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What Are the Benefits of Pink Grapefruit?

by Michele Turcotte, MS, RD

About Michele Turcotte, MS, RD

Michele Turcotte is a registered, licensed dietitian, and a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She has more than 12 years of experience in clinical and corporate settings, and has extensive experience in one-on-one diet counseling and meal planning. She has written freelance food and nutrition articles for Trouve Publishing Inc. since 2004.



The pink grapefruit is one of three types of this large citrus fruit. Grapefruits are categorized by the color of their flesh. Other types include white or blond and ruby red. Pink grapefruit contains more lycopene than white grapefruit but less than ruby red grapefruits. Lycopene is a phytochemical, which is a compound found in plant foods that offers health benefits. Like all citrus fruits, this tart, low-calorie food is also an excellent source of vitamin C.

High in Vitamin C

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes and tangerines, are well-known for their high vitamin C content, and grapefruits are no exception. Vitamin C is a nutrient required in small amounts daily for optimum health. One whole pink grapefruit provides few calories, only 72, and supplies about 77 milligrams of vitamin C. That is over 100 percent of the 75 milligrams women need each day. Vitamin C does much more than protect the body's cells and enhance immune system function. This nutrient is needed for collagen formation, healthy gums, iron absorption and wound healing.

Helps Prevent Kidney Stones

Drinking grapefruit juice may help prevent calcium oxalate kidney stones according to a research study published in August 2003 in the "British Journal of Nutrition." Nine female participants aged 26 to 35 years were placed on a standardized diet. Grapefruit, orange and apple juice were each tested in a 5 day rotation. Twenty-four hour urine samples were collected and analyzed. The participants' urinary pH value and citric acid excretion increased for all juice groups but was only statistically significant after drinking the grapefruit juice. This increase translates into a significantly lower risk for forming calcium oxalate stones.

Fights Prostate Cancer

Ruby red and pink grapefruits are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid with anti-cancer benefits. Lycopene, responsible for the pink/red pigment of fruits and vegetables, is found in watermelon, ruby red and pink grapefruits, tomatoes, papaya and guava. According to an article published in October 2008 in "Cancer Letters," lycopene is well absorbed from food sources and is used by the body's tissues. Lycopene accumulates in the epithelial cells of the prostate gland. Here, the lycopene decreases the growth of existing prostate cancer cells and induces cancer cell death. Elevated levels of lycopene in cells of the prostate leads to the synthesis of enzymes that protect these cells from further damage. Though evidence as of October 2010 is promising, additional research is needed to confirm that lycopene is an effective anti-cancer agent.

Photo Credits:

  • pink grapefruit image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.