Health Benefits of Grapefruits

Health Benefits of Grapefruits

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Goodness of Grapefruit

Once known as ‘forbidden fruits’, grapefruits have found place in every house. They were called “grapefruit” because of the way the fruit grew in clusters similar to that of grapes.

In the 18th century grapefruits grew as a hybrid between a pomelo and an orange. Texas Red Grapefruit became the official fruit of Texas. It is refreshing with the blend of sweetness and tang.

Grapefruit - Nutrition & Facts

Grapefruits have powerful antioxidant qualities as they contain lycopene, beta-carotene along with the phytonutrients, limonoids and naringenin. The color of grapefruits ranges from champagne, red and pink. Grapefruits also contain some amount of riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin E, thiamine, copper, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus.

Health Benefits of Grapefruit

Grapefruit Health Benefits

Prevents Formation of Kidney Cysts

According to a recent research, Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London found that Naringenin, a flavonoid, can successfully block the formation of kidney cysts, by regulating the PKD2 protein responsible for the condition. Polycystic kidney disease is marked by formation of kidney cysts, which can lead to kidney enlargement and eventually kidney failure. Naringenin is found in other citrus fruits as well, but, it is present in more concentrated form in grapefruit. Though supplements or intravenous injection is more effective for treating this condition, regular intake of grapefruits or grapefruit juice provides hydration, potassium for the healthy functioning of the kidneys.

Fights Against Cancer

Various research indicate that naringenin and limonin decrease growth of cancer and increase self-destruction of mouth, colon, skin, breast, lung, and stomach cancers. They increase enzymes that deactivate carcinogens and decrease inflammation. Naringenin also inhibits enzyme that stimulates estrogen production. Vitamin C and other phytonutrients in grapefruits make them an anti-cancer food. A team of researchers led by Chen J found that lycopene in grapefruit shuts down the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in prostate cancer.

Aids Weight Loss

Eating half a grapefruit before every meal can lead to weight loss. Grapefruit capsule and juice also induce weight loss but a little less compared to the fresh fruit. Grapefruit is a good appetite suppressant as it stimulates cholecystokinin, a hormone that acts as a hunger suppressant. It stimulates the release of gastric juices, and combats flatulence and constipation. A 2014 murine study by Chudnovskiy R, and team showed that consumption of clarified grapefruit juice ameliorates high-fat diet induced insulin resistance and weight gain in mice. The study showed that grapefruit juice consumption decreased blood glucose similar to the effect of anti-diabetic drug metformin. It also reduced weight and improved insulin tolerance. These outcomes were independent of reduction of caloric uptake and the amount of fat in the diet.

Grapefruit Can Help You Lose Weight

Promotes Bone Health

Earlier animal studies prove that drinking grapefruit juice positively affected bone quality by enhancing bone mineral deposition. Grapefruits preserve bone mineral density, reduce bone loss and decrease the risk of osteoporosis.

Improves Heart Health and Lowers Blood Pressure

Grapefruit with its treasure of potassium, lycopene, fiber, vitamin C and choline helps to promote healthy heart. Studies show that 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Grapefruit provides 4% of daily requirement of potassium. Consumption of a grapefruit every day can lower the risk of developing heart disease. It helps to reduce triglycerides levels. Grapefruit lowers blood pressure because of the vasodilation effects owing to potassium. However, patients with heart disease should consult their physician, about consuming grapefruit juice or fruit, as it may interfere with the medication. Grapefruit pectin can decrease plasma cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and the ratio of low-density lipoprotein to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Lowers Risk of Stroke

According to research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association it was seen that women who ate high amounts of flavanones in citrus, had a 19% lower risk of blood clot-related (ischemic) stroke compared to the women who consumed the least amounts. Oranges and grapefruits are rich in Vitamin C and flavonoids.

Heals Gums

Studies have shown that grapefruit consumption twice a day can push the levels of vitamin C in the body which can stop the bleeding gums. Vitamin C promotes the healing of wounds and grapefruits can treat and prevent gum diseases.

Grapefruit is Good for Your Gums

Provides Hydration

Grapefruits contain 90% water. They are good source of fluids besides water. Its water content and electrolytes can prevent dehydration all year round. Detox water can be prepared with grapefruits in combination with any other fruit of your choice.

Detoxifies Liver

Grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants, which enhances the natural cleansing processes of the liver. A small glass of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice or half fresh fruit will help boost production of the liver detoxification enzymes which in turn flushes out the carcinogens and other toxins.

Boosts Immune system

Grapefruit has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory qualities. Its phytonutrients boost the immune system against colds and cough. It has natural quinine that helps to combat malaria. The tryptophan in grapefruit juice promotes sleep and fight insomnia.

Improves Skin Health

Vitamin C helps in the formation of collagen. Grapefruits thereby help to improve the texture of skin, and combat wrinkles. Its water content and vitamin A keeps the skin well hydrated and glowing. A paste of grapefruit juice and yogurt can be used as face mask to remove fine lines. Grapefruit juice can be added to brown sugar and coconut oil as a scrub to exfoliate the skin.     

