I love everything citrus. Sweet clementines, sour lemon, and bitter grapefruit are never far away from my juicer. Whether it’s a squeeze of lime to liven up a smoothie or juicing the whole fruit for a refreshing glass of fresh juice, I just can’t get enough of the succulent citrus options!
If there’s one thing I hate however, it’s peeling grapefruit. The skin is so thick and tough and I always end up with bits of the pith stuck under my fingernails. As lovely as it smells, the peeled fruit leaves a sticky coating on your hands and every surface in the kitchen it seems!
As I was struggling to peel an exceptionally large and ripe fruit I suddenly thought, “is all this hassle really necessary? What would happen if I just chopped this into pieces and juiced the lot?!”
In a moment of madness that’s just what I did! I threw the lot in the juicer and the result shocked me.
You absolutely can juice a whole grapefruit, rind and all. The result is a rich, complex, bitter drink that satisfies all citrus cravings. I did a bit of digging and found out that there’s actually a load of health benefits when you leave the skin on as well! I’ve designed this article as a complete grapefruit guide so you can understand why you should consider juicing the whole fruit.
WHAT IS A GRAPEFRUIT AND WHY DO WE PEEL THEM?
A grapefruit is actually a hybrid fruit that originated by accident. It is the cross between a sweet orange and a pomelo which is the largest member of the citrus family. Grapefruit is known for its large size, bright colors, essential oils, and slightly bitter flavor.
Whether it’s red, white or pink grapefruit at 92% water, the grapefruit fruit yields ⅔ cup of juice per fruit which is more than your average orange.
The skin of a grapefruit is thick, waxy, chewy and can be very bitter. For this reason it’s often discarded before the fruit is eaten but this may not actually be the best decision. Grapefruit skin contains lots of health benefits that you may be unwittingly throwing away. It also contains more fibre than the flesh of the fruit so is worth considering next time you tuck into a ripe, juicy grapefruit.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GRAPEFRUIT
Almost too many to list, the grapefruit boasts many health benefits. It makes sense why it’s one of the most popular breakfast fruits across the western world. Here are just some of the potential benefits you may see from eating grapefruit regularly.
Grapefruit consumption has been linked to weight loss success. This study showed that eating half a fresh grapefruit prior to your meal significantly increases weight loss. Of course, this effect is only seen when grapefruit is taken alongside a healthy, balanced diet. For those of us that could do with an extra helping hand when it comes to losing weight, grapefruit may just be the key!
LOWER BLOOD TRIGLYCERIDES
Grapefruit may help lower circulating triglycerides. High levels of these are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. This study showed that grapefruit consumption had a beneficial effect of lowering the LDL “bad” cholesterol circulating in the blood of patients tested.
BETTER BLOOD GLUCOSE CONTROL
Another potential benefit of grapefruit is its effects on blood sugar. This study looked at insulin (the hormone that regulates blood glucose) post-meal and found that consuming grapefruit leads to a lower spike in insulin. Grapefruit itself has a low glycemic index number at 25 which means it doesn’t cause blood sugar to rise as quickly or as much as other fruits (for example grapes, on average, are 59). This is great news if you suffer from diabetes or insulin resistance.
BETTER WOUND HEALING
Vitamin C is essential for the healing of wounds and keeping us healthy in general. Grapefruit contains very high levels of vitamin C and this study here looked into its effects on grapefruit and periodontal disease sufferers. Grapefruit improved plasma vitamin C levels and this seemed to act as an anti-inflammatory and improve sulcus bleeding sores.
IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOSTER
Alongside vitamin C, grapefruits are also packed full of vitamin A (28% of your daily requirement is found in half a grapefruit) both of which are needed for a healthy immune system. This study shows the importance of vitamin C in supporting healthy immunity.
Alongside this, grapefruit contains compounds called flavonoids which have potent anti-inflammatory benefits. This paper goes into more detail on flavonoids found in grapefruit. Grapefruit is definitely a beneficial choice if you’re trying to avoid catching a cold or the flu.
At 92% water, grapefruit is sure to keep you hydrated. Alongside all those beneficial vitamins, good hydration is essential to keep your body healthy and functioning properly. This high water content alongside healthy fiber promotes good gut function and prevents constipation and other digestive issues.
All these benefits seem too good to be true and you may be wondering at this point, what’s the catch? Well, it’s important to consider the downsides to grapefruit consumption.
Grapefruit interacts with an enzyme in your liver that is important for breaking down medications. This can affect their metabolism and lead to dangerous side effects.
Medications such as those used to regulate cholesterol, treat high blood pressure and even anti-cancer drugs can be affected. If you’re on any medications it’s best to consult your physician first before adding grapefruit to your diet.
GRAPEFRUIT SKIN BENEFITS
So as long you’re not on any medications, grapefruit can be a really beneficial addition to your diet whether consumed whole or juiced. So what’s the deal with the skin?
Grapefruit peel (like all citrus peels) contains lots of good fiber and polyphenols in higher concentrations than the flesh of the fruit. Polyphenols are compounds that promote good health and have antioxidant capacity. This means they help protect from cell damage by removing free radical species. To find out more about polyphenols, check out this article here.
The skin, although bitter in taste, is completely edible and fine to add to the juicer alongside the flesh of the fruit. Using the whole fruit, unpeeled, also saves time when juicing. An all round winner in my opinion!
For a bit of inspiration, here’s a few grapefruit juice ideas that I love. Of course, plain, simple, pure grapefruit juice is delicious on its own, but if you need a bit more excitement in the kitchen, then give some of these a go and let me know what you think in the comments below!
You’ll need half a grapefruit, one apple and three medium sized carrots. Simple chop and add them to the juicer. Stir the juice well and enjoy!
Not too sweet yet this recipe rounds off that bitterness to give a glass of juice that’s as refreshing as a warm summer’s breeze.
You’ll need 2 whole grapefruits, 5 medium carrots and an inch of fresh ginger. Chop roughly and push through the juicer. Stir well and enjoy!
It’s refreshing and has a kick to it! This is the perfect wake me up juice to have for breakfast or as an energizer to get you through the afternoon slump.
For this intense mix, you’ll need three large oranges, three grapefruits and two lemons. You can choose whether or not you want to peel them but all citrus fruit is fine to juice skin on or off. Simply chop, add to the juicer and stir well once in the glass.
This one is my all time favorite. It beautifully blends all those citrus flavors and leaves no taste bud lacking. If you love orange juice, grapefruit juice (or any citrus juice) you’ll not be disappointed.
A summer favorite this recipe combines grapefruit with watermelon (another fruit very high in water) to hydrate and detox you. You’ll need 4 slices of watermelon (de-seeded) and a whole grapefruit. Press through a juicer and stir well. If you have a sweet tooth (like me!) then a teaspoon of honey doesn’t go a-miss in this recipe!
Grapefruits are hydrating little bundles of goodness. They have so many health benefits and the skin is no exception! Leave it on for ease and the whole lot can go in the juicer! The only downside to grapefruit is that it can induce drug interactions so be cautious and check with your health care professional before adding grapefruit to your diet.