Grapefruits come in white, yellow, pink or red with a sour to sweet taste – this is most often a refreshing combination of both flavors. Whatever color of fruit you choose, there are few calories in this fruit, but the taste is amazing and there are a lot of vitamins and minerals. Only half the fetus can provide you with half the daily vitamin C requirement – one of the reasons why grapefruit is beneficial in many areas of health.
Grapefruit contains healthy phytochemicals such as lycopene and beta-carotene (in pink and red varieties), limonoids such as limonin and flavonoids such as naringenin. It is not surprising why this fruit is often included in the list of products useful for tumor diseases. In addition, multiple studies, including those published in the Journal of Medicinal Food , prove that grapefruit is an excellent weight loss product when consumed half of this fruit per day.
Grapefruit has many health benefits. It can be consumed both fresh and in the form of juice. Essential oil and grapefruit seed extract can be used for your health. In this article we will consider what grapefruit is, its benefits and harms for the human body, calorie content and nutrient profile, as well as how much of this fruit can be consumed per day.
Nutrition Facts and Nutrients in Grapefruit
Grapefruit is an edible fruit of the Citrus family that grows on a grapefruit tree (Citrus paradisi). According to Harvard Medical School, it has a glycemic index of 25 (average value), which indicates that grapefruit contains sugar, but it is not enough, and therefore, in moderate amounts, the fruit can be consumed without fear of sudden spikes in blood sugar.
Grapefruit, like all citrus fruits ( oranges , lemons, pomelo) contains few calories, but many useful compounds. The nutritional profile of grapefruit depends on the color of the fruit. Pink or red color means that it contains beta-carotene and lycopene.
To give you an idea of some of the best nutrients in grapefruit, half of the pink or red fruit (about 123 grams) contains approximately:
Calories : 51.7 kcal
Carbohydrates : 13.1 gr.
Protein : 0.9 gr.
Fats : 0.2 gr.
Fiber : 2 gr.
Vitamin C : 38.4 mg (64%)
Vitamin A : 1.415 IU (28%)
Potassium : 166 mg (5%)
Folic acid : 16 mcg (4%)
Thiamine : 0.1 mg (4%)
Calcium : 27 , 1 mg (3%)
Pantothenic acid : 0.3 mg (3%)
Vitamin B6 : 0.1 mg (3%)
Magnesium : 11.1 mg (3%)
As you can see, the benefits of grapefruit lies in the fact that it is a superfood saturated with nutrients, especially rich in vitamin C. One grapefruit contains about 100 calories, and it provides more than 100% of the human body’s daily need for vitamin C.
The benefits of grapefruit for the human body
The benefits of the fruit we are considering are numerous. Let us examine in more detail six of its main useful properties that have scientific evidence:
1. Useful for losing weight.
Despite conflicting information on the Internet about the “weight loss” abilities of grapefruit, scientists continue to identify that eating fruit really contributes to weight loss. The key to this property is an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which is activated by an organic compound called nootcatone. When AMPK is activated, it stimulates the body’s energy production processes, such as glucose uptake, which helps increase metabolism. This, in turn, can contribute to weight loss. AMPK is usually activated during exercise to help muscles use stored sugar and fat for energy.
An animal study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism found that long-term intake of nootkaton “significantly reduces the formation of fat deposits, especially in the abdomen, the increase in hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperleptinemia.” The study concluded that nootkaton not only helps prevent obesity, but can also improve overall physical performance ( 1 ).
Animal studies have shown that grapefruit juice is far superior in its effectiveness to anti-obesity drugs when it comes to weight loss. In particular, one study compared grapefruit juice with sibutramine, which is no longer available due to concerns about an increased risk of heart attack and the risk of stroke after use. Not only is juice more effective for weight loss than sibutramine, but it also has absolutely no effect on neurotransmitters, as sibutramine did ( 2 ).
If animal studies are not convincing enough, there are studies involving people. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food examined the effects of grapefruit on body weight and metabolic syndrome in 91 obese patients. Capsules and grapefruit juice led to more weight loss than placebo groups, but fresh grapefruit was definitely the best and showed the maximum effect of weight loss. Eating half of the fresh fruit before meals was associated with significant weight loss and improved insulin resistance ( 3 ).
2. Reduces cellulite
Another of the bright beneficial properties of grapefruit for the human body is its obvious ability to inhibit the formation of cellulite. According to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science , the main way to use fruit to reduce cellulite is to inhale a pair of grapefruit extract, as it stimulates the nervous system by 250%. This aromatherapy in combination with an anti-cellulite cream containing caffeine can have a significant weight loss effect ( 4 ).
Grapefruit contains significant levels of anti-inflammatory and skin cleansing agents, including the enzyme bromelain, which is known to help break down cellulite. Therefore, if you are interested in the topic of getting rid of cellulite, pay attention to grapefruit!
