The health benefits of grapefruit
This round juicy superfruit with varying colors such as white, pale yellow, deep red, or pink delivers more than just nutritional benefits.
Packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and chemicals, grapefruit works wonders when incorporated into any lifestyle routine.
From weight loss, skincare routine, as a medication, culinary art, even as little as a bug repellant.
While detox drinks, herbal tea, apple cider vinegar, and diet pills are gaining all the hype, one of nature’s amazing creation is simply overlooked- when it’s something our body actually needs.
Grapefruit is a nutrient-dense fruit loaded with vitamins, minerals, pectin fiber, and phytonutrients.
It is known to have an acquired taste simply because of its varying flavors- sweet, mild, pungent, bitter, or a little bit sour.
Grapefruit stands out in the citrus fruit family as a star, a little bit more than its cousin, orange.
Grapefruit is just incredible. This healthy fruit is great as salads, a breakfast dish, a hydrating snack to replace junk, or even as a cold juice. They contain few calories and can boost satiety levels because of their high water content.
While most people confuse grapes and grapefruit to be the same thing, they are really two different fruits.
The name grapefruit is as a result of the fact that grapefruit grows in clusters or bunches, exactly like grapes. But grapefruit is certainly larger and heavier than a grape.
A little grapefruit story!
Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) is a citrus hybrid hailing from subtropical climates. According to research published in the American Society for Horticulture Science, its hybrid nature is as a result of the cross between a sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and pummelo (Citrus grandis).
The grapefruit originated in Barbados and this bittersweet crossing was said to be accidental. This starfruit was first described in 1750 by Griffth Hughes as the “forbidden fruit” in his book “the natural history of Barbados”.
When this fruit began to get cultivated, the name grapefruit was given to it. American horticulturists however thought of the name as inappropriate and called it “pomelo”. However, to avoid confusion with the pummelo, the name “grapefruit” was accepted.
Although, the true origin of the grapefruit was not discovered until 1940. The official name of the fruit was altered to Citrus x paradisi, the x referring to its hybrid origin.
Varieties of the grapefruit
There are different types of grapefruit all over the world. This citrus fruit comes in red, yellow, white, and pink. While most of them are similar in size, color, and shape, the taste could range from sweet to sour and then bitter.
There are many varieties you could choose from if you want to enjoy this citrus fruit. If opting for a commercial grapefruit, ensure it is fresh without any additives.
TIP: grapefruit is best enjoyed at room temperature.
- Oroblanco Grapefruit:
Also called “white gold”, this variety of grapefruit has yellow skin, is round and thick. It has a sweet taste and is really delicious and juicy. The oroblanco is seedless.
- Duncan Grapefruit:
This large yellow grapefruit is flavorful and really juicy. It contains lots of seeds and tastes super wonderful when ripe, excellent for juicing.
- Marsh Seedless Grapefruit:
It is one of the most popular commercial grapefruit. It looks like a green large lemon and is yellow-white inside. This variety of grapefruit is sweet and acidic with a very rich flavor.
- Thompson Grapefruit:
This seedless variety is one of the oldest grapefruit in cultivation. Its taste is similar to that of marsh seedless grapefruit, sweet and acidic.
- Star Ruby Grapefruit:
It has a yellow skin with a deep red and pink pulp. This fruit is extremely sweet because the redder the pulps’ color, the sweeter its taste. This variety lacks seeds.
- White Grapefruit:
This fruit is sweet, sour, has a creamy yellow rind and a pale yellow skin. It has an aromatic smell and is great as an accompaniment to syrups, fruity drinks, juices, and bruleéing for breakfast.
- Foster Grapefruit:
Foster grapefruit is a variety from Florida, its skin is yellow blushed with pink. It has a juicy pink pulp. Its taste is awesome but this variety is rare.
- Melogold Grapefruit:
Also called honey gold variety, this very rare variety is larger than a standard grapefruit. It has pale green or deep green skin with pale yellow flesh. Its flavor and taste are amazing.
- Ruby Red or Pink Grapefruit:
The skin of this refreshing fruit is yellow blushed with pink and the flesh, deep red or pale pink. It has a balance of sweetness and a little bit of tartness.
Grapefruit nutrition facts
All varieties of grapefruit are succulent and juicy. This is because a medium-sized grapefruit, 4inch diameter, 256 grams contains more than 230 grams of water. This is a great reason why grapefruit is good for breakfast and can help keep you hydrated.
The water content of grapefruit is similar to the daily recommended amount of water, 8-ounce glass of water. Your body needs water to function optimally and grapefruit is just the right citrus fruit to meet your body needs.
Asides from water, grapefruits are rich sources of vitamins C and A, folate(B9), potassium, fiber, and has a low-calorie content. Grapefruit is also loaded with high levels of calcium, magnesium, and beta-carotene.
This delicious fruit is rich in antioxidants such as choline, lycopene, phytophenols, flavones, and limonene. All of this is responsible for the awesome and healthy benefits grapefruit delivers to us.
