21 Amazing Health Benefits of Grapefruit (Number 15 is Awesome!)
Pound for pound Grapefruit has got to be on the top of the list of fruits when you compare the health benefits.
While it does not seem to get as much advertising as its cousins in the citrus family namely orange and lemon, it is an ideal choice for those that want a healthy, tart, and sweet alternative. There are many benefits, some of which may even surprise you, like they did me.
Best of all, you can consume grapefruit in a variety of ways.
You can eat the fruit, juice it, and even get health benefits from the seed extract. There is a lot more to grapefruit than you thought, and I am going to clue you in to just how much more.
An Important Note about Grapefruit and Medication
While I am about to show you that grapefruit certainly deserves the title of “superfood,” there is something very important you need to understand. If you take medication for any condition, it is very important that you speak with your doctor before consuming grapefruits or drinking grapefruit juice .
In some cases, grapefruit or its extracts are far superior to certain medications for certain things.
But, grapefruit contains many natural chemicals that can disrupt or otherwise negatively interact with the chemicals found in some pharmaceutical drugs.
Sometimes, grapefruit can work well with medication. But, no matter what, speak with your healthcare professional first.
More on this later but first let’s focus on the health benefits of grapefruit…
1. Rich Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Grapefruit is chockfull of good things. You will learn more about the beneficial chemicals and compounds in grapefruit as you read this article. To start with, just know that grapefruit contains all of the following :
- Thiamine (B1) (3%) 0.037 mg
- Riboflavin (B2) (2%) 0.020 mg
- Niacin (B3) (2%) 0.269 mg
- Pantothenic acid (B5) (6%) 0.283 mg
- Vitamin B6 (3%) 0.043 mg
- Folate (B9) (3%) 10 μg
- Choline (2%) 7.7 mg
- Vitamin C (40%) 33.3 mg
- Vitamin E (1%) 0.13 mg
- Calcium (1%) 12 mg
- Iron (0%) 0.06 mg
- Magnesium (3%) 9 mg
- Manganese (1%) 0.013 mg
- Phosphorus (1%) 8 mg
- Potassium (3%) 148 mg
- Zinc (1%) 0.07 mg
The amounts can vary with the type of grapefruit, but in general, this (and a lot more) is what you are getting when you take a bite or a sip of some of its juice.
2. Contains an Absurdly Low Amount of Calorie
This fruit is also relatively large as far as fruits go. That means you can consume an entire grapefruit, guilt-free, and not add too much to your calorie intake. The amount of calories can vary by color, but they are all low calorie options [5, 6].
- 100 grams, white = 33 calories
- 100 grams, pink and red = 32 to 42 calories
Even some of the largest grapefruits only weigh in with about 100 calories if you eat the whole thing.
3. Rich in Lycopene
Lycopene is an anti-oxidant found in pink and red grapefruit (white grapefruit does not contain any lycopene).
This anti-oxidant is found to have anti-tumor properties that fight free radicals – these are compounds that damage cells.
A study done by the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that regular consumption of Lycopene rich foods such as grapefruit and green tea lowers the risk of men developing prostate cancer by a 82%.
4. High Anti-Oxidant Activity
According to Allan Crozier, a Professor of Plant Biochemistry and Human Nutrition, grapefruit scored among the highest in terms of anti-oxidant activity in a test comparing 13 commercially available juices that include Spray Classic Cranberry, Tesco Pure Grapefruit, Tropicana Pure Premium Smooth Orange (squeezed), Tesco Pure Pressed White Grape, Del Monte Premium Tomato, Tesco Pure Pressed Red Grape and Pomegreat Pomegranate.
Others that scored high in this test were Concord grapes, apple juice and cranberry juice.
Dr. Crozier also mentioned that regular consumption of these juices helps protect against Alzheimer’s disease. He suggests drinking a mixture of these juices throughout the week to get all compounds .
