Regular readers know that I am a nearly daily bike rider here in Chicago. As such I read some cycling blogs, too. One of my faves is Loving the Bike.
And, one of that blog’s regular contributors is Kelli Jennings, an Expert Sports Nutritionist who writes Ask the Sports Nutritionist.
Kelli is not only a world class athlete, but also a first rate nutritionist who writes clearly and accurately about her subject.
She recently wrote an item Green Ginger Grapefruit Smoothie that I thought would interest you.
I hate to be a downer, but I’ve got some bad news. Grapefruits are tough to come by in the summer. The prices go up and they’re not as plentiful. I know, this likely ruined your Thursday. I guess the only thing to do is eat ‘em up, while you can.
This week, we’ll review why grapefruits should be one of your go-to fruits and we’ll “wake it up” with a wonderfully refreshing grapefruit smoothie. Grapefruits go above and beyond the nutrients of many foods, even other ones found in produce section. Did I mention they can help you lose weight? Bring on the grapefruits!
Recipe of the Week: Green Ginger Grapefruit Smoothie
3/4 cup Greek yogurt or 1/2 scoop protein powder
1/2-1 pink grapefruit, peeled well
3/4 cup berries
1 cup spinach or other greens
1/2″ slice ginger
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup water ice, if desired for consistency
Place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Enjoy!
Nutrition information: Approximately: 385 calories, 44 gm carbs, 11 gm fiber, 15 gm protein.
1) In the picture, this smoothie is obviously not green. I call it “green” because it includes a whole cup of green. The berries’ color overtake the green. Either way, it’s not easy being green, and it’s all good stuff.
2) This is not Jamba Juice. If you want your smoothie to taste like Jamba Juice, you’ll have to go there and pay for a smoothie much higher in sugar and processed ingredients. If not, I think you’ll feel refreshed and satisfied having started your day with some ginger, greens, and grapefruit. I know I do!
Next, there’s lots of good reasons to eat grapefruits while you still can. On the list, is potential weight/fat loss. You’ve heard of the grapefruit diet, right? Eat grapefruits and lose weight. And of course, most cyclists wouldn’t mind losing fat and improving strength to weight ratio. But, is it science or quackery? Is there something magic to the grapefruit? Well, you can rest assured that I’m certainly NOT recommending you eat nothing but grapefruits. But, it may help to add them. Here’s some food for thought:
Grapefruits, specifically red ones, can lower bad cholesterol and promote heart health. In fact, Israeli researchers found that a daily red grapefruit could lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by 20.3% in just 30 days. And, they also lowered triglycerides by 17.2%. It might be the pectin fiber, the antioxidants, or most likely, the whole-food combination of nutrients that grapefruits offer.
Grapefruits support the immune system with high levels of vitamin C. More than one study has suggested that vitamin C is a cold fighter. The less you’re sick this winter, the more you can get out on your bike. And, as an antioxidant, Vitamin C works to reduce artery plagues, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
Grapefruits, like tomatoes, contain our old friend lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid nutrient that fights free radicals and may have anti-cancer properties. What’s more, grapefruits also provide limonoids, phytonutrients that inhibit tumor formation and promote more circulation of glutathione, a detoxifying enzyme and antioxidant.
And, weight loss: It’s true…reputable studies have shown that grapefruits can aid in weight loss. When grapefruits (1/2 large) are added to a normal meal, or better yet, replace part of a normal meal, they’ve been shown to increase weight loss in study participants. Grapefruits tend to decrease insulin spikes after meals; and, when our bodies pump out insulin in response to food, they often store more fat than they would with a lesser insulin spike. If added to a good cycling training regimen that helps you continue to build strength, you could be riding stronger and lighter with the help of some grapefruits.
One warning for anyone on medications: Compounds in grapefruits do increase the levels of specific medications such as statins in the bloodstream. For anyone taking statins or another med that interacts with grapefruits, levels can become harmful. So, please know your medications, risk factors, interactions, and discuss with your doctor if you are unsure.
This week, try a grapefruit. Peel it and eat it as a snack. Or, add it to a smoothie. Our smoothie starts with grapefruits, and then becomes a powerhouse as we add berries, greens, ginger, and chia seeds. C’mon. Does it get better? Good things happen as you keep training for power while eating “clean” and losing fat. And, grapefruits can help.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.