Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado
Have you noticed how gorgeous the grapefruits in your market are this year? Why not get a few Ruby Reds or Rios on your next visit for a refreshing, tangy pick-me-up full of many micronutrients including vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, folate and many B-vitamins. Some of the health benefits attributed to grapefruit include treating colds, fever and pneumonia, weight loss, boosting the liver, breaking up gallstones, lowering cholesterol, lessening joint pain, and promoting better digestion and immunity.
The Health Benefits of Grapefruit
If you’re trying to lose weight, consider eating more grapefruit. Grapefruit is high in fat-burning enzymes and has a high water content which, combined, speeds up your metabolism. Detoxing the body by eating more vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, smaller portions, and fruits like grapefruit that speed up the metabolism is a good way to eat toward weight loss.
This is the time of year to be sure you enjoy foods that are rich in vitamin C to boost your immunity and help you stay clear of colds and flu that are being passed around. Grapefruit is a number one choice, but for those who have a salicylate sensitivity/intolerance, there are other good sources of vitamin C including lemon, lime, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, kiwi, sweet potato, pineapple and asparagus.
Grapefruit is a powerful antioxidant containing vitamin C, vitamin A and lycopene. These antioxidants hunt down free radicals and excessive oxidation that can cause cancers. Lycopene, a carotenoid found in the red/pink hues of the grapefruit, especially help to prevent the occurrence of tumors and cancers in the body. (When choosing your grapefruit, keep in mind that the pink/red grapefruit is slightly more acidic than the yellow and has been identified as the most healthful due to its higher acidity level.)
Another health benefit of grapefruit is helping to prevent and lessen the symptoms of arthritis. Inorganic calcium can build up in the joints and lead to severe joint discomfort associated with arthritis. Salicylic acid, found in grapefruit, helps to dissolve the inorganic calcium found in the body.
The salicylic acid found in grapefruit is a powerful antiseptic. So much so that salicylic acid is actually used as an antiseptic in toothpaste. Grapefruit seed extract is also used as an antibacterial in many antiseptic sprays. You can add about 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract to some water and apply it to the affected area three times a day to get rid of fungus and wounds.
Grapefruit also has the health benefit of naturally lowering cholesterol and fighting heart disease. A study done in Israel and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the antioxidants especially in red grapefruit help lower cholesterol. (Please note that grapefruit and grapefruit juice react negatively with many prescription drugs, even cholesterol-lowering drugs. So if you have high cholesterol and are taking medication for it, consult your doctor before you eat grapefruit on a regular basis. Even if you don’t have high cholesterol, but are taking some form of medication regularly, you should talk to your doctor before permanently adding grapefruit to your diet. Here is a list of medications that are affected by grapefruit, though others may be missing from the list.)
Recipe: Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado
Here is my favorite seasonal salad incorporating grapefruit. It’s a beautiful mix of colors and flavors – pink, greens, tart-and-tangy sweet, and that buttery avocado to smooth it all out!
- 1 large bunch of organic kale (my favorite is the heirloom ‘Lacinato’ or black Italian kale)
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 2 red or pink grapefruits
- 1 – 2 large firm but ripe avocado
- Small head of Romaine lettuce
- Dash of organic olive oil
- ¼ cup of shelled pistachio nuts – whole or chopped coarsely (optional)
- Cut the leaves away from the stems. (Discard stems or freeze to reserve for making vegetable stock.)
- Pile the leaves flat, one on top of the other, on cutting board. Roll the leaves into a tight “cigar”. Starting at one end, cut kale into ribbons about ¼ inch thick. Put ribbons and leftover bits in a large mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle sea salt over kale.
- Cut both grapefruits in half. Juice half of one grapefruit and add to bowl. Section the other 3 halves. Set grapefruit sections aside. Squeeze any remaining juice and pulp from the rind into the bowl.
- Massage the kale, salt and juice with your hands until the juice in the bottom of the bowl turns green.
- Halve, seed and peel the avocado. Cut into bite size chunks.
- Cut Romaine into ribbons and add to bowl.
- Add olive oil, avocado chunks and grapefruit sections (and optional pistachios) to bowl and toss until mixed. Chill if made ahead of time. (The grapefruit juice will keep the avocado from turning brown.)