11 Wonderful Benefits of Grapefruit

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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The health benefits of grapefruits are many and nearly rival many other fruits. A glass of chilled grapefruit juice, especially in summer, helps boost levels of vitamin C in your body, which makes them a nutritious fruit amongst various citrus fruits. Grapefruits are packed with the benefits derived from various nutrients and vitamins, including potassium and lycopene. Along with these, they also contain calcium, sugar, and phosphorous. In terms of culinary value, these fruits are regularly included in breakfast as a refreshing and energizing start to the day.

What are Grapefruits?

Grapefruits are fruits that are high in fiber and low in calories (source: USDA’s Food Central Data), and they contain bioflavonoids and other plant chemicals that protect against serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, and the formation of tumors. Grapefruits increase the body’s metabolic rate, lower insulin levels, and give you a feeling of fullness. They assist the human body in fighting various conditions like fatigue, fever, malaria, diabetes, constipation, indigestion, urinary problems, excess acidity, and many more.

There are plenty of health benefits grapefruits have, which are also known to be powerful drug/poison eliminators. These fruits work as a natural antiseptic for external wounds and also function as a liver tonic. They contain a high amount of water, which helps in changing the complexion of the skin and increasing the body’s metabolic rate. Grapefruits also help to quench thirst and thus, reduce the burning sensation that arises during fever. The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that the intake of grapefruit reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer.

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6 Surprising Benefits Of Grapefruit | Organic Facts

Health Benefits of Grapefruits

Grapefruits may help prevent cardiovascular diseases, manage diabetes, improve digestion, improve sleep, and digestion. They also help reduce fever and fatigue. Let us take a look at these benefits in detail.

Nutrition Facts

Grapefruit, raw, pink and red, all areas
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]88.06
Energy [kcal]42
Energy [kJ]176
Protein [g]0.77
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.14
Ash [g]0.36
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]10.66
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.6
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]6.89
Sucrose [g]3.51
Glucose (dextrose) [g]1.61
Fructose [g]1.77
Calcium, Ca [mg]22
Iron, Fe [mg]0.08
Magnesium, Mg [mg]9
Phosphorus, P [mg]18
Potassium, K [mg]135
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.07
Copper, Cu [mg]0.03
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.02
Selenium, Se [µg]0.1
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]31.2
Thiamin [mg]0.04
Riboflavin [mg]0.03
Niacin [mg]0.2
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.26
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.05
Folate, total [µg]13
Folate, food [µg]13
Folate, DFE [µg]13
Choline, total [mg]7.7
Betaine [mg]0.1
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]58
Carotene, beta [µg]686
Carotene, alpha [µg]3
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]6
Vitamin A, IU [IU]1150
Lycopene [µg]1419
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]5
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.13
Tocotrienol, alpha [mg]0.02
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.02
16:0 [g]0.02
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.02
16:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.02
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.04
18:2 [g]0.03
18:3 [g]0.01
Tryptophan [g]0.01
Threonine [g]0.01
Isoleucine [g]0.01
Leucine [g]0.02
Lysine [g]0.02
Methionine [g]0.01
Cystine [g]0.01
Phenylalanine [g]0.01
Tyrosine [g]0.01
Valine [g]0.02
Arginine [g]0.09
Histidine [g]0.01
Alanine [g]0.02
Aspartic acid [g]0.14
Glutamic acid [g]0.2
Glycine [g]0.02
Proline [g]0.06
Serine [g]0.03
Sources include : USDA

Suppress Appetite

Grapefruit is an excellent appetite suppressant as compared to many other foods. The high amounts of fiber in these fruits can also assist in satisfying hunger, help people avoid overeating, and stimulate cholecystokinin to be released, a hormone that regulates digestive juices and acts as a hunger suppressant. This relationship was reiterated in a study, published in the Advances in Nutrition Journal.

Antioxidant Properties

Research published in Comprehensive Natural Products 2010 says that the bitter properties arising from an essence called ‘naringin‘ in grapefruits tone up the system and the digestive process. It is thought that grapefruit is a valuable remedy for influenza since it helps minimize acidity in the system. Naringin is also considered a flavonoid, which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants have antifungal, antibacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory qualities, making them one of the most important lines of defense in the immune system, protecting against influenza as well as many other serious conditions.

Helps Fight Malaria

The juice or grapefruit itself contains valuable and natural quinine, which is advantageous in the treatment of malaria, according to a study published in the Malaria Journal (Issue 2011). However, more research is still needed to confirm these results. Quinine is an alkaloid with a long history of reducing the symptoms of malaria, as well as lupus, arthritis, and nocturnal leg cramps. It is not an easy component to find in many foods, so grapefruits are a beneficial and rare example. The quinine can be easily extracted from the fruits by boiling a quarter of grapefruit and straining the pulp.

