5 reasons we love grapefruit

Yes, grapefruit really does curb hunger. And that’s just one of its many benefits.

1. Protects your heart
Oatmeal isn’t the only heart-friendly breakfast: Enjoying one grapefruit a day can help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels by 15.5 percent and triglycerides by 27 percent, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Deep red varieties pack the biggest punch because they have higher levels of antioxidants, says Shela Gorinstein, the lead researcher in the study.

Grapefruit does increase the potency of some prescription drugs, so check with your doc before you dig in.

2. Smooths your rough skin
Use this citrus star to get rid of dark patches on your knees and elbows.

"Grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C, a mild acid, which helps fade spots by reducing excess production of skin pigment," says Dr. Jessica Wu, a Los Angeles–based dermatologist.

Cut one in half, sprinkle on a teaspoon of sugar (a mild exfoliant), and rub over your skin. Skip your face, though—grapefruit can irritate a sensitive complexion.

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3. Boosts your metabolism
Consuming more of this citrus can help you lose pounds: People who ate half of a grapefruit before each meal (without making any other dietary changes) shed an average of three and a half pounds over 12 weeks, found a study from the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif.

"The fruit’s compounds aid in fat burning and stabilizing blood-sugar and insulin levels," says Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet. So it’s a natural hunger-buster.

4. A green cleaner
Just juiced your fruit? "Use the extra pulp and rind to spruce up your bathroom," says Amy Todisco, author of Organic Food on a Budget.

Dip the juiced half in a plate of sea salt, and then rub the grapefruit all over your bathroom fixtures, squeezing any leftover juice out as you go.

The citric acid in the fruit dissolves dirt and grime; the salt disinfects and scours. After scrubbing, rinse everything away.

5. Firms skin
Grapefruit helps keep your skin in top shape.

"It’s high in vitamin C," Wu says, "essential for producing healthy collagen, a protein that keeps your complexion plump and smooth."

Aim to eat one grapefruit a day, she says.