Proven Health Benefits of Grapefruit (Fruit or Juice) Backed By Science

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Grapefruit Health Benefits (Fruit, Juice) - is it good for you
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Grapefruit is a delicious citrus fruit that has pink, red, yellow, or white colored flesh. Grapefruit has many health benefits due to its abundance of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fiber. Consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice is good for your digestion, heart, and a strong immune system. Regularly eating a grapefruit a day is also a good way to help lose weight.

Many people like to kick-start their day by eating half a grapefruit. Grapefruit is packed with vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and other energy-boosting ingredients. Because of its rich antioxidant content, grapefruit can also help protect against many chronic diseases.

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In this article, you will learn about the many reasons why eating grapefruit is so good for you. You will also find out the health benefits of adding a glass of grapefruit juice to your diet to help keep you healthy.

At the end of the article you will find some important precautions you need to consider when consuming grapefruit.

Types of Grapefruit

There are many types of grapefruit, with pink grapefruit being the most popular.

The Journal of Food and Drug Analysis reports that grapefruit comes in many varieties from white to red. Some popular types of grapefruit are Ruby Red, pink grapefruits, and White Marsh grapefruit.

The color of grapefruit flesh depends on the amount of the powerful antioxidant lycopene. This beneficial compound gives pink and red grapefruits their distinct color. Yellow grapefruits only have a trace amount of lycopene. (1)

All types of grapefruit – pink, red, yellow, and white – contain a compound called furanocoumarin. This is found in the peel, pith, and flesh. This compound is mostly found in all types of grapefruit and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anticancer, and anti-obesity properties. (2)

Is Grapefruit Good for You?

Many studies point to the fact that grapefruit is a healthy fruit that is very good for you. Consuming grapefruit juice and grapefruits have been linked to improved nutritional intake.

The journal Food & Nutrition Research reports that people who regularly consume fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice usually meet their vitamin C, magnesium, and fiber daily requirements. (3)

Studies have also shown that the health benefits of grapefruit include better weight management, lower cholesterol levels, and lower inflammation markers. (3)

Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice – Nutrition

When looking at the nutritional value of grapefruit, it becomes clear that grapefruit is good for your health.

According to data provided by the United State Department of Agriculture, half a grapefruit (123 g) contains just 51 calories and 13 grams of carbs. The fact that grapefruit has a low glycemic index means that grapefruit is an extremely nutritious fruit for diabetics and if you want to lose weight. (4)

Another reason why grapefruit is good for weight loss is that it contains a good amount of fiber. One half pink grapefruit contains 2 grams of fiber which is 8% of your recommended daily intake (RDI).

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Grapefruit also contains a good amount of vitamin A and C. For example, ½ a pink grapefruit contains 38 grams of vitamin C which is 64% of your RDI. Drinking a glass of pink grapefruit juice gives you 94 g of vitamin C which is a massive 156% of your vitamin C RDI.

One serving of grapefruit (154 g) contains 1771 IU vitamin A (35% RDI), 20 mcg of folate (5% RDI), and 0.2 mg of vitamin E (1% RDI). (4)

A regular serving of grapefruit also contains amounts of magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, manganese, and phosphorus.

Having a glass of grapefruit juice with your breakfast will also give you a great vitamin boost at the start of the day. The juice from one fresh grapefruit squeezed contains 74 mg of vitamin C (124% RDI) and 863 IU of vitamin A (17% RDI). This serving of grapefruit juice also contains B-group vitamins and a good amount of important minerals. (5)

When comparing the nutritional content of oranges vs. grapefruits per serving, both are low-calorie fruits with zero fat. Both citrus fruits contain high levels of vitamin C and fiber, with oranges having slightly higher amount of carbs than grapefruit. Grapefruit has slightly fewer calories than oranges and contains significantly more vitamin A, whereas oranges have more vitamin C.

Grapefruit is packed with antioxidants

Many of the health benefits of grapefruit and grapefruit juice come from the high levels of antioxidants in the fruit.

Pink and red grapefruits are a rich source of lycopene and beta-carotene which have been linked to good heart health and cancer prevention. (3, 6)

Grapefruit also contains flavonoids and phenolic compounds such as naringin, gallic acid, and chlorogenic acid that have been linked to preventing cancer and good cardiovascular health. (7)

Some studies have shown that, while grapefruit peel has fewer antioxidants than orange peel, it still has a significant number of healthy antioxidant compounds. (8)

Grapefruit Health Benefits (Fruit and Juice)

Let’s look in more detail at the many benefits of eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit Can Help Lose Weight

A weight-loss diet that includes a grapefruit a day can help you lose weight quicker.