Reduce Fever

The pulp or the juice of grapefruit is thought to help patients recover quickly from fever, and reduce the burning sensation that occurs when the body reaches a high temperature. It is also known as a way to boost the immune system against cold and other common illnesses. Grapefruit juice, when combined with water, can quench thirst very quickly and keep you hydrated for longer. Most of these benefits come from the high content of vitamin C, which acts as a general immune defense system and can help the body in fighting the fever.

A closeup view of whole and sliced grapefruit

Whole and sliced grapefruits Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Reduce Fatigue

Grapefruits are beneficial when facing fatigue, as they can help you dispel your tiredness caused by routine or boring work. Drinking grapefruit juice can be a refreshing and delicious way to quickly boost your energy levels. Researchers from Japan found that nootkatone is a very rare and important compound found within grapefruits. Nootkatone improves energy metabolism in the body through AMPK activation. This results in higher endurance and boosted energy, increased weight loss, and a reduction in the chances of developing diabetes.

Improves Digestion

Grapefruit is often useful for indigestion. It is very light as compared to other foods and thus, acts immediately on indigestion by easing the heat and irritation caused in the stomach. It improves the flow of digestive juices, which facilitates the movement of the bowels and keeps your excretory system regulated. It is thought that this is due to the presence of fiber and vegetative pulp in grapefruits, which adds bulk to the bowels and regulates excretion. Grapefruit extract is also often used in modern medicine for these same reasons.

Promote Sleep

In traditional medicine, it is considered that a glass of grapefruit juice, if consumed before going to bed, can promote healthy sleep and alleviate the irritating symptoms and repercussions of insomnia. This is due to the presence of tryptophan in grapefruits, the chemical we often associate with becoming sleepy after big meals. The levels of tryptophan in grapefruit juice enable us to nod off peacefully.

Control Diabetes

Despite being a fruit, diabetics can eat grapefruits without much concern, as they can reduce the level of starch in the body. Intake of grapefruits can help them regulate the flow of sugar in their body, effectively handling the disease. According to a report published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, consuming grapefruit is likely to help control one’s insulin levels and consequently have the ability to lessen the chances of becoming insulin resistant. Recent studies published in the Cardiovascular Journal of Africa have shown this beneficial relationship between diabetes and grapefruits due to the flavonoid content of grapefruits, along with a number of other health benefits.

Reduce Acidity

Fresh grapefruit juice creates an alkaline condition in the intestines for proper digestion. The citric acid of the fruit is contained in the human body and thus it increases the efficiency of the alkalinity reaction after digestion. The juice extracted from grapefruits is beneficial in preventing acid formation and many other diseases that arise due to the presence of excess acidity in the body.

An infographic on health benefits of grapefruit

Grapefruits are rich in vitamin C. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Give Relief from Urinary Disorders

Grapefruit juice is quite rich in potassium and vitamin C, so it is a viable solution for issues related to the urinary system often caused by liver, kidney, or heart problems.

May help in preventing Cardiovascular Disease

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that consumption of grapefruit can help reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), as well as hazardous triglycerides. Furthermore, its high potassium content works as a vasodilator, meaning that blood vessels and arteries relax, thereby reducing blood pressure and lessening the risk of heart attack and stroke. Also, increased levels of potassium have been associated with higher cognitive function because of increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain! Grapefruits are natural sources of medicine that help the body fight off various diseases. They enable the human body to regulate cholesterol, which means that they minimize the risk of cardiovascular diseases caused by high cholesterol.

FAQs

How to cut a grapefruit?

The most common way to cut a grapefruit is to slit it in half and then use a knife or spoon to burrow the segments. There are two ends of a grapefruit, which are usually a little flat – the flower end, and the stem end. These appear like depressions on the grapefruit skin. Refrain from cutting through these. Take them as the top and bottom of the fruit. If you cut it from top to bottom, you will have to cut it in the same direction as that of the segments and you will not be able to use your grapefruit knife to do so. That is why it is recommended to cut it from side to side as that will allow you to have two grapefruit halves. This will make it easy for you to scoop out the segments easily. All you need is an extended, fine and a flexible knife to scoop out the segments easily.

How to eat grapefruits?

If you have never eaten a grapefruit before, be cautious as you could be allergic. Ideally, they should be hard but not too hard. Wash and cut the grapefruit in half as mentioned above. Sprinkle salt or sugar if desired.  Spread it evenly. Then take a spoon and insert it in the grapefruit and take out a chunk. Continue with this process until you are done.

Word of Caution: Despite all of these health benefits, you must exercise caution while taking medicines and consuming grapefruit juice at the same time. Certain chemicals in grapefruits, like naringin, and other less common compounds can negatively interact with various drugs and cause damage to your organ systems. Be sure to consult your doctor in terms of drug interactions with grapefruit juice in your diet before beginning any new treatment. You want to improve your health but sometimes doing it in too many different ways can hurt you!

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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