10 Benefits of Grapefruit (Based on Scientific Studies)
The grapefruit is a tropical citrus fruit that can either be white, yellow or pink in color.
The fruit originated from South America and is actually a cross between an orange and a pomelo.
It was named grapefruit because the plant produces fruits in a cluster, just like grapes. The fruit has a sweet but somewhat sour taste.
Many love it for its sweetness, while some hate the sour taste.
The tangy taste can be attributed to its pomelo origins.
Despite its conflicting taste, the grapefruit is a very nutritious fruit.
The grapefruit is one of the healthiest citrus fruits you will ever eat, and has many powerful health benefits.
It is even said to be one of the best foods to eat for breakfast.
The grapefruit is rich in nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. The fruit is probably best known for its high vitamin C content.
Ounce for ounce, the grapefruit is the third highest fruit source of vitamin C, coming in just behind oranges and lemons.
This water-soluble nutrient is important for your immune system, wound healing, and your metabolism.
It also helps efficient communication between various nerves in the body for muscle movement and helps maintain collagen, which is important for your skin and bones.
Grapefruit also makes a great snack because it has a very low calorie count (perhaps the lowest among all fruits), which means that you can consume it without worrying about too much calorie intake.
According to SparkPeople, 1 cup of grapefruit juice has 69 calories, compared to 85 calories for a similar serving of orange juice. Grapefruit also has a very high water content, with 92% of the fruit being water.
This makes good for your overall health.
The pink and yellow grapefruit also has a high content of the anti-oxidant lycopene, though the anti-oxidant is missing in the white variety of the fruit.
The anti-oxidant lycopene helps fight free radicals within the body and has anti-tumor properties.
According to a study conducted by researchers from the Curtin University of Technology in Australia, regular consumption of foods rich in lycopene, such as grapefruit and green tea, can lead to an 82% reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer in men.
In addition, grapefruit contains a ton of other nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin E, as well as choline, zinc, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, manganese and magnesium.
The best part of grapefruit is that the fruit can be consumed in a variety of ways.
You can eat is as a fruit, you can squeeze it and drink the juice, and you can also get its numerous benefits in the form of grapefruit seed extract.
Grapefruit can also be used in fruit medleys, salads, and other recipes.
Below are some of the health benefits of this amazing fruit.
BENEFIT 1: IT’S GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Various studies have shown that grapefruit can be very beneficial for people who are trying to lose weight.
Various explanations have been put forward to explain how grapefruit helps us lose weight.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, grapefruit contains an organic compound known as nootkatone.
The study found that nootkatone activates an enzyme known as AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).
The activation of AMPK encourages the body to increase its energy-producing processes, such as the uptake of glucose.
This increases metabolism and contributes to weight loss.
The study, which was conducted on animals, demonstrated that regular intake of nootkatone reduced the abdominal fat accumulation and weight gain that is associated with a high fat and high sucrose diet.
The study also found that regular intake of nootkatone reduced the development of conditions such as hyperleptinemia, hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia.
Other studies conducted on animals have also shown that grapefruit juice is more effective at inducing weight loss compared to anti-obesity drugs, some of which are associated with unwanted side effects, such as an increased risk of suffering from stroke and heart attack.
Aside from the animal studies, various human studies have also shown that grapefruit can help with weight loss.
To demonstrate the effects of grapefruit on weight loss, a study published in the Journal of Medical Food placed 91 obese patients on a grapefruit diet and observed its effect on the patient’s body weight and metabolic syndrome.
The study found that those who were placed on the grapefruit diet lost more weight compared to those who were placed on a placebo diet.
Those who were placed on the grapefruit diet also experienced improved insulin resistance.
Apart from the effect of nootkatone, there are several other reasons why grapefruit is considered to be good for weight loss. First, grapefruit is an appetite suppressant. The fruit is a bit big and has a high amount of fiber. Eating the fruit will make you feel full without having to eat much else.
Owing to its low calorie count, grapefruit is also a good alternative for satisfying your sugar cravings without adding a lot of calories to your body.
Grapefruit is also said to be a negative calorie food. T
his means that digesting grapefruit requires more calories than the actual calorie content of the fruit, which also contributes to weight loss.
BENEFIT 2: IT HELPS BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY
Regular consumption of grapefruit can also give a boost to your immune system.
Much of grapefruit’s effect on the immune system can be attributed to its high vitamin C content.
Vitamin C works as an anti-oxidant and makes your white blood cells more effective in fighting against harmful bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin C has also been shown to provide some protection against mouth and stomach cancers.
Owing to its anti-oxidant properties, vitamin C also helps fight free radicals in the body. A high amount of free radicals in the body increases of stroke, heart attack and various cancers.
In addition to vitamin C, grapefruit contains several other vitamins and minerals which are also beneficial to our immunity.
Grapefruit contains vitamin A, which combats inflammation and helps protect the body from various infections, according to a study conducted by the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Dana Center in Maryland.
The fruit also contains various B vitamins as well as minerals such as copper, iron and zinc, all of which help to improve the efficiency of the immune system.
