Simply hearing the name of this juicy fruit, or seeing it in the produce aisle, can make our palates cringe and our face scrunch up. Although somewhat sour and bitter taste of grapefruit may not cater to all taste buds, its red, pink, and white pulp varieties are full of vitamins and minerals, which add on to its many health benefits. The moon-shaped fruit is not only rich in vitamin C, but the health benefits of grapefruit are many— from our immune system to our metabolism.
Grapefruit grows in clusters just like grapes, hence the name. It was first discovered in South America. It is a natural hybrid between orange and pomelo which accounts for its large size and tangy flavour.
What’s the best part? While grapefruits are normally in season from winter through early spring, you can experience the health benefits of grapefruit all year round.
The health benefits of grapefruits are many and practically unmatched by any other fruit. A glass of chilled grapefruit juice can boost your levels of vitamin C – this gives grapefruits a superior place amongst various citrus fruits. This fruit is packed with the benefits derived from various nutrients and vitamins, including potassium and lycopene. Along with these, it also contains calcium, sugar and phosphorous. Talking about its culinary value, it is regarded as a superb appetizer, and is regularly included for breakfast as a refreshing and energizing start to the day.
Lauren Blake, a registered dietician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, believes we should opt for the pink- and red-colored varieties to reap the most benefits of this cancer-fighting fruit. “Pink and red colored grapefruit contain the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene appears to have propertied that help fight free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells.”
Health Benefits of Grapefruit
Here is what the fruit has to offer.
1. An Incredible boost to the Immune System
We all know that any fruit which is rich in vitamin C will strengthen and support our immune system. Vitamin C in combination with other micronutrients provides good and regular nourishment to our body. Maintaining the level of vitamin C in our body reduces the severity of cold symptoms, acting as a natural antihistamine. This helps in controlling allergies, since it reduces histamine levels. “Grapefruit is abundant in vitamin C which help supports the immune system. Half of a grapefruit provides about 78 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C,” Blake said.
2. Kidney Stone Prevention
One of the great health benefits of grapefruit is that it helps in preventing kidney stones. Kidney stones are usually a buildup of calcium. If developed these stones must either pass through the urethra or broken up medically. The greatest benefit can be reaped through drinking up to a liter of grapefruit juice daily.
3. Helps in Weight Loss
Have you ever heard of the grapefruit diet? Also known as the Hollywood Diet, the grapefruit has been around for decades, and apparently holds some merit. A study led by Dr. Ken Fujioka found that including grapefruit or grapefruit juice into your daily diet does help in weight loss. For the study, 100 participants were separated into 3 groups with varying grapefruit and grapefruit juice intake levels. In the end, participants who ate 1/2 grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds on average while those drinking grapefruit juice 3 times daily lost 3.3 pounds on average.
Also Read: Oranges: An Excellent Power Food
4. Liver Cleanser, Detoxification
Grapefruit contains many liver-cleansing agents. Some of these are vitamin C, various antioxidants, and phytonutrients called limonoids that helps toxic compounds to excrete from the liver by making them more water soluble. It also contains a flavonoid compound called naringenin, which causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it. Detoxification of the liver help alleviate symptoms of chronic conditions, such as, depression, stiff muscles, and chronic headaches. Dangerous toxins that are bad for our health are all around us, a cleansing can help eliminate some of these deadly toxins.
5. Reduces Bad Cholesterol
The regular consumption of grapefruit reduces LDL, the bad cholesterol by 15%. Blond grapefruit was found to be more beneficial than red. Triglycerides, another form of bad cholesterol, were found to be lowered 17%.
6. Charge up your Metabolism
Among other health benefits of grapefruit is that it speeds up your metabolism. Along with proper diet and exercise a proper boost in your metabolism can help you lose up to two pounds a week. An added benefit of a raised metabolism is that fat continues to burn even as you body is on rest. Weight can be lost faster and the healthier weight is maintained more easily. Blake said: “While grapefruit does not have any magical fat-burning properties, it is low in calories and is a good source of fiber, which helps keep us full for longer by taking longer to digest. … Grapefruit also has a high water content which can help you feel full and stay hydrated.”
7. Helps in Protecting against Prostate Cancer
Rich in antioxidants that attack carcinogens that lurk in the prostrate is one among many other health benefits of grapefruit. Research indicate that the fruit even repairs damaged cells at the DNA level. Prostate cancer is the most common in men, the second leading cause of death after lung cancer. Enjoy grapefruit with a healthy diet to prevent this disease.
8. Prevents Lung Cancer
According to the research grapefruit also fights against lung cancer. Consume three 6 ounce glasses daily to reverse the harm done by cigars and cigarettes. Grapefruit activates enzymes that fight against the deadly disease. Pink grapefruit is especially effective in preventing lung cancer.
