Grapefruit has superpowers that are worth harnessing, especially now. The reddish-pink citrus fruit is loaded with powerful antioxidants in the pulp, the peel, and the juice, delivering a hefty dose of essential nutrients and vitamins to strengthen your immunity and lower your risk of disease. But, before you go ahead and bite into a bitter, juicy grapefruit, consult your doctor or health care provider to make sure the compounds in grapefruit don’t interfere with your medication like statins.
Several studies suggest that grapefruit is extremely potent and promotes natural weight loss, helps build a strong immune system, and reduces insulin resistance. Studies have shown that eating grapefruit may potentially reduce the risk of diabetes as well as kidney stones.
The wonder fruit (especially the pink variety) also contains the antioxidant lycopene, which improves cardiovascular health and had been shown to slow or prevent the growth of certain cancers, notably prostate cancer. However, cancer patients should consult their doctors before eating the powerful fruit, as it may lead to complications by interfering with chemotherapy.
Grapefruit is known for its high water-content that hydrates and nourishes the cells in your body,��providing the health benefits of an alkaline diet, including better sleep, brain function, and mood. Lastly, grapefruit contains natural citric acid which may positively affect the kidneys and help aid in digestion.
Learn more about all the reasons why you should add grapefruit to your daily diet with these top seven scientific-driven health benefits.
7 Health Reasons to Add Grapefruit to Your Diet Today
1. Grapefruits Are Nutrient-Dense and Low in Calories
Grapefruits are low in calories and high in nutrients, providing most of your vitamins and minerals. In fact, grapefruits are one of the lowest-calorie fruits with only 102 calories per large fruit. Because the fiber content is so high (4 grams per fruit), eating one will help you stay full throughout the day and may aid in weight loss.
Many nutritionists recommend grapefruit as a good source of all your recommended daily vitamins, as grapefruits are a healthy and all-natural way to build strong immunity. The citrus is high in Vitamin C with 128% of the RDI, which helps contribute to immune defense by supporting cell function. Grapefruits are also high in Vitamin A with 56% of the RDI, which protects the heart, lungs, and kidneys, all of which boost heart health and help lower risks of disease. In addition, grapefruits contain potassium, thiamine, folate, and magnesium, essential minerals your body needs.
2. Eating Grapefruit Protects Your Immune System
Immune function is an important part of everyday life and maintaining a strong defense against pathogens is particularly crucial right now, to help your body avoid getting sick. Grapefruits and other citrus fruits are immune heroes for their high content of vitamin C, which is known to help your cells fight off viruses, according to several studies. Vitamin C helps your body three ways: as an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial compound. A healthy immune system also protects against chronic inflammation.
Grapefruits also contain zinc, which can also support healthy immunity and helps stabilize metabolic function. In a study of the immune-enhancing roles of vitamin C and zinc and their effects, researchers noted that intakes of vitamin C and zinc helped shorten the duration of respiratory infections including the common cold, meaning the two compounds together may enhance the recovery time of certain illnesses.
3. Grapefruits May Control Appetite and Promote Weight Loss, Due to Their High-Fiber Content
Soluble fiber from natural foods like grapefruit mix with water and forms a gel-like substance that slows the pace of digested food into the stomach, making you feel full for longer. Therefore, eating a high fiber diet may aid in weight loss or help you maintain a healthy weight.
Grapefruit pulp is dense with fiber for such low-calorie food. One grapefruit contains 4 grams of soluble fiber for just 102 calories.”Women should aim for 25 grams or more fiber per day, while men should target 38 grams,” according to Holly Larson, a registered dietitian. If you start your day with grapefruit and pair it with a fibrous smoothie, you’re more than halfway to reaching the daily recommended amount for both men and women, for very little calories. Be mindful that juicing grapefruit or ordering a glass of grapefruit juice at brunch, you will not reap the benefits of fiber because the pulp of the citrus is where it lives.
The infamous Grapefruit Diet, popular since the 1950s, has stuck around because dieters drop weight quickly. The diet calls for eating half a grapefruit before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with other calorie restrictions. The idea is based on eating the fruit before your meal to make you feel fuller faster, and eat smaller portions. Don’t try any extreme diets before consulting with your doctor.
4. Grapefruit May Reduce Insulin Resistance and Lower Risk of Diabetes
If your cells become resistant to insulin, it’s possible that your blood sugar stays elevated, which eventually may lead to type 2 diabetes or other diseases if blood sugar exceeds a certain threshold for long periods. Therefore, it’s healthy to reduce insulin resistance to lower your risk of diabetes. Eating grapefruit regularly may reduce insulin resistance and protect your cells from damage. In a study of 91 obese participants, groups were given different fruits daily to determine which one had the most impact on weight loss. After the twelve weeks, the group that consumed grapefruit lost the most weight. Researches concluded two different hypotheses: “Insulin resistance was improved with fresh grapefruit” and “half of a fresh grapefruit eaten before meals were associated with significant weight loss.”
5. The Citric Acid in Grapefruits May Reduce Risk of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are extremely painful and common, affecting 1 in 11 people in the United States, according to a study. Grapefruits may reduce your risk of kidney stones due to the citric acid that naturally binds with calcium in the kidneys to flush out waste in the body, a study found. In addition, the citric acid in grapefruits increases the pH levels in the kidneys, deterring stones from forming.
Grapefruit may taste acidic, but the promotes alkaline pH balance in the body (whereas fatty foods promote an acid response in the body) which helps you reap all the benefits of an alkaline diet. Alkaline pH diets are known to improve kidney health, promote weight loss, prevent diseases, and reduce body aches and pains due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
6. Grapefruits May Improve Cardiovascular Health Due to Their Water Content
Grapefruits have high water content with almost 4 ounces of water in half of a medium-sized grapefruit or about 88% of the fruit’s total weight. Grapefruits are extremely hydrating and nourishing, which is why moisturizing skincare products often include citrus fruit as the main ingredient. A body that’s hydrated delivers nutrients to cells at a healthy rate and keeps the organs functioning properly, which can result in increased brain function, improved heart health, better sleep, and a happier mood, according to a Harvard review study. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink water, but water-dense foods also help.
7. The Pink Color of Grapefruit Comes From Lycopene, a Cancer-Fighting Antioxidant
Grapefruit gets its reddish, pink color from the antioxidant lycopene, an important nutrient that has been shown in the lab to have the ability to prevent the growth of certain cancers, notably prostate cancer, according to a study. However, cancer patients should always use caution and consult with a doctor “because lycopene supplementation is associated with strong antioxidant effects and has the potential to interfere with chemotherapy and radiation therapy,” according to the same study.
Grapefruit is Not For Everyone and You Should Ask Your Doctor About Its Side Effects
Perhaps in the best example of food as medicine, grapefruit is one powerful fruit, which is why it’s loaded with incredible health benefits. On the other hand, because the fruit is so potent, it may interfere with the medications you’re taking, so contact your doctor before eating it (compounds in grapefruit can neutralize statins for several days after eating one). In addition, eating grapefruit excessively may cause tooth enamel erosion due to the citric acid in the fruit. But on the balance, we’re pro grapefruit as one of the healthiest foods you can eat.