5. Can Actively Help You Lose or Maintain Your Weight
If you are looking for soldiers to help you wage war in the battle against the bulge, then you should consider recruiting grapefruits. There are several aspects to grapefruit that can help you lose or maintain your weight .
Appetite suppression – Even the smell of a grapefruit can help to reduce feelings of hunger.
Fiber – The amount of fiber in grapefruit can satisfy hunger without you needing to consume too much else.
Substitution – You can use low-calorie grapefruit as a substitution for almost any other fruit or to satisfy a craving for something sweet.
A negative calorie food
According to BodyBuilder.com grapefruit is one of the well-know “negative calorie” foods which means it takes more calories to digest than the actual calorie content.
Another way grapefruit helps in weight loss is by lowering insulin levels, albeit slightly but even with the slight drop of insulin prevents the body from storing fat and it also decreases appetite.
6. Contains Bioflavonoids that Turbo Charge Your Immune System and Fights Off Colds and Flu
Most people know that vitamin c helps to boost immunity, and grapefruit certainly has a lot of that. However, grapefruit goes a few steps further .
Grapefruit contains bioflavonoids that help to improve blood circulation and increases the viability of the vitamin C. These compounds also work as antioxidants, which give even more of a boost to your immune system .
7. Grapefruit Helps Combat Diabetes with Its High Vitamin C Levels
Grapefruit, in various forms, can help you and your body deal with a number diseases, disorders, and ailments. Diabetes is another thing grapefruit can help you with.
8. Fiber in Grapefruit Can Help You Deal with Indigestion and Constipation
The fiber in grapefruit helps to ease your indigestion. It also can help to stimulate your digestive system to keep everything moving along as it should .
Fiber has always been the key to healthy bowels, and many people may not even know that grapefruit contains a godly amount of it.
9. Lowers the Acidity in Your Body, Which Helps Detoxify
Many people assume that citrus fruits add acid to the body, but it is a little more complicated than that. The citric acid from grapefruit helps to increase the alkalinity of the body.
It helps to draw out and remove toxins from the body, and return it to a balanced state .
10. Grapefruit Helps to Clean Your Liver and Prevent Kidney Stones
If you did not know, the lower the pH balance of your body, the more acid you have in there. These toxins turn your body into a breeding ground for disease and illness.
Here are a few of the things that can develop if you leave too much acid hanging around in your body for too long.
- Kidney failure
- Kidney stones
- Renal failure
And there are many more ill effects besides. Drinking grapefruit juice will allow you to not have to worry so much about any of them. A balanced pH is highly important for the human body. Getting it balanced is one of the first steps towards perfect health .
11. Rich in Limonoids That Help Prevent Various Forms of Cancer
I mentioned bioflavonoids previously, but there is more to them, and the other phytonutrients, that grapefruit contains.
Limonoids is a phytonutrient found in grapefruit that are known to inhibit tumor formation by promoting the formation of glutathione-S-transferase, a detoxifying enzyme.
This enzyme helps spark a reaction inside the liver that makes toxins more water soluble which makes it for it to get flushed from our system.
In lab tests with animal and human cells, limonoids is found to have potency to fight cancers of the skin, mouth, breast, color and stomach.
In another study led by chemist Gary D. Manners of the Regional Research Center in Albany showed that our bodies have access to a limonoid called limonin.
Out of the 16 people who were given a dose of limonin glucoside, 15 of them still had traces of limonin after 6 hours and after 24 hours 5 of the volunteers still had limonin found in their system !
Why is this a big deal? Limonin has anti-carcinogen properties that prevent cancer-cells from thriving.
The pulp of citrus fruits like grapefruit contains glucarates –a compound that helps prevent breast cancer.
Here are the other phytonutrients found in grapefruit:
Lycopene – Helps against various cancers
beta-Carotene – A source of Vitamin A
Cryptoxanthin – An antioxidant that suppresses free radicals
Naringenin, another phytonutrient in grapefruit, has been shown to decrease growth of colon, mouth, skin, lung, breast and stomach cancers.
