Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a member of the citrus family. It is cultivated in the tropics. It is known for its somewhat sour and sweet taste.

It contains a lot of fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients. This makes it a very healthy citrus fruit.

Studies have shown that the health benefits of grapefruit are immense. It is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, and also facilitate weight loss.

This article will discuss 10 fact-based grapefruit health benefits.

1.      Grapefruit contains very little calories but is high in nutrients

There’s no doubt that grapefruit is a very healthy food, one that you must add to your diet. It contains a high amount of nutrients, and as a plus, its calorie content is on the low side. It is worth knowing that grapefruit is one of the lowest-calorie fruits.

It is rich in fiber, along with 15 other vitamins and minerals.

Some important nutrients that you can get from a medium-sized fruit include (1):

  • 52 calories
  • 13g of carbs
  • 1g of protein
  • 2g of fiber
  • 28% of the RDI of vitamin A
  • 64% of the RDI of vitamin C
  • 4% of the RDI of thiamine
  • 5% of the RDI of potassium
  • 4% of the RDI of folate
  • 3% of the RDI of magnesium

Also, it is loaded with very powerful phytochemicals, which contributes to its many health benefits.

2.      Grapefruit is an immune system booster

Regular intake of this fruit may be beneficial to your immune system.

One of the things that makes this fruit tick is its high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants protect your cells from the damaging effects of viruses and bacteria (2).

Also, results from research have shown that vitamin C boosts recovery from the common cold (34567).

Grapefruit also contains other minerals and vitamins that boost immunity, such as vitamin A. Vitamin A has anti-inflammatory functions and also protects against many infectious diseases (89).

There are also some small amounts of zinc, B vitamins, iron, and copper in grapefruit. These minerals boost immune system function and also keep your skin healthy. Recall that your skin is a protective barrier against infection (10).

3.      It helps to control appetite

Grapefruit is rich in fiber – you can get up to 2g from a half medium-sized fruit (1).

Studies have shown that a fiber-rich food induces satiety. Fiber slows your stomach-emptying time and increases digestion time (111213).

So, taking in enough fiber may automatically reduce your daily calorie intake and keep your appetite at bay (14).

4.      Grapefruit has weight loss benefits

One of the most important health benefits of grapefruit is that it promotes weight loss.

Its fiber content contributes to its weight loss effect. Fiber increases satiety and consequently – a reduction in calorie intake (14151617).

It is also important to note that grapefruit contains plenty of water, and water helps with weight loss (18).

A study involving 91 obese subjects found that consuming half of a fresh grapefruit before meals caused a significant weight loss in the subjects compared to those who did not (19).

Participants in the study who ate grapefruit lost over 3.5 pounds within 12 weeks, while those who didn’t eat the fruit lost less than one pound (0.3kg) (19).

Other studies have yielded similar results. For example, a study found that daily consumption of grapefruit caused a reduction in the waist size of the participants (2021).

I’m not saying that grapefruit will cause drastic weight loss on its own but combining it with a healthy diet will be of immense benefit.

5.      It may prevent diabetes and insulin resistance

Regular intake of grapefruit may be able to prevent insulin resistance. Of course, insulin resistance causes diabetes.

A person is said to have insulin resistance when their cells become insensitive to insulin.

Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas. It regulates many processes in your body. For instance, it is involved in most metabolic processes in your body. But, it is mostly known for its role in blood sugar control (22).

Insulin resistance increases the levels of sugar and insulin in the blood – and both are major risk factors for type 2 diabetes (222324).

Intake of grapefruit can regulate insulin levels, thus reducing your risk of developing insulin resistance (19).

In a particular study, participants who consumed half of a fresh grapefruit before eating their meals experienced a drastic reduction in insulin resistance and blood insulin levels, compared to those who did not eat the fruit (19).

Also, the intake of fruit is associated with enhanced blood sugar control and a low risk of type 2 diabetes (2526).

6.      It improves heart health

Regular intake of grapefruit improves heart health. It reduces cholesterol, blood pressure, and other risk factors for heart disease.

In a particular study, subjects who ate grapefruit three times per day for six weeks experienced drastic reductions in blood pressure. Their total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels also decreased (21).

These effects are attributed to the many important nutrients in grapefruit, which keeps your heart functioning at optimum levels.

Grapefruit is rich in potassium. Potassium boosts your heart health. Half of a grapefruit provides up to 5% of your potassium RDI (1272829).

High potassium consumption is associated with a low risk of high blood pressure. Also, potassium reduces the risk of death from heart disease (2930).

Also, the fiber content of grapefruit improves heart health, considering that high fiber intake is linked to a reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol levels (17).

Also, studies have shown that antioxidant and fiber-rich fruits (including grapefruit) protects against stroke and heart conditions (113132).

7.      It is loaded with antioxidants

Grapefruit contains some antioxidants that are beneficial to health (33).

Antioxidants safeguard your body cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can trigger harmful reactions in your body (34).

Some important antioxidants present in grapefruit include:

Vitamin c

Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that protects your cells from damage. These damages may lead to cancer and heart disease (35).

Beta-carotene

Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. Vitamin C is believed to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and macular degeneration (36).

Lycopene

Lycopene can suppress some types of cancer, mostly prostate cancer. It may also slow tumor growth and decrease the side effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments (3738).

Flavanones

Their anti-inflammatory properties reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels, thus minimizing the risk of heart disease (3940).

8.      Grapefruit reduces the risk of kidney stones

Intake of grapefruits reduces your risk of having kidney stones, which causes the accumulation of waste in your kidneys.

These wastes are byproducts of metabolism that are usually filtered through your kidneys and flushed out via urine.

On the other hand, when these kidneys crystallize, they turn to stones. Large kidney stones block your urinary system – and this causes intense pain.

Calcium oxalate stone is the most common type of kidney stone. The citric acid in grapefruit prevents the formation of calcium oxalate stone by binding with calcium and flushing it out of the kidneys (4142).

Citric acid can increase urine volume and pH, thus creating an environment that doesn’t support the formation of kidney stones (43).

9.      It is hydrating

There’s a lot of water in grapefruit. This makes it very hydrating.

Half a medium grapefruit contains up to 4 ounces of water. This accounts for 88% of the total weight of grapefruit (1).

Drinking plenty of water prevents dehydration, but you can also benefit from water-rich foods.

10.  You can easily incorporate grapefruit into your diet

There’s not much to do when it comes to preparing grapefruit for consumption. So, it is quite easy to incorporate into your diet.

Even if you are living a busy life, you can still enjoy it.

Below are some ways you can enjoy the fruit:

  • Snack on the fruit slices
  • Substitute it for unhealthy desserts
  • Use it on salads (containing avocado, and kale)

Grapefruit can interact with certain medications

Here’s the thing – grapefruit or grapefruit juice interacts with certain medications (44).

Why? Because it contains compounds that inhibit cytochrome P450. Cytochrome P450 is an enzyme produced by your body. It helps to metabolize certain medications in your body.

If you eat grapefruits while taking some of these medications, they won’t be metabolized, and this will lead to an overdose along with its adverse effects (44).

Medications that may interact with grapefruit include (44):

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Some statins
  • Indinavir
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Carbamazepine

If you are taking these medications, consult your doctor before including grapefruit in your diet.

Summary

Grapefruit is a very healthy fruit, in fact, one of the healthiest on the planet. It is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Grapefruit is sweet, and you can easily add it to your diet.