These vitamins and minerals are also good for your skin, which is the body’s first fortification against infections.
Aside from these minerals, grapefruit is also rich in bioflavonoids. These are chemical compounds that act as anti-oxidants.
They also improve blood circulation, enhance the action of vitamin C, and help protect the body against viruses, allergies and other inflammatory conditions.
All this gives a boost to your immune system.
BENEFIT 3: IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN AND HAIR
Grapefruit is also good for your skin and hair, which is why you might have noticed that many of the cosmetic and skin cleansing products on the market today have grapefruit as one of their key ingredients.
There are several factors that contribute to grapefruit’s positive effect to the skin.
First, we have already seen that grapefruit contains copious amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for the production of collagen, a natural structural protein that is a major building block of the skin.
Collagen helps strengthen your skin and keep it elastic, resulting in a youthful and wrinkle-free appearance. Collagen also helps keep your hair healthy and strong.
The pink grapefruit also contains beta-carotene. Beta-carotene acts as an anti-oxidant and helps slow down the aging of the skin cells.
It has also been shown to improve hyperpigmentation. Lycopene, another component of grapefruit, is important in protecting the skin against general inflammation and sun-induced damage.
Grapefruit also contains salicylic acid, which helps clean the pores of the skin and protect against acne.
The vitamin A that is present in grapefruit is good for your hair.
Finally, grapefruit also helps in getting rid of cellulite. Grapefruit contains the enzyme bromelain and other skin cleansing agents, which have been shown to help in the breakdown of cellulite.
The weight loss properties associated with grapefruit also help reduce cellulite.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Science, weigh loss has been found to reduce the severity of cellulite by triggering the retraction of fat globules from the dermis.
BENEFIT 4: HELPS PROTECT AGAINST KIDNEY STONES
Regular consumption of grapefruit can also protect you from the risk of developing kidney stones.
The process of metabolism produces some waste materials, which are normally filtered through the kidneys and then excreted from the body together with urine.
Sometimes, these waste materials accumulate within the kidneys and crystallize to form kidney stones.
When these stones become too big, they can cause a blockage of the urethra, causing a lot of pain. In extreme cases, medical intervention is required to break up these stones.
Fortunately, regular consumption of grapefruit can help protect you from developing kidney stones.
In most cases, kidney stones form as a result of the accumulation and crystallization of calcium oxalate within the kidneys.
Grapefruit contains citric acid, an organic acid that helps prevent the formation of these stones.
Citric acid binds with the calcium and prevents it from forming calcium oxalate crystals. This makes it easier to flush the calcium out of the body.
According to an article published in the Korean Journal of Urology, citric acid also prevents the formation of kidney stones by increasing the volume and PH of urine, creating an environment that is not favorable to their formation.
If you want to reduce the likelihood of developing kidney stones, you should get into the habit of drinking up to a liter of grapefruit juice every day.
BENEFIT 5: HELPS FIGHT CANCER
In a world where cancer cases have become far too common, it is a bit of a relief to know that you can reduce your risks of suffering from cancer by incorporating grapefruit into your diet.
The American Institute for Cancer research has listed grapefruits in their list of foods that fight cancer.
A research carried out by the institution on animals and cancer cells found that the phytochemicals limonin and naringenin, both of which are found within the grapefruit, have the ability to reduce the growth of various cancers, including stomach, mouth, colon, breast, lung, and skin cancer.
In addition to slowing down the growth, the researchers also noticed that these two grapefruit compounds increased the rate at which the cancer cells self-destruct.
The two compounds decrease inflammation and increase the production of detoxifying enzymes such as glutathione-S-transferase, which inhibit carcinogens.
Vitamin C, which is found in abundance within the grapefruit, also helps fight cancer owing to its anti-oxidant properties.
Vitamin C combats free radicals within the body and prevents them from making harmful changes to DNA, thereby helping prevent the development of cancerous cells. Vitamin C also helps prevent the development of carcinogens.
Aside from vitamin C, there are other nutrients found in grapefruit that also help fight against cancer.
The pulp of the grapefruit, as well as other citrus fruits, contains a compound known as glucarates, which has been shown to help prevent the development of breast cancer.
The compound lycopene, which we already saw is found in grapefruit, also provides protection against various cancers.
The compound cryptoxanthin, also found in grapefruit, helps suppress free radicals, thereby preventing the development of cancerous cells.
Grapefruit contains many other anti-oxidants and phytonutrients that help battle various forms of cancer and other diseases.
BENEFIT 6: GRAPEFRUIT IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEART
Studies show that regular consumption of grapefruit is good for your heart, since it helps reduce some of the risk factors associated with heart disease.
A study carried out by researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona found that eating grapefruit three times every day for a period of six weeks led to significant reductions in blood pressure, bad LDL cholesterol levels and total cholesterol levels.
These benefits can be attributed to the several important nutrients that grapefruit contains.
We saw earlier that grapefruit is rich in potassium.
Various studies, including one conducted by researchers from the Purdue University, show that potassium lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Merely eating half a grapefruit can provide you with 5% of the potassium your body needs every day.