The following information is provided by the USDA for a half medium-sized grapefruit
- 52 calories
- 1gram protein
- <0.5 gram fat
- 13 grams carbohydrate
- 2 grams fiber
- 5 grams sugar
- Vitamin C:64% of the RDI
- Vitamin A:28% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Thiamine: 4% of the RDI
- Folate: 4% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
Health benefits of grapefruit
- Natural Appetite Suppressants:
Foods rich in water content are known to boost satiety levels and reduce appetite. Consuming these foods before a meal or after a meal can increase leptin, the fullness hormone, and decrease the hunger hormone, ghrelin.
Grapefruit contains 92% water and ranks as one of the highest water contents of any fruit.
The body needs water to function at its best. Staying properly hydrated can reduce hunger pangs, appetite, and cravings for junk foods.
Grapefruit is also very rich in fiber. A medium-sized grapefruit contains 2 grams of fiber. Research shows that consuming fruits rich in fiber can reduce overindulgence and increase feelings of fullness.
Drinking adequate water and consuming adequate fiber can control calorie intake and keep your hunger levels in check.
- Improves Heart Health:
Consuming grapefruit regularly improves heart health by reducing the risk factors associated with heart diseases such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Grapefruits are filled with nutrients that boost the heart and keep it functioning optimally.
Nutrients such as potassium have been shown to lower the risk of death from heart failure by regulating blood pressure.
Also, regular consumption of fiber-rich foods controls and lowers cholesterol levels which aid the management of high blood pressure.
Grapefruit also contains flavonoids that improve coronary vasodilation and prevents oxidation of LDL(bad) cholesterol. To improve heart performance and reduce the risk of heart disease, eat a grapefruit.
- Improves Immunity:
Grapefruit is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, all of which helps to boost immunity. Its vitamin C content contains antioxidant properties that protect your body cells from the invasion of harmful bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin C also aids the quick recovery from the common cold.
Vitamin A protects the body against inflammation and chronic infectious diseases.
Grapefruit is also loaded with zinc, copper, iron, and folate that promotes the function of the immune system, and also ensures the skin acts as a protective barrier against diseases constantly.
- Aids Digestion:
Soluble fiber aids digestion and ensures your digestive system functions smoothly, void of digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea.
Insoluble fiber and soluble fiber plays a role in digestion. Soluble fiber dissolves in water by creating a gel that improves digestion.
Insoluble fiber makes stool softer and easier to pass out, hence, it promotes bowel health and regularity. Grapefruit is rich in fibers that have poop-promoting powers for those who struggle with passing stool.
- Promotes Weight Loss:
Looking for a weight-loss-friendly fruit? Look no further than the Grapefruit. It contains several nutrients and properties that aid weight loss by suppressing appetite, promoting fullness, and reducing intake of calories.
Incorporating grapefruit into a healthy diet can help promote weight loss. A study found that participants experienced a reduction in waist size when they incorporated grapefruit into their diet daily.
Another study involving 91 obese individuals found that those who ate half of a grapefruit before a meal lost more than those who did not take the citrus fruit.
Grapefruit is high in water and fiber and low in calories which reduces appetite and helps you achieve your weight loss goals.
- Packed With Antioxidants:
Grapefruit is a powerhouse of antioxidants. And antioxidants help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer, protect the body cells from free radicals while reducing the damage caused by oxidation.
The most important and beneficial antioxidants in grapefruits are; vitamin C which protects the cells from damage, beta-carotene which is being converted to vitamin A and reduces the risk of chronic conditions like eye-related disorders, cancer, and lycopene which prevents the development of cancer and slows the growth of tumors.
Flavones is not left out as it contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels and the risk of heart disease.
Benefits of grapefruit for the skin
Using Grapefruit naturally sometimes can brighten your skin and leave it looking and feeling fresh. Grapefruit can be used as a fruit-based product for the nourishment of your skin.
Grapefruits are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants as well as acidic properties. Grapefruit is recently gaining the hype as an important ingredient in some skincare products.
The acidic properties revive your skin and make it look like that of a baby while antioxidants create a barrier over your skin and protect it against free radicals that may stick to skin cells during pollution and yes, sunlight.
- Grapefruit helps to give a glowing and smooth skin as it contains beta-carotene. Also, lycopene reduces skin inflammation and redness on the skin, hence, giving a smooth and radiant skin
- Grapefruit is packed with vitamin A, an anti-aging property that reduces wrinkles
- It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that clean the skin and clear breakout.
Grapefruit and medications
While grapefruits boost the health, it contains some natural chemicals called furanocoumarins that can interfere with drugs and medications. Consuming grapefruit can lead to medication interactions.
Grapefruit contains substances that can inhibit cytochrome P450, an enzyme the body makes use of to breakdown and digest certain medications.
If grapefruit is taken with such medications, it could cause some nasty effects since your liver would experience trouble metabolizing such drugs.
Blood pressure medications, anxiety drugs, antihistamines, birth control pills, and other medications should be avoided because they can become less effective after consuming grapefruit.
Talk to your pharmacist about taking such medications or finding alternatives. You may also choose to avoid grapefruit and its juice while taking such medications.