation that Valley farmers adopted early on. Quality was such an integral part of grapefruit farming in the region that fruit was not harvested on rainy days to prevent fingerprint acid from staining the skin.

Disclaimer: THIS SITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information presented in this blog and on this site should not be interpreted as a substitute for qualified professional medical advice.