Grapefruit is good for weight loss because it is a good source of fiber and is low in calories. In fact, eating half a grapefruit for your breakfast only provides 52 calories. You will also get a good amount of vitamin C and also 8% of your fiber needs for the day. (4)

One study involving 85 obese men found that eating grapefruit helps to lose weight. Men on a calorie-restricted diet who ate ½ a grapefruit a day lost more weight than those who were on the same diet but didn’t consume grapefruit. (5)

In another study, grapefruit and grapefruit juice were more effective in helping to lose weight than apple juice. Over a 12-week period, the group that consumed ½ grapefruit before a meal lost 1.3 kg more than the group who consumed apple juice. Similar results were noted for both grapefruit juice and grapefruit weight-loss capsules. (6)

One study found that grapefruit extract has weight-reducing properties and can help to reduce oxidative stress in obese subjects. (7)

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Learn about more fat-burning foods like grapefruit that can help you get a slimmer figure.

Grapefruit juice may have weight loss benefits

Drinking grapefruit juice on your diet will help you lose weight and keep you hydrated.

A clinical trial on the effects of grapefruit juice on weight loss found that grapefruit helps prevent some complications of obesity.

Mice who were fed grapefruit juice lost more weight and had better cholesterol levels than those who didn’t. Scientists concluded that grapefruit juice is a health-promoting food for obesity. (8)

Further reading: How lemon water can help detox your body and lose weight at the same time.

Grapefruit promotes weight loss by controlling appetite

One of the reasons to eat grapefruit on your weight-loss diet is that it increases the feeling of fullness.

Grapefruit has a good amount of fiber and is a low-calorie fruit that is packed full of necessary nutrients for losing weight. Most scientific studies indicate that a high intake of dietary fiber is necessary to manage weight. (9)

Grapefruit also contains lots of water, which is another known factor to help with weight loss.

Grapefruit Promotes a Healthy Immune System

The health benefits of grapefruit are due to its antioxidant content that helps boost your immunity.

As already mentioned, grapefruit is high in vitamin A and vitamin C. Scientists say that vitamin C is an important antioxidant that is needed for strong immunity. Getting enough vitamin C helps to stimulate your immune system to resist various diseases and infections. (10)

Vitamin A is also needed to boost your body’s defenses. Vitamin A helps to enhance the immune response to protect against various pathogens that can affect the body’s health. (11)

Apart from drinking a glass of pink grapefruit juice for your immune system, learn about more immune-boosting foods you can eat.

Grapefruit is Good for Your Heart and Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Eating pink or red grapefruit every day can help improve your cardiovascular health.

The journal Metabolism reported that consuming half a red grapefruit before each meal can have heart health benefits. Scientists noted improvements in blood pressure and blood fats (lipids) that could help prevent cardiovascular disease. (12)

Grapefruit may help to lower blood pressure because it contains important minerals. According to researchers from Harvard Medical School, magnesium, potassium, and calcium are important to help regulate blood pressure. (13)

A glass of pink grapefruit juice contains 400 mg of potassium (11% RDI), 30 mg of magnesium (7% RDI), and 22 mg of calcium (2% RDI). So, consuming grapefruit can add towards getting potassium and magnesium in your diet to help treat hypertension. (5)

Find out what other natural home remedies you can use to help control high blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease.

Red Grapefruit May Lower Cholesterol

Grapefruit is a healthy citrus fruit to eat if you need to bring down high levels of cholesterol.

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Scientists have found that the grapefruit compound naringin has a cholesterol-lowering effect. One study on mice found that consuming grapefruit regularly has the potential to lower cholesterol. The research also found that grapefruit can help to prevent a buildup of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis). (14)

One study found that consuming ½ a grapefruit before a meal helped to increase levels of “good” cholesterol. (5)

The journal Clinical Cardiology reported that soluble fiber (pectin) in grapefruit helps to lower LDL (or, “bad”) cholesterol. This positive change in cholesterol was observed without making other dietary changes. (15)

Learn what other foods such as grapefruit help to lower cholesterol and help keep your vascular system working well.

Grapefruit Can Help Manage Diabetes Symptoms

Grapefruit is a healthy fruit to eat if you are a diabetic because it has a low glycemic index and it positively affects levels of insulin.

When studying the weight-loss effects of grapefruit, scientists also noted that fresh grapefruit helps to improve insulin resistance. (6)

Studies have also shown that compounds in grapefruit juice have the potential to improve glucose intolerance. (16)

A meta-analysis of cohort studies found that eating whole, fresh fruit such as grapefruit can help to prevent type 2 diabetes. Doctors recommend consuming 200 g daily of fresh fruit to lower your risk of diabetes. (17)

Learn about other foods you should consume to help control blood glucose levels after eating.

Grapefruit Promotes Good Cognitive Health

Adding grapefruit to your diet can also help improve your brain function and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.

The grapefruit compound naringin has an anti-inflammatory effect that promotes good brain health. (18)

Learn about some of the best foods you can eat to help improve your memory and brain function.

Grapefruit is Good for Your Skin

Because grapefruit is rich in vitamins C and A, consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice will help nourish your skin.

The journal Nutrients reports that vitamin C in your diet is essential for skin health. Vitamin C helps improve skin elasticity and provides an important protective barrier. Vitamin C is also needed to help in collagen development to improve the look and health of your skin. (19)

According to the journal Community Eye Health, vitamin A is also necessary to maintain healthy skin and replace skin cells. (20) Vitamin A from your diet also helps protect against dry skin, dry hair, and brittle fingernails. (21)

Consuming half a pink grapefruit daily will help you get over 60% of your vitamin C needs and nearly 30% of your vitamin A needs.