The high fiber content of grapefruit is also good for you heart.
According to a paper by researchers from the University of Kentucky, a high intake of fiber is associated with lower levels of cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
The high fiber content also helps lower the levels of triglycerides, another form of bad cholesterol.
In an animal study conducted by the University of Florida, College of Medicine, a group of animals were fed on a high-calorie diet supplemented with grapefruit, while the other group only ate the high-calorie diet without the grapefruit.
At the end of the study, the researchers observed that animals that were not fed with grapefruit experienced 45% narrowing of the arteries, compared to only 24% to those that were fed on grapefruit.
Aside from potassium and the high fiber content, the high levels of vitamin C found in grapefruit also contribute to improved heart health.
Vitamin C has been shown to be helpful in the prevention of heart-related conditions and risk factors such as endothelia dysfunction, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, stroke and coronary heart disease.
BENEFIT 7: GRAPEFRUIT MAY HELP PREVENT DIABETES
Diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, a condition where the cells within the body stop responding to insulin.
While insulin plays many roles within the body, its chief role is to regulate the levels of glucose in the bloodstream.
After you have a meal, the food is digested and the sugar in the food is converted into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to a spike in the glucose levels.
In response, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin triggers the uptake of glucose by muscle and fat cells, thereby helping reduce the glucose in the bloodstream to normal levels.
Sometimes, however, the body might become resistant to insulin, such that it requires more insulin to trigger the uptake of glucose by the muscle and fat cells.
This overworks the cells of the pancreas and causes them to wear out. Increased levels of insulin and glucose in the blood ultimately result in type 2 diabetes.
Fortunately, grapefruit is good for people suffering from insulin resistance and diabetes.
One study found that patients who ate half a grapefruit before every meal had significantly lower levels of insulin in the blood and experienced less insulin resistance in comparison to a control group that was not on a grapefruit diet.
Grapefruit is also good for diabetics since it is low on the glycemic index.
BENEFIT 8: GRAPEFRUIT REDUCES THE RISK OF STROKE
A study conducted by the American Heart Association found out that regular consumption of grapefruits leads to a significantly lower risk of suffering from stroke, especially among women.
This can be attributed to the high content of flavonoids in grapefruit.
Flavonoids have been shown to help reduce the risk of experiencing ischemic strokes.
The study, which involved over 69,000 women over a period of 14 years, found that the women who consumed the highest amounts of flavonoid-rich fruits like grapefruit and oranges were 19% less likely to suffer an ischemic stroke compared to those who consumed the lowest amounts.
BENEFIT 9: IT HELPS REPAIR DNA
In the recent past, prostate cancer has become the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the United States.
The risk of developing prostate cancer increases as one grows older. This is because, as you grow older, the cells undergo more divisions, which increases the chances of undergoing a DNA mutation.
These mutations are what contribute to various cancers, including prostate cancer.
The best way of reducing the chances of such cancers developing is to repair DNA and get rid of potentially cancer-causing cell mutations.
Fortunately, research shows that grapefruit can help with the repair of DNA and the prevention of potentially cancer-causing mutations, particularly in the prostate.
Grapefruit contains a high concentration of a flavonoid known as naringenin, which facilitates the repair of damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells.
Naringening does this by inducing the production of two enzymes, DNA polymerase beta (DNA poly beta) and 8-oxoguanine-DNA glycosylase.
These two enzymes are involved in the repair of DNA during the replication stage.
One major problem with prostate cancer is that it initially grows slowly and may remain undetected for a long time.
Considering it is the second leading cause of cancer death, it’s wise to take action to protect yourself.
Regular consumption of grapefruit is one way of preventing the development and progression of prostate cancer.
BENEFIT 10: GRAPEFRUIT MAY SPEED UP HEALING OF WOUNDS
If you suffer an injury, consuming grapefruit can also help you speed up the healing process. You can also use grapefruit to help you in the recovery process after undergoing a surgery.
The wound healing properties of grapefruit come from its high abundance of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps in the formation of collagen, the structural protein that forms a major component of connective tissue.
Collagen is important in the development of healthy scar tissue. Vitamin C also provides tensile strength to newly formed collagen.
This tensile strength is what allows new tissue to stretch without tearing.
Additionally, vitamin C provides a boost to the immune system, which is important for patients with open wounds.
If you are about to have surgery, you should talk to your doctor before incorporating grapefruit into your diet, since the addition of some minerals and vitamins, including those found in grapefruit, might affect your body’s ability to metabolize certain drugs.
If you have been wondering whether grapefruit is good for you, you should go ahead and incorporate the fruit into your diet and enjoy its numerous health benefits.
Owing to its high nutrient content and low calorie count, grapefruit is good for weight loss, it boosts your immunity, it enhances your skin and hair, helps protect against kidney stones, fights cancer, it’s good for your heart, it helps prevent diabetes, reduces the risk of stroke, helps repair your DNA and speeds up healing of wounds.
If you are yet to, make grapefruit a part of your diet from today and watch your health improve.
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