Pink Grapefruit: Packed With Vitamin C

This juicy wintertime treat is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. Get the nutrition facts and a healthy recipe.

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on December 07, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

In 1750, clergymen searching for the Garden of Eden’s Tree of Knowledge discovered the grapefruit in Barbados and dubbed it the “forbidden fruit.” But the juicy, vitamin-packed citrus will probably never be forbidden from a healthy diet. Just one-half delivers 80% of your recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C and 6% of vitamin A. The tart fruit also contains lycopene, a carotenoid responsible for the pink hue and a potent antioxidant. And one recent study suggests its juice has the most nutrients per calorie of all 100% fruit liquids.

Originating in the West Indies, grapefruit may be a hybrid of the pomelo fruit and the sweet orange, and it shares only one distinguishing similarity with its namesake: It grows in clusters. Florida produces 75% of the world’s supply; its fruit tends to be sweeter and less pulpy than its California counterpart.

Enjoy this juicy wintertime treat in salads and salsas, or unadorned, straight from the rind (but check with your doctor if you’re on medication -- grapefruit juice does interfere with some drugs).

Antioxidant Alternatives

Apricots, papaya, tomatoes, and watermelon also contain the carotenoid lycopene.

Recipe: Pink Grapefruit Chicken Sauté

Makes 4 servings

2 small pink grapefruits

½ cup (or less) orange juice

All-purpose flour (for dredging chicken breasts)

1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herb of choice)

Salt and pepper to taste

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

¼ cup white wine or chicken stock

1 teaspoon fresh parsley

  1. Peel and cut grapefruit into cross-section slices. Remove seeds. Save all juices and add orange juice to yield ½ total cup of juice for the sauce. Mix flour with tarragon, salt, and pepper and dredge chicken in mixture.
  2. Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add chicken. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from skillet. Cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Deglaze pan with the juice and wine
    (or stock) on high heat. Reduce liquid
    by half. Add grapefruit slices and parsley.
  4. Place grapefruit slices at the center of each plate. Top with sautéed chicken breast and drizzle with sauce.

Per serving: 213 calories, 28 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 3.3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 73 mg cholesterol, 1.2 g fiber, 65 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 15%.

Originally published in the January/February 2008 issue of WebMD the Magazine.

Show Sources

SOURCES: Purdue University Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Cropsearch web site: "Grapefruit." U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Grapefruit." Recipe Zaar: "Grapefruit." National Cancer Institute: "Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention: Fact Sheet." Discovery Channel News: "Pink Grapefruit Juice Most Nutritious," May 29, 2007. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Healthy Meals Resource System: "Grapefruit Fact Sheet."  Ocean Spray: "All About the Grapefruit." Recipe provided by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD.

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