Grapefruit is Good for Your Digestive Health

One of the many reasons why grapefruit is good for you is that it helps your digestive system to work properly.

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Fiber, of course, is an important nutrient in digestive health. There are 1.6 grams of fiber in every 100 grams of grapefruit. This means that a standard serving of grapefruit (154 g) gives your 10% of your dietary fiber needs. (4)

Grapefruit also improves symptoms of constipation because of its decent amount of fiber and high water content. Fresh grapefruit is about 88% water and this helps to promote good bowel health. (4, 22)

If you have signs that your digestion isn’t working properly, find out what you can do to improve your digestive system.

Grapefruit May Help Reduce Your Risk of Kidney Stones

A glass of pink, yellow, or white grapefruit juice every day could help prevent kidney stones from forming.

Researchers have found that drinking citrus juices such as grapefruit juice helps to flush out excess minerals from your body. Diluting grapefruit juice in a glass of water helps to remove potassium citrate from the urinary system. The study suggested that grapefruit juice could be a cost-effective way to manage kidney stones. (23)

If you have signs of kidney stones, learn how you can also use apple cider vinegar to help dissolve the mineral buildup in your kidneys.

Grapefruit Can Boost Your Energy Levels

One of the reasons to eat ½ a juicy grapefruit for your breakfast is that it can give you energy for the day.

Although grapefruit is low in calories, there are compounds in grapefruit that positively affect your energy levels.

One study from Japan found that a grapefruit compound called nootkatone helps improve energy metabolism. Consuming grapefruit regularly as a juice or as fruit segments help to improve physical performance due to better energy metabolism. (24)

Apart from consuming a grapefruit to give you more energy, find out what other healthy foods are natural energy boosters.

Can Grapefruit Help You Sleep Better?

Many people view grapefruit as a healthy snack to enjoy before going to bed. Should you have a grapefruit at nighttime?

Although grapefruit is a healthy snack that you can enjoy at any time of the day, some people avoid grapefruit before bed. Doctors from WebMD say that grapefruit is among some of the foods that cause heartburn and this could affect your sleep quality. (25)

However, not everyone has heartburn from eating citrus fruits. So, eating a grapefruit before bed may be just the bedtime snack for you.

How to Eat Grapefruit

Grapefruit has a thick rind and pith that makes it more difficult to eat than an orange.

What is the best way to eat a grapefruit for its many health benefits?

You can cut a grapefruit in half and place in a bowl. If you want, you can drizzle some raw honey to sweeten the grapefruit and reduce its tart taste. Use a teaspoon to scoop out segments of the juicy pink or white flesh.

Another way to eat grapefruit is to cut a grapefruit in half and then into wedges. Use a sharp knife to cut between the rind and the flesh to create wedges without the skin.

Is Grapefruit Bad for You? Grapefruit Side Effects

Grapefruit is a healthy fruit packed with vitamins and goodness that can be enjoyed by most people.

However, there are a number of precautions when consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice regularly.

Grapefruit may interact with other drugs

One of the reasons why grapefruit may not be good for you is that it can interact with certain medications.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic warn that grapefruit can interfere with the way some prescription drugs work. Even taking your medication and grapefruit at different times isn’t enough to prevent the negative interaction. (26)

Some of the medications that grapefruit can affect include cholesterol-lowering drugs, medication for high blood pressure, anxiety, seizures, heart problems, hormone replacement therapy, coughs, and painkillers.

Researchers also warn that pink grapefruit, red grapefruit, and white grapefruit can all interfere with medications. (27)

If you take regular medication and want to consume grapefruit regularly, you should speak with your doctor.

Does grapefruit increase the risk of breast cancer?

Some women may be concerned about a potential risk of breast cancer from consuming grapefruit in their diet.

Is there a risk of breast cancer if you regularly consume grapefruit and grapefruit juice? The American Institute for Cancer Research reported in 2016 that there is no consistent evidence showing a link between breast cancer and grapefruit. One study in 2006 showed that grapefruit could increase estrogen levels in postmenopausal women. However, later studies on 2008 and 2009 showed no effect on estrogen levels. (28, 29, 30, 31)

One study from 2013 tested how grapefruit and grapefruit juice affect estrogen levels on 59 postmenopausal women. The results were inconsistent, with differences seen among individual women, between various types of estrogen and various grapefruit products. The researchers concluded that the results confirm that the process of hormone metabolism and absorption is complicated and further research is needed. (32)

Researchers also point out that nutrient-packed grapefruits have vitamins and antioxidants that help protect against cancer. For example, naringenin can help prevent the spread of certain types of cancer cells. Vitamin C also has many protective benefits for your immune system. (28)

Their advice is that it is reasonable to enjoy grapefruit as part of a healthy diet that incorporates many fruits. However, if you are concerned, you could limit your grapefruit intake until there is more evidence. (28)

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