There are many more antioxidants and phytonutrients in grapefruit. These things help to provide a majority of the previously mentioned health benefits of grapefruit.
12. Improves Collagen Production and Makes You Look Younger
Vitamin C, something that grapefruit has a lot of, can help with collagen production. Collagen is a protein in your body that helps keep your skin strong and elastic. This is the secret to that youthful appearance everybody seems to always chase.
That same Vitamin C, along with collagen can help to repair damaged skin and keep your hair healthy as well. Grapefruit juice can literally help you keep your body healthy at a cellular level. That, in turn, will show in your appearance .
13. Prevents Kidney Stones
A study done by the British Journal of Nutrition concluded that drinking grapefruit juice daily can help prevent the formation of kidney stones by increasing the pH value of urine and increasing citric acid excretion thus reducing the risk of oxalate stones forming .
But take this with a grain of salt as the Renal and Urology News says that grapefruit juice has been associated with increased risk of stone formation.
14. Protects Against Lung and Color Cancer
Based on a study done by the American Chemical Society (during the 228th national meeting), it was concluded that drinking three 6-ounce glasses of grapefruit juice a day reduces the risk of lung cancer.
A separate study was done on rats, where these subjects were injected with carcinogens, grapefruit and its isolated active compounds (apigenin, hesperidin, limonin, naringin, naringenin, nobiletin). It was concluded that grapefruit had a chemopreventive effect on the cancer cells and also increase production of health colon cells .
15. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
High blood cholesterol is something prevalent in adults 30 years old and up, I was diagnosed with this conditioned in my late 20s and research has shown that grapefruit contains pectin – a form of soluble fiber that slows down the progression of atherosclerosis from blocking our arteries.
In a study done on animals that were fed a high-calorie diet, those ate grapefruit had 24% narrowing of their arteries while the animals that did not take grapefruit had a whopping 45% narrowing .
Some may argue that tests on animals may not necessarily equate in people. A study on the cholesterol-lowering properties on humans was done by the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School.
In this experiment, volunteers were given red grapefruit, blond grapefruit or no grapefruit in addition to their daily diet for 30 days and the results were astounding. Those who ate red grapefruit lowered their LDL (or bad cholesterol) by 20.3% and blond grapefruit by 10.7%.
Triglyceride levels were also lowered by 17.2% and 5.6% respectively. This proves that adding grapefruit to your diet will help lower bad cholesterol .
A warning though, grapefruit is known to increase the circulating levels of prescription drugs like statins. If you’re taking any prescription drugs it is better to consult with your doctor before adding grapefruit to your diet.
16. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Lowering bad cholesterol levels will reduce your risk of having heart disease. I’ve already discussed that in detail above.
17. It Helps With Respiratory Issues like Asthma
Grapefruit promotes healthy lungs. By doing so, it offers help for people suffering from asthma and other respiratory issues.
And once again, the Vitamin C content it offers also helps to deal with allergies and related symptoms.
18. Grapefruit Can Play a Vital Role in Promoting Healthy Pregnancy
Getting Vitamin C while pregnant is important, but grapefruit does a little bit more to promote a healthy pregnancy.
Besides all the previously mentioned benefits, grapefruit can also help pregnant women keep their biotin levels up .
Many pregnant women suffer from biotin deficiencies. This can cause a number of problems for both mother and child .
19. Stress Reliever and Lowers Blood Pressure
Some people report that just smelling grapefruit can help them calm down and relax more. Under the hood, grapefruit definitely does work to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
It does this by blocking calcium from getting into your arteries. This can prevent or help with hypertension, blood pressure, stress, and various other issues tied to these conditions .
20. Grapefruit Can Help Prevent Macular Degeneration and Promote Eye Health
The Vitamin C in grapefruit can help keep the connective tissue around your cornea healthy. Eating grapefruit can reduce the risk and effects of cataracts and vision loss .
