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GrapefruitsGrapefruits

Flavorful and nutritious it's easy to understand why grapefruits are no longer just a breakfast option. Half a grapefruit provides more than 45 percent of the adult Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin C; it also has 175 mg of potassium and 1 mg of iron. The pink and red varieties are high in beta carotene, which the body then converts to vitamin A.

A cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice has 95 mg of vitamin C, more than 100 percent of the RDA, and most of the other nutrients found in the fresh fruit. In the past, many people shunned the unsweetened grapefruit juice because of its tartness, but a naturally sweet juice can be made by using the red or pink grapefruits.

Over the years a number of fad diets have promoted the grapefruit as possessing a unique ability to burn away fat. there is no truth to these claims; no food can do this. People following grapefruit diets lose weight because they eat little else a practice that can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Even so, grapefruits are a good food to include in a sensible weight-loss diet; a serving contains less than 100 calories, and its high-fiber content satisfies hunger.

Grapefruits are especially high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol. In addition, recent studies indicate that grapefruits contain other substances that prevent disease. Pink and red grapefruits, for example, are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that appears to lower the risk of prostate cancer. Researchers have not yet identified lycopene's mechanism of action, but a 6-year Harvard study involving 48,000 doctors and other health professionals has linked 10 servings of lycopene-rich foods a week with a 50 percent reduction in prostate cancer.

Other protective plant chemicals found in grapefruits include phenolic acid, which inhibits the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines; limonoids, terpenes, and monoterpenes, which induce the production of enzymes that help prevent cancer; and bioflavonoids, which inhibit the action of hormones that promote tumor growth. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other inflammatory disorders find that eating grapefruit daily seems to alleviate their symptoms. this may occur because plant chemicals block the prostaglandins that cause inflammation.

Those people who are allergic to other citrus fruits are likely to react to grapefruits, too. The sensitivity may be to the fruit itself or to an oil in the peel.

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