The Glorious Grapefruit

In honor of National Grapefruit Month, we’ve decided to highlight this beautiful, sour-yet-sweet citrus fruit in our Superfood Series.

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Nutritional Highlights

  • One-half of a medium-sized grapefruit provides 73% of your daily Vitamin C needs, an antioxidant important in immune function.
  • Grapefruits are also a good source of Vitamin A, essential for eye and skin health.
  • Not only are the rich pink and red hues of the grapefruit pretty to look at, they also contain a powerful antioxidant known as lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene may decrease a man’s risk for developing prostate cancer.
  • The soluble fiber in grapefruit may play a key role in cardiovascular health, as soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the body, thus improving one’s lipid profile.

What about grapefruit juice?

When possible, always choose fruit over fruit juice to avoid added sugars. Nutritionally speaking, whole fruit will always give you more bang for your buck. Fruit is lower in calories, higher in fiber, and takes longer to break down and digest, thus leaving you fuller for a longer amount of time.

Tara’s Recipe Picks

Did you know that…?

  • Grapefruits were first discovered in Barbados in the 18th century
  • They are thought to be a cross between the orange and the pomelo
  • There are over 20 varieties of grapefruit produced in the U.S.
  • Florida produces around 2 million tons of grapefruits per year – the most in the world!

Seasonal

Though available year round, grapefruits are typically at their peak from winter through early spring.

Organic

Grapefruits do not need to be purchased organic, though they are available. They are currently listed under the “Clean 15” group by the Environmental Working Group.

Storage

If planning to consume within a week of purchase, store them at room temperature. If planning to consume later, store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Please Note

Food-Medication Interaction Disclaimer: If you are taking any medications, such as cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, please consult your doctor or pharmacist before consuming grapefruit (or grapefruit juice), as it may be contraindicated. For more details about this interaction, read here.

References & Helpful Links

American Institute for Cancer Research: Foods that Fight Cancer

Environmental Working Group

Food and Drug Administration

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

World’s Healthiest Foods

Avocados: The Guac and Roll King of Superfoods

This is the first article in a series that highlights many of the nutritional powerhouse ingredients that we like to include in our EatLove menus.

“I know they are good for me, but what exactly is an avocado? Is it a fruit? Is it a fat? How much is too much? Why are they so popular? I see them everywhere nowadays, but are they really that nutritious or just a trend? Do I need to buy them organic? How do I prevent half of my uneaten avocado from turning brown?”

These are some of the most frequently asked questions about this delicious and versatile superfood. Avocados are a rich, buttery food that can be technically classified as a fruit, but because they contain minimal carbohydrates and are comprised of predominantly monounsaturated fatty acids, nutritionists will classify them in the “fat” group. Genetically speaking, they belong to the Lauraceae family and are related to cinnamon and bay leaves.

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Recipes

  • Though they are best known as the star of guacamole, avocados have many more uses.
  • Avocados are a great addition to any sandwich; try it with turkey or on your favorite burger.
  • They make perfect toppings for Mexican-inspired soups or any salad.
  • You can even try tossing them into a smoothie for an added flavor boost and creamy texture!

Did you know that…?

  • Avocados are native to Central and South America.
  • They are sometimes called “Alligator Pears” because of their shape and texture.
  • One tree can produce about 500 avocados.
  • In the US, September 16th is National Guacamole Day!

Seasonal?

It depends on where you live. In California, avocados are in season between January-March and June-July.

Organic?

Avocados do not need to be purchased organic, although they are available.

Storage

  • Look for avocados that give in to gentle pressure to ensure they are ripe. If you purchase unripe avocados and plan to use them later, leave them at room temperature for a few days.
  • If you are pressed for time and need to speed up the ripening process, place avocados in a brown paper bag. Voilà!
  • Ripe avocados should be placed in the refrigerator, preferably whole, until use.
  • If you are storing an already cut avocado, store the side with the pit in, and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent oxidation (this keeps the avocado from turning brown). Then cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Helpful Links

California Avocado Commission

Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association

World’s Healthiest Foods

 

References

  1. Paul, R., P. Kulkarni, and N. Ganesh. “Avocado Fruit (Persea Americana Mill) Exhibits Chemo-protective Potentiality against Cyclophosphamide Induced Genotoxicity in Human Lymphocyte Culture.” Journal of Experimental Therapeutics & Oncology9.3 (2011): 221-30.
  2. Rainey, Charlene, and Mark Affleck. “The California Avocado.” Nutrition Today 29.3 (1994):23.
  3. R.E. Martinez Munoz, et al. “Folates and Persea Americana Mill. (Avocado).” Emirates Journal of Food & Agriculture 23.3 (2011):204-213.
  4. Steven M. D’Ambrosio, et al. “Chemopreventive Characteristics of Avocado Fruit.”Seminars in Cancer Biology 17.5 (2007):386-394.
  5. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Potassium. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/potassium.html. Accessed January 5, 2016.