There are many health benefits of grapefruit, which justify its botanic name Citrus paradisi. This so-called paradise fruit is an ancient hybrid between a pomelo and an orange and is known by its juicy "meat" and refreshing bittersweet taste.
You can choose between red, pink, and white fruit, depending on the color of inner meat.
Whichever you take, you will enjoy lots of grapefruit benefits. However, according to a lot of research, red and pink fruits contain also lycopene and are for that reason even more nutritious.
Grapefruits are not only an excellent diet food but they can enrich the taste of various dishes like salads, desserts, and drinks as well.
When buying grapefruit you should check its weight – the heavier the fruit, the thinner the peel, and the juicier the content. The skin of the fruit should not be wrinkled and spotty, it must be smooth and shiny. The color of the skin is not so important. Even if it is partially green, that does not mean that the fruit is not ripe. As you most probably know, lightly pink or red skin indicates the same color of inner meat.
You can store grapefruits at room temperature for a couple of days. In such a way they will even taste better. But if you know that you will not consume them in a short time, you should better put them in a fridge, which will preserve grapefruit benefits and protect their freshness even for two to three weeks.
This amazing paradise citrus fruit is high in vitamins, minerals, fibers, and important phytonutrients. What is more, it is cholesterol free and calories in grapefruit are negligible; one half of the fruit contains only 34 kcal.
The most important health benefits of grapefruit are the result of following ingredients:
- It contains lots of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, and many B-group vitamins.
- It is a rich source of potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and other essential minerals.
- Pink and red grapefruits are high in beta carotene, the precursor of vitamin A and lycopene – they are both very important phytochemical carotenoids.
- It contains bioflavonoids (plant protective substances), fibers, and other active nutrients that lower bad ldl cholesterol levels and protect against cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Here are the main grapefruit benefits, which cannot be overlooked:
There’s a lot of it in grapefruit. Already just a half of the fruit provides 78% of RDI (recommended daily intake) of vitamin C. Besides, it is a rich source of antioxidants that prevent cholesterol oxidation and so support cardiovascular health.
Vitamin C and the immune system are inseparably connected. Foods high in vitamin C like grapefruit can therefore reduce and alleviate cold symptoms. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that prevents injuries caused by free radicals in the inflamed states like asthma, osteoarthritis, and reumo arthritis.
In addition, free radicals stimulate atherosclerosis, which can lead to late complications like cardiovascular diseases and a heart attack. So, vitamin C provides amazing health benefits of grapefruit such as reduced mortality due to heart and vascular diseases, cancer, and stroke.
With one half of grapefruit we get also 6% of RDI of vitamin A, which is necessarily needed for good eyesight development, and for teeth, bones, and soft tissue maintenance.
Moreover, the same fruit amount contains 3.5% of RDI of vitamin B5 that is essential for protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism of the human body.
Grapefruit is also a good source of vitamin B9, which we urgently need for the brain activity and the genetic material (DNA and RNA) production.
These are plant substances that protect against diseases in a similar way as antioxidants. Most of them, especially lycopene, are found in red and pink grapefruit.
This is the most important phytochemical carotenoid for protection against free oxygen radicals, which cause damage to body cells. Regular consumption of lycopene rich fruit brings one of the most important proven health benefits of grapefruit – reduced risk of prostate cancer development.
Similar phytochemicals in grapefruit are limonoids that help to detox the body. They stimulate the production of enzymes, which make toxins and carcinogenic compounds more water soluble and can be therefore easier flushed out of the body.
This miracle agrume fruit is rich in pectin, a dietary soluble fiber, which brings additional amazing health benefits of grapefruit:
- It helps to lower high ldl cholesterol and triglyceride levels so it should be a part of natural cholesterol treatment.
- Pectin soluble fiber slows down the development of atherosclerosis.
- Regular consumption of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice stimulates calcium absorption and helps relieve joint stiffness in patients with arthritis.
A very popular weight loss diet plan consists of large amounts of grapefruits and/or grapefruit juice. The theory behind this diet (it was never confirmed!) is that grapefruit contains an enzyme, which helps burn fat in the body.
Undoubtedly, due to the nutrients it comprises there are many health benefits of grapefruit. But you must be aware of the fact that a monotonous food based diet is not balanced and is therefore unhealthy.
You can lose weight the healthy way only if you reduce intake and increase consumption of calories. The grapefruit juice diet can cause irreversible damage since it leads to protein malnutrition. The body does not get sufficient
amount of protein and it starts to decompose own protein tissues such as muscles, tissue of internal organs, even the heart.
There’s also a lack of certain vitamins and minerals needed for normal body activity as well. Too large grapefruit amounts cause diarrhea and diuresis and big weight loss at the start of the diet is first of all the result of excessive water loss.
Be careful, such diets can cause irreversible damage to your body and their long term efficiency is worthless. Nevertheless, since one portion contains only 100 kcal and a high fiber content appeases hunger, grapefruit should be a part of a well balanced diet to lose weight. Grapefruit or grapefruit juice as an appetizer will prevent binge eating, and is an ideal healthy snack as well.
Test results of clinical researches have confirmed that grapefruit slows down metabolism of certain medications and as a result a drug overdose that may cause liver injury, and in some cases even serious muscle and kidney damages, accumulates in the body.
It is true, this incredible fruit is full of healthy nutrients, which provide incredible health benefits of grapefruit. But, unfortunately, it contains also certain substances, which are metabolized in the same was as many medications.
Therefore, consumption of grapefruit or grapefruit juice in combination with such medications must be avoided at all costs.
Statins are cholesterol lowering medications. If you take them, you may not consume neither grapefruit nor grapefruit juice. Side effects that can be caused if you do not follow this rule are digestive problems and muscle pain.
The main risk of increased statins concentration is rhabdomyolysis, which literally means decomposion of muscular tissue and causes severe muscle pain and kidney failure.
Similar effects can be provoked also by oranges so you should avoid them as well.
Statins are the most well known group of medications, which cannot be combined with grapefruit. But they are not the only one, there are many more. Therefore, to be absolutely on the safe side, you should obey following safety rules:
- Whatever medication you take, you should not consume grapefruit in any form until you consult your doctor or a pharmacist.
- Do not take your medications with grapefruit juice until you discuss with your doctor or a pharmacist.
- If you regularly consume grapefruit and/or grapefruit juice, you should inform your doctor or a pharmacist before you start taking a new prescribed medication.
- Check natural food and other product labels in order to make sure they not contain grapefruit substances.
- If you notice any undesirable side effect, inform your doctor or a pharmacist immediately.
Caution is needed also in meds without prescription and drugs of plant origin since they can interact with grapefruit, too. Of course, people who are allergic to any of other citrus fruit must be especially cautious since oversensitivity to grapefruit can appear as well.
Getting the right amount at the right time is big art. It would be a big shame to give up on this paradise fruit and astonishing health benefits of grapefruit. But as you can see, we should be careful, we should get to know it well before it hurts us because of our ignorance.
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