Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Grapefruits Are 'Superfoods' but May Not Be for Everyone

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Grapefruits Are 'Superfoods' but May Not Be for Everyone

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrea Altice

The term "grapefruit" was first used in Jamaica in 1814, and it refers to the fact that grapefruits grow in clusters like grapes. Grapefruits are considered a "superfood" because they are jammed packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, nutrients and low in calories. Andrea Altice, instructor in the Nutrition and Dietetics Flagship Program at the University of North Florida, discusses myths about grapefruit and provides tips - and a recipe - for including it in a healthy diet.

Myth: Certain foods, such as grapefruit, can burn fat.

Fact: No food can burn fat. Grapefruit doesn't contain fat-burning enzymes, but it does contain a low amount of calories. Half a grapefruit provides 60 calories and contains fiber, which will give you a feeling of fullness, helping curb your appetite.

Myth: Grapefruit can be taken with all medications.

Fact: Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may have interactions with different medications, especially cholesterol-lowering drugs, heart medicines and some antidepressants. Grapefruit contains a compound that can decrease the level of an enzyme naturally present in the intestines that is involved with the breakdown of certain medications, so the blood level of those medications can actually increase, being equivalent to taking a higher dose.

Myth: Grapefruit does not provide any health benefits.

Fact: The health benefits of grapefruit are numerous. It can help support the immune system and protects the body against cancer, especially prostate cancer. A recent study in mice showed that freshly squeezed grapefruit juice may decrease blood glucose and insulin levels, good news for those with diabetes. Also, a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that enjoying one grapefruit a day can help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels by up to 20 percent and triglycerides by 27 percent. …

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