9. Prevents Gum Disease
Research has indicated that if you eat two grapefruit a day you can prevent and reverse the damage caused by gum disease. Grapefruit helps prevent formation of free radicals. Left untreated gum disease can lead to oral cancer. It can also lead to bacteria that damage the heart.
10. Reduces Stress
You don’t necessarily have to eat grapefruit to reap its benefits. According to a study, the smell of citrus fruit can make a difference on reducing our stress and anxiety levels, and depression.
11. Assists in treatment of Malaria
The fruit itself or its juice contains important and natural ‘quinine’ which is advantageous for the treatment of malaria. Quinine is an alkaloid with a long history of treating malaria, as well as lupus, arthritis, and nocturnal leg cramps. It is not an easy component to find in many foods, so grapefruits are a beneficial and uncommon example. The quinine can be easily extracted from the fruits by boiling a quarter of grapefruit and straining the pulp.
12. Beneficial for treatment of Fatigue
Grapefruits are also beneficial in the treatment of fatigue. It can help you to drive out your tiredness caused from everyday boring work. Drinking equal amounts of grapefruit juice and lemon juice can be a refreshing and delicious way to quickly boost your energy levels. Nootkatone is a very rare and important compound found within grapefruits, and is probably its most helpful constituent in terms of extracting as an aromatic substance.
13. Promotes healthy Sleep
If you drink a glass of grapefruit juice before going to bed, you will get a healthy sleep. The fruit alleviates the irritating symptoms and repercussions of insomnia. This is due to the presence of tryptophan in grapefruits, the chemical we often associate with becoming sleepy after big meals. The levels of tryptophan in grapefruit juice let us nod off peacefully to sleep.
14. Aids in Diabetes
Diabetic patients can safely eat grapefruit, because consuming grapefruit can reduce the level of starch in the body. If a patient is diabetic, intake of grapefruit can help them to regulate the flow of sugar in their body, effectively handling the disease.
Also Read: 10 Diabetes Myths Busted!
15. Remedy for Influenza
One of the many health benefits of grapefruit is that it is an important remedy for influenza. The reason is that it helps to minimize acidity in the system. The bitter properties arising from an essence called ‘naringin’ in grapefruits tones up the system and the digestive process. Naringin is also considered a flavonoid, which are powerful antioxidant sources in the human diet. They also have antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory qualities, making them one of the most important lines of defense in the immune system, protecting against influenza as well as many other serious conditions.
Grapefruit Health Benefits Overview – Grapefruits are good for:
- Weight loss
- Promoting heart health
- Preventing diabetes
- Boosting the immune system, preventing a cold or sickness
- Helps prevent arthritis
- Helps cleanse the liver
- Cancer prevention
- Macular degeneration, preserving eye health
- Reducing blood pressure
- Skin health (acne, psoriasis, wrinkles)
Bonus Tip: As a side benefit unrelated to health, you can also use grapefruits for cleaning! Dip the extra pulp left over from juicing the grapefruit in some sea salt and run it over fixtures in your bathroom or kitchen while squeezing out leftover juice. Citric acid works to eliminate dirt while salt disinfects. Rinse after scrubbing.
Grapefruit is better than many Medicines
Grapefruits are natural sources of medicine that help the body fight against many diseases. It is easily available in any season. It is natural and so better than any artificial pharmaceuticals to relieve some of your most basic health problems. It enables your body to regulate your cholesterol, which means that it minimizes the risk of various cardiovascular diseases.
A Word of Caution
Despite having so many health benefits, and the fact that sometimes grapefruits are superior to other medicines in their effectiveness, you must be very careful taking medicine and consuming grapefruit juice at the same time. Certain chemicals in grapefruits can negatively interact with various drugs and cause damage to your organ systems. Be sure to consult your doctor in terms of drug interactions with grapefruit juice in your diet before beginning any new treatments!
Nutritional Profile of Grapefruit
Here is a more complete nutritional profile of grapefruits, outlining the key essential nutrients. Figures are based on a 1/2 serving of grapefruit.
- Vitamin C– 38.4 milligrams. 64% RDA.
- Vitamin A– 1415 IU. 28% RDA.
- Thiamin– 0.1 milligrams. 4% RDA.
- Folate– 16 micrograms. 4% RDA.
- Potassium– 166 milligrams. 5% RDA.
- Fiber– 2 grams. 8% RDA.
- Vitamin B6– 0.1 milligrams. 3% RDA.
- Magnesium– 11.1 milligrams. 3% RDA.
Add this low-calorie fruit to your diet today to uncover the amazing health benefits of grapefruit!