Grapefruit Improves Skin Health and Combats Wrinkles

Faceoff Orange and Grapefruit

Generally a medium size orange and half grapefruit are compared in terms of nutrition. The significant differences include:
  • Grapefruit provides 74% Daily Value of Vitamin C while orange provides 116% Daily Value of Vitamin C.
  • Grapefruit provides 24% Daily Value of Vitamin A and orange provides 6% Daily Value of Vitamin A. 
  • Oranges have more potassium, Vitamin B1 and fiber than grapefruit. Orange juice contains around three times as much folate as grapefruit juice. Oranges have more polyphenols and phytonutrients than grapefruits.

Grapefruit and Medication: Caveat

Despite possessing host of benefits, grapefruit juice can dangerously interact with several medications. Furanocoumarin is one of the many chemicals in grapefruit that interacts with medications. It binds to an enzyme CYP3A4 in the intestinal tract. As a result, the absorption of certain medications decreases and the medication passes from the gut to the bloodstream. The medication levels in the blood can spike to dangerous levels. A single glass can result in a 47% reduction of the intestinal enzyme responsible for regulation of medication. The effect can last for 24 hours.

Grapefruit juice and Medication Interactions

Drug category (major uses)Medications substantially boosted by grapefruit juiceGeneric name (Brand name)Medications that have little or no interaction with grapefruit juiceGeneric name (Brand name)
Calcium channel blockers (high blood pressure, angina)Felodipine (Plendil)Nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat)Verapamil (Calan, Isoptin)Diltiazem (Cardizem)Amlodipine (Norvasc)
Statins (high cholesterol)Atorvastatin (Lipitor)Simvastatin (Zocor)Lovastatin (Mevacor)Fluvastatin (Lescol)Pravastatin (Pravachol)Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
Immunosuppressants (to prevent rejection of transplanted organs)Cyclosporine (Sandimmune) 
Benzodiazepines (anxiety, insomnia)Diazepam (Valium)Triazolam (Halcion)Midazolam (Versed)Flurazepam (Dalmane)Clonazepam (Klonopin)
Other neurological and psychiatric medicationsBuspirone (BuSpar)Sertraline (Zoloft)Carbamazepine (Tegretol)Haloperidol (Haldol)Trazodone (Desyrel)Zolpidem (Ambien)


Grapefruit can be eaten just like any other fruit. Salting a grapefruit makes it sweeter. It can be incorporated into any salad with nuts added in. It pairs well with fish. Grapefruit juice makes refreshing sorbets, mousses, jellies and smoothies. Ginger, sweet potato and grapefruit soup to beat the winter cold can be a sizzling idea.

Ginger, Sweet Potato and Grapefruit soup

  • 2 boiled and peeled sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoon butter
  • ½ to 1 cup grapefruit juice
  • ½ cup de-seeded grapefruit slices
  • 2-3 cups stock
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream and carrots (optional)
  • Seasoning – salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme,
  • For sauté – diced onions and/or 1 garlic clove
  • Add butter to ceramic saucepan (avoid Teflon and Aluminum vessels) and sauté onions and garlic till golden brown.
  • Deglaze with grapefruit juice.
  • Add ginger, sweet potato and stock.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Cool the mixture and make its puree along with grapefruit slices in the blender.
  • Return it to the saucepan and put it over low flame to incorporate the seasonings.
  • Add seasonings and cream. 
  • Serve hot.
If raw carrots and sweet potatoes are used then cooking time will continue till they are tender.

Nutrition Facts for Grapefruit

The nutritional values of "Grapefruit" per 100 grams are:

Nutrition Summary
Total Calories 39
Protein 0.5 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 9.2 g
NutrientsAmount%Daily Value
Calcium, Ca 9 mg 0.9 %
Copper, Cu 0.03 mg 1.65 %
Iron, Fe 0.2  mg 1.11 %
Magnesium, Mg 12 mg 3 %
Manganese, Mn 0.02 mg 1 %
Phosphorus, P 15 mg 1.5 %
Potassium, K 162  mg 4.63 %
Selenium, Se ~
Sodium, Na 1 mg 0.04 %
Zinc, Zn 0.05 mg 0.33 %
Vitamin A 440  IU 8.8 %
Vitamin C 38 mg 63.33 %
Vitamin B6 0.04 mg 2.2 %
Vitamin E ~
Vitamin K ~
Riboflavin 0.02  mg 1.18 %
Thiamin 0.04 mg 2.67 %
Folate, DFE 10  mcg 2.5 %
Niacin 0.2  mg 1 %
Sugars ~
Fiber ~
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Water 90 g
Carotene, alpha ~
Carotene, beta ~
Choline ~
Lycopene ~
View all +
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R25
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

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