At my first job out of college, I had a boss who ate a whole grapefruit for breakfast every morning, without fail. I always knew that grapefruit was good for you, but I couldn't understand how she didn't get bored. I still don't completely get it, but now that I know more about nutrition, I see why she would make a point of having a grapefruit every day.
Grapefruit is one of the best fruit sources of vitamin C, with about 88 milligrams of the good stuff. And, because this important vitamin is water soluble, it is important to get it from food (or drink) daily. Water soluble vitamins don't stick around very long in our bodies. The body absorbs what it needs at the time, and the rest is washed away in your urine. (Fat soluble vitamins last much longer.)
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which means it could help fight the free radical damage in your body. This vitamin is also associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and cataracts, according to a 1999 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
A study this year in the same journal found that vitamin C might also help reduce blood pressure, in addition to the myriad of other health benefits. It's important to note that this study didn't control for other factors, such as blood pressure medication, so more research must be done. Still, it probably wouldn't hurt to get a little more vitamin C in your diet.
Here are some tips for getting the most vitamin C out of your daily diet:
- Eat your fruits and veggies raw whenever possible. When you cook them, you strip the food of some of its vital nutrients. Cooking especially affects water soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C.
- Keep a bowl of vitamin-C rich fruit in the house for snacking. A grapefruit for breakfast is not a bad idea. You may also consider eating more oranges, mangos and kiwifruit.
- Have a light lunch with a side of crudité. Raw broccoli and red peppers are extremely high in this powerful antioxidant.
- Eat more fermented vegetables. One serving of kimchi (a traditional Korean recipe made of fermented cabbage) provides about half of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. Sauerkraut is also a good option; just be sure to buy it in the refrigerated section. In addition to vitamin C and other vitamins, kimchi and sauerkraut also contain gut-strengthening probiotics.
Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!