21. Repairs DNA
Naringenin is a flavonone (type of flavonoid) that is found inside grapefruit and research has shown that this flavonoid helps facilitate repair of human prostate cancer cells based on a study done by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States and more often than not it is only detected in its advanced stages and the risk increases as we get older.
Our body’s primary defense mechanisms against cancer from developing is DNA repair and Naringenin helps by inducing two DNA-repairing enzymes – 8-oxoguanine-DNA glycosylase 1 (hOGG1) and DNA polymerase beta (DNA poly beta).
However in the study scientists exposed cell cultures to 80 micromoles per liter an amount that we cannot consume just by drinking grapefruit juice (research has shown that only 2 to 15% of this is absorbed by the GI tract).
The good news is only 5% is needed to enjoy the benefits and this is physiologically achievable inside our tissues.
Prevention is always better than cure and one way of stopping prostate cancer in its tracks is regularly consuming grapefruit.
How to Eat Grapefruit?
There are 3 ways to consume grapefruit.
Eat the whole fruit
The healthiest in my opinion would be eating the whole fruit itself because you’ll be able to consume the nutrients at its rawest form. Grapefruit skin is not edible but the pith (or the white fibrous part) is and make sure that when you skin it, to slice it as thin as possible.
The pith contains a lot of the dietary fiber present in grapefruit that helps in bowel movement. This part also contains pectin – an agent used by nutritional supplements to manage cholesterol levels in the body.
Don’t be limited with eating the whole fruit by itself you can add it to salads as an alternative to sweeter fruits.
Extracting juice or buying it in juice form
If you feel that peeling grapefruit is messy or the fruit isn’t in season, the next best option would be drinking it in juice form. When buying grapefruit juice make sure that it contains 100% juice and not flavored or artificially sweetened.
Also try to look for something that has the pulp to enjoy the benefits of dietary fiber that’s also present in it.
Some good options would be Florida’s Natural Ruby Red Grapefruit and Ocean Spray Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice.
You want it fresh, you could use a citrus reamer and extract juice from a whole grapefruit but a better option would be using a masticating juicer so that you can include the pith.
Grapefruit Seed extract
Another way of consuming grapefruit minus eating the fruit or drinking the juice is consuming it in tablet form.
Grapefruit seed extracts are made from the fruit, seeds and white membrane (otherwise known as the pith) of grapefruit and used in many cultures to cleanse their bodies from harmful organisms .
Not only is grapefruit extract beneficial to our internal organs it also proven to fight external organisms like candida . This property makes it a good option to wash fruits and vegetables and potent enough to replace chlorine as a water purification agent .
Possible Side Effects
If you are taking any form of prescribed medication you have to consult your doctor before consuming grapefruit juice.
According to this published report in WebMD, grapefruit juice inhibits a chemical in the intestine that’s needed by the body to break down drugs inside the body. Without this chemical, blood levels increase making the drug more potent.
Some of the drugs that don’t go well with grapefruit juice are Plendil, Procardia and Nisocor – these drugs are all known as calcium channel blockers.
Sedatives such as Xanax and Valium also don’t go well with grapefruit. Other types of medications are also listed in the article but that does not mean you can’t have grapefruit juice when you’re taking prescription drugs. Make sure to consult with your doctor before doing such.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal lists 43 drugs that you should not mix with grapefruit. As new drugs come into the market that list I shared will continue to expand and if you’re taking any medication prescribed by your doctor, make sure to consult first before integrating grapefruit into your diet.
There’s a Whole Lot More to Grapefruit
There is a lot more to grapefruit than even what I have here. Even better, studies continue to come up that show grapefruit doing even more good for your overall health.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can supercharge your diet. In addition, it goes exceptionally well with other ingredients, especially if you are into juicing as I am.
You may have noticed that many of the listed benefits are multiple benefits in one. There is just so much to the grapefruit that it can seem a little overwhelming at times. What did you think? Was it enough to get you started down the path of incorporating grapefruit into your diet?
If you have thoughts on these grapefruit benefits, or something to share about any point listed here, feel free to share in the comments.