3. Helps fight cancer
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, in vitro and animal experiments have shown that phytochemicals grapefruit naringenin and limonin have the ability to reduce the growth of cancer of the colon, mouth, skin, lung, chest, and stomach. The experiments showed that not only proliferation slows down, but self-destruction of cancer cells occurs. These compounds are believed to work in a two-pronged approach: “They reduce inflammation and increase enzymes that deactivate carcinogens” ( 5 ).
It has been proven that the main antioxidant in grapefruit – vitamin C prevents the harmful changes in DNA caused by free radicals and prevents the development of carcinogens. All this makes grapefruit one of the most effective anti-cancer products.
4. Enhances immunity
Given that the fruit in question is in the top products for the highest content of vitamin C, it will be difficult for you to disagree with the fact that its use is a healthy way to start your day, especially in the cold season. Red and pink varieties are especially rich in bioflavonoids and provide additional immunity.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that all cells of our immune system function at their peak when they receive a sufficient amount of vitamin C on an ongoing basis. When cells get the vitamin C they need from plant sources such as grapefruit, these vital cells in the human body are better able to identify and successfully destroy any invading microorganisms (such as those that cause the disease). Many experts agree that not getting enough vitamin C can lead to the fact that the human body is more likely to become infected with diseases and infections.
5. Reduces the risk of stroke
The benefits of grapefruit for the human body are manifested in the strengthening of heart health. According to a study by the American Heart Association in 2012, eating grapefruit and oranges is good for lowering your risk of stroke, especially for women. Citrus fruits are very rich in flavonoids, and this study shows that a higher intake of flavonoids can reduce the risk of ischemic stroke.
Less than 70 thousand women participated in the experiment and it turned out that women who consumed a large amount of flavonoids in citrus fruits had a 19% lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least amount of citrus fruits. In addition, in previous experience it was concluded that the consumption of citrus fruits, and not other fruits, improved the risk indicators of ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage ( 6 ).
6. Improves skin health and appearance
There are currently many cosmetic and skin cleansing products on the cosmetic market that contain grapefruit as the main ingredient. The fruit contains natural acids that cleanse the skin when used in skin care products. In addition, it is filled with vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to protect the skin, and is also important for the formation of collagen, the main building block of our skin. Collagen production is key to making your skin look younger and wrinkle free.
Pink grapefruit is rich in beta-carotene, which affects the ability to slow the aging of skin cells and, as you know, reduces the symptoms of hyperpigmentation. The fruit contains lycopene, which protects against sun damage to the skin and mutations, and inflammation in general. And last but not least, grapefruit contains an ingredient to fight acne and enlarged pores that you’ve probably heard about before – salicylic acid. This makes it a potential treatment for acne ( 7 ).
In general, the internal and external use of grapefruit is indeed a double effective blow when it comes to the health and appearance of your skin.
How to cut grapefruit correctly:
- First cut the fruit in half
- Then use a knife (ideally a serrated knife) to completely separate the flesh from the rind around the perimeter.
- Now, using a thin knife, separate each segment (segment) from each other.
- Place the fruit in a bowl and use a spoon to eat segments.
Grapefruit: possible harm, contraindications and side effects
- It is forbidden to take medications with grapefruit. There are a large number of drugs that absolutely do not combine with grapefruit or grapefruit juice. This can be harmful to your body. Therefore, if you take any medicine before eating fruit, consult your doctor. Among the known drugs that can cause serious side effects: statins (lovastatin, atorvastatin, simvastatin), antihistamines (fexofenadine, terfenadine), calcium antagonists (nimodipine, verapamil), immunosuppressants (cyclosporine, tacrolimus), painkillers (methadone) and many others.
Why does grapefruit react negatively or even dangerously to certain medications? This is due to the fact that it blocks the work of special compounds in the body – furanocoumarins, which are organic chemical compounds that block CYP3A4 enzymes in the human body. The problem is that these enzymes are necessary for the breakdown and elimination of more than 50%. Unfortunately, CY enzymes can remain blocked after eating fruit in any form for more than 24 hours ( 8 ).
- Some studies have shown that people with cancer, especially women with hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast cancer, should avoid excessive consumption of this fruit ( 9 ).
- Another interaction to remember is grapefruit and caffeine. Grapefruit can slow the elimination of caffeine by the body, which can lead to a higher likelihood of an overdose of caffeine, and harm the human body, causing increased nervousness and headaches.
- It is not recommended to use grapefruit on an empty stomach for people with problems of the gastrointestinal tract, due to the increased acidity of this fruit.
So, we examined in detail the issue of the benefits and harms of grapefruit for the human body. To summarize:
Obviously, the fruit in question has great health benefits. The anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and skin softening properties make it a superstar fruit that contains few calories and sugar, but with a high content of vital nutrients and health benefits. In addition, half a grapefruit per day can help you lose weight and, in addition, is the prevention of many diseases.