Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi) is one of the healthiest tropical fruits out there.
It is native to Barbados in the Caribbean, and believed to be an accidental hybrid of the orange and the pomelo (1).
This juicy fruit is packed with essential nutrients, minerals and several phytonutrients, such as beta-carotene that boosts immunity and promotes eye health.
Grapefruit and its compounds have been associated to many health benefits, including preventing insulin resistance, aiding weight loss and improving heart health.
Here are 6 amazing health benefits of grapefruit.
- It is Loaded with Nutrients
Grapefruit may be low in calories, but it is rich in beneficial vitamins and minerals. In fact, it has a low glycemic index of roughly 25 per 120 grams serving.
One cup (230 grams) of raw grapefruit has just 73.6 calories but provides you with an impressive array of nutrients. More specifically, it contains the following (2):
- Energy: 32 kJ
- Dietary Fiber:53 grams
- Carbs:6 grams
- Protein:45 grams
- Iron:15% of the recommended DV
- Magnesium:5% of the recommended DV
- Vitamin C: 129% of the recommended DV
- Calcium:4 mg
- Potassium: 320 mg
- Phosphorus:4 mg
- Zinc:161 mcg
- Copper:108 mcg
- Beta-Carotene: 1270 µg
- Lycopene: 2610 µg
This fruit is especially rich in vitamin C and potassium, providing 129% and 8% of the recommended daily values, respectively.
Potassium is essential for decreasing blood pressure levels, lowering the risk of hypertension and coronary heart disease and preventing kidney stones. Meanwhile, vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that increases the absorption of iron in your gut, aids in wound healing and protects the immune defense system.
Additionally, it is a reliable source of several phytonutrients, which may have significant cardiovascular benefits.
- It Contains Highly Beneficial Antioxidants
Not only is grapefruit laden with nutrients, but it is also packed with highly beneficial antioxidants.