The grapefruit is a large citrus fruit related to the orange, lemon and pomelo. Grapefruits are categorized as white (blond), pink or ruby. However, this terminology doesn’t reflect their skin color, which is either yellow or pinkish-yellow, but rather describes the color of their flesh.
Grapefruits usually range in diameter from four to six inches, with some varieties featuring seeds while others are seedless. The wonderful flavor of a grapefruit is like paradise, just as its Latin name Citrus paradisi connotes. It is juicy, tart and tangy with an underlying sweetness that weaves throughout.
Health Benefits of Grapefruit
- Acidity: Although grapefruit has a sub-acid taste, its juice actually has an alkaline reaction after digestion. This has a profound effect in the treatment of acidity in the digestive system that causes a host of other health problems.
- Atherosclerosis: Pectin in this fruit has been found to be effective in reducing the accumulation of arterial deposits, and the vitamin C helps to strengthen and maintain the elasticity of arteries.
- Breast cancer: In another study, the bioflavonoids found in grapefruit was discovered to even halt cancer cells from spreading in breast cancer patients, by ridding the body of excess estrogen.
- Common cold: A common cold is usually your body telling you that you are overworked. A regular drink of grapefruit during a stressful period gives your immune system the boost needed to prevent it coming on.
- Cholesterol: A certain compound found in grapefruit helps reduce the excessive production of cholesterol from the liver.
- Diabetes: A diabetic can safely eat a grapefruit. In fact, more consumption of this fruit will help reduce the starches and sweets in the system. If you have a tendency towards diabetes, consume more grapefruit juice to prevent it.
- Digestive disorder: This juice helps to promote digestion by increasing the flow of gastric juices. Eat the fruit together with its rind for its extra fiber that aids bowel movements.
- Fatigue: At the end of a long and tiring day, drink a glass of grapefruit juice with lemon juice in equal parts with a little honey, to dispel all fatigue and tiredness.
- Fever: Besides drinking plenty of fluids, also drink grapefruit juice to reduce fever.
- Insomnia: A drink of grapefruit juice before bedtime, helps to promote sleep and alleviates insomnia.
- Pregnant woman: The bioflavonoids and vitamin C help to reduce water retention and swelling of the legs during pregnancy.
- Sore throat: Drinking a freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice helps relieve sore throats and soothes coughs.
- Stomach and pancreatic cancer: The anti-cancer agents in grapefruit (especially in the rinds) are particularly protective against these cancers in the digestive system.
- Weight-loss: This fruit has a fat-burning enzyme and can help to absorb and reduce the starch and sugar in the body. It is widely consumed by people who are trying to lose weight. If you don’t fall under the category of people mentioned below (look at “Caution” colum), then take a glass of grapefruit juice twice a day and eat normally.
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions.
Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like grapefruit decreases the risk of obesity,diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
Grapefruit may not be a miracle weight loss food as touted in some previously popular fad diets, but consuming grapefruit as part of a healthy diet may just give you a little boost. The Scripps Clinic ‘Grapefruit Diet’ study, led by Dr. Ken Fujioka, monitored the weight and metabolic factors of 91 obese men and women for 12 weeks. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of four groups to receive either placebo capsules along with 7 ounces of apple juice, grapefruit capsules with 7 ounces of apple juice, 8 ounces of grapefruit juice with a placebo capsule or half of a fresh grapefruit with a placebo capsule three times a day before each meal.
After 12 weeks, the fresh grapefruit group had lost the most weight at 3.52 lbs, the grapefruit juice group had lost 3.3 lbs, the grapefruit capsule group had lost 2.42 lbs, and the placebo group had lost 0.66 lbs. According to the researchers, there was also a significant reduction in 2-hour post-glucose insulin level in the grapefruit group compared with placebo. Half of a fresh grapefruit eaten before meals was also associated with improved insulin resistance.
According to the American Heart Association, eating higher amounts of a compound found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit may lower ischemic stroke risk for women. Those who ate the highest amounts of citrus had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least.
Blood pressure and heart health
The powerful nutrient combination of fiber, potassium, lycopene, vitamin C and choline in grapefruit all help to maintain a healthy heart.
One study found that a diet supplemented with fresh red grapefruit positively influences blood lipid levels, especially triglycerides. Researchers concluded that the addition of fresh red grapefruit to the diet could be beneficial for people with atherosclerosis wanting to lower their high lipid levels, especially triglycerides.
In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).
High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
Increasing potassium intake is also important for lowering blood pressure because of its powerful vasodilation effects.
As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C as well as other antioxidants, grapefruit can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. Lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk ofprostate cancer prevention in several studies and foods high in vitamin C and beta-carotene have been shown to lower the risk of esophageal cancer in particular.
Digestion and regularity
Grapefruit, because of its water and fiber content, helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
As one of the most hydrating fruits in the world made up of 91% water (just below watermelon) and full of important electrolytes, grapefruit is a great snack to have on hand to prevent dehydration.
The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form (in fresh produce as opposed to supplement form) or applied topically, can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the main support system of skin. Hydration and vitamin A are also crucial for healthy looking skin, both of which grapefruits can provide.
However, it is worth taking note of a study published in June 2015 which suggests that consuming grapefruit juice in large amounts may put us at higher risk of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer.
The risks for developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is vitamin C, found in many fruits and vegetables including grapefruit.