The grapefruit was bred in the 18th century as a cross between a pomelo and an orange. It was given the name grapefruit due to growing in clusters, similar to grapes. Grapefruits vary in color from white or yellow to pink and red. They can range in taste from acidic and even bitter to sweet and sugary. To give you an idea of just some of the top nutrients in grapefruit, a half (123 grams) of a pink or red grapefruit contains about the following:
· 51.7 calories
· 13.1 grams carbohydrates
· 0.9 gram protein
· 0.2 gram fat
· 2 grams fiber
· 38.4 milligrams vitamin C (64 percent)
· 1,415 international units vitamin A (28 percent)
· 166 milligrams potassium (5 percent)
· 16 micrograms folate (4 percent)
· 0.1 milligram thiamine (4 percent)
· 27.1 milligrams calcium (3 percent)
· 0.3 milligram pantothenic acid (3 percent)
· 0.1 milligram vitamin B6 (3 percent)
· 11.1 milligrams magnesium (3 percent)
As you can see, this is a definitely a nutrient-dense superfood, especially rich in vitamin C. There are roughly only 100 calories in a grapefruit, and it provides more than 100 percent of daily vitamin C requirements.
Grapefruit is 92% water, giving it one of the highest water contents of any fruit. That makes it good for overall health. This fruit supports clear, healthy skin, can help to lower our risk for many diseases and conditions, and may even help with weight loss as part of a healthy and varied diet. Along with consuming the entire fruit, grapefruit juice, grapefruit essential oil and grapefruit seed extract can all be used to benefit your health. Here are some major benefits of eating grapefruit:
1. Weight Loss
Research continues to reveal that consuming grapefruit benefits weight loss in a major way. The key may be an enzyme called , which appears to get activated by an organic compound in grapefruit called nootkatone. When AMPK gets activated, it encourages the body’s energy-producing processes, like glucose uptake, for example, which helps boost metabolism. That, in turn, can encourage weight loss. AMPK is generally activated during exercise to help muscles use stored sugar and fat for energy.
2. Helps to Suppress Appetite
Grapefruit works as an excellent appetite suppressant as compared to many other foods. It is said that smell of the grapefruit reduces the feeling of hunger, which is the reason why people often include grapefruits in their weight loss programs. The high amounts of fiber in these fruits can also satisfy hunger, help people avoid overeating, and stimulate cholecystokinin to be released, a hormone that regulates digestive juices and acts as a hunger suppressant.
3. Treats Influenza
Grapefruit is a valuable remedy for influenza since it helps minimize acidity in the system. The bitter properties arising from an essence called ‘naringin’ in grapefruits tone up the system and the digestive process. Naringin is also considered a flavonoid, which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants 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.
4. Helps to Cure Fever
The pulp or the juice of grapefruit helps patients recover quickly from fever, and it reduces the burning sensation that occurs when the body reaches a high temperature. It is also known as a way to boost the immune system against cold and other common illnesses. Grapefruit juice, when combined with water, can quench thirst very quickly and keep you hydrated for longer. Most of these benefits come from the high content of vitamin C in grapefruits, which acts as a general immune system defense system and can help the body in fighting the fever.
5. Immunity Booster
With its standing among the top vitamin C foods, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t agree that eating grapefruit is a healthy way to start your day. The red and pink varieties are especially packed with bioflavonoids and provide you with an extra immunity boost.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that all of our immune system’s cells function at their peak when they get enough vitamin C on a steady basis. When these disease-fighting cells get the vitamin C they need from dietary sources like grapefruit, these vital cells are better able to identify and successfully wipe out any invading organisms (like the ones that cause illness). Many experts agree that not getting enough vitamin C can make the human body that much more likely to contract sickness and infections.
6. Stroke Risk Reducer
According to a 2012 study by the American Heart Association, eating grapefruits and oranges appears to be useful in lowering the risk of a stroke, especially if you’re a woman. Citrus fruits, like grapefruit, are very high in a group of compounds called flavonoids, and this research shows that higher consumption of flavonoids may decrease the risk of an ischemic stroke. Grapefruit contains nutrients and antioxidants shown to help protect the heart by regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
7. Treats Indigestion
Grapefruit is useful for indigestion. It is very light as compared to other foods and thus, acts immediately on indigestion by easing the heat and irritation the stomach. It improves the flow of digestive juices, which facilitates the movement of the bowels and keeps your excretory system regulated. This is due to the presence of fiber and vegetative pulp in grapefruits that adds bulk to the bowels and regulates your excretory schedule. Grapefruit extract is also often used in modern medicine for these same reasons.
8. Promotes Sleep
A glass of grapefruit juice, if consumed before going to bed, can promote healthy sleep and alleviate 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 enable us to nod off peacefully.
9. Controls Diabetes
Diabetics can eat grapefruits as they can reduce the level of starch in the body. Intake of grapefruits can help them regulate the flow of sugar in their body, effectively handling the disease. Recent studies have shown this beneficial relationship between diabetes and grapefruits due to the flavonoid content of grapefruits, along with a number of other health benefits.
10. Reduces Acidity
Fresh grapefruit juice creates an alkaline condition in the intestines for proper digestion. The citric acid of the fruit is contained in the human body and thus it increases the efficiency of the alkalinity reaction after digestion. The juice extracted from grapefruits is beneficial in preventing acid formation and many other diseases that arise due to the presence of excess acidity in the body.
11. Treats Urinary Disorders
Grapefruit juice is quite rich in potassium and vitamin C, so it is one of the best treatments for issues related to urination often caused by liver, kidney or heart problems. Furthermore, its high potassium content works as a vasodilator, meaning that blood vessels and arteries relax, thereby reducing blood pressure and lessening the risk of heart attack and stroke. Also, increased levels of potassium have been associated with higher cognitive function because of increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain!
12. Skin Health and Appearance Enhancer
If you haven’t noticed, there are a variety of cosmetic and skin-cleansing products on the market these days that have grapefruit as a star ingredient. Grapefruit contains natural acids that cleanse the skin when used in skincare products. Grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to protect the skin and also is essential to the formation of collagen, a major building block of our skin. Collagen production is key when it comes to keeping skin looking youthful and wrinkle-free.
Pink grapefruit is also rich in beta-carotene, which is amazing at slowing the aging of skin cells and has been known to also improve hyperpigmentation. Skincare experts also love how pink grapefruit contains lycopene, which is known to guard against sun-induced skin damage and mutation as well as inflammation in general. Last but not least, grapefruit naturally contains a breakout-fighting and pore-cleansing ingredient you’ve probably heard of before: salicylic acid, making grapefruit a potential home remedy for acne.
13. Cancer Fighter
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, cell and animal studies have shown that grapefruit’s phytochemicals naringenin and limonin have shown an ability to reduce the growth of of colon, mouth, skin, lung, breast and stomach cancers. The studies also showed that not only did proliferation slow down, but the highly desirable self-destruction of the cancer cells increased. It’s believed that these grapefruit compounds work in a two-pronged approach: “They decrease inflammation and increase enzymes that deactivate carcinogens.” ()
Grapefruit’s super start antioxidant, vitamin C, has also been shown to prevent harmful changes to DNA caused by free radicals while also preventing carcinogen development. All this makes grapefruit one of the more effective cancer-fighting foods out there.
Word of Caution: Despite all of these health benefits and the fact that sometimes grapefruits can be superior to other medicines in their efficacy, you must be very careful while taking medicines and consuming grapefruit juice at the same time. Certain chemicals in grapefruits, like naringin, and other less common compounds can 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 treatment. You want to improve your health but sometimes doing it in too many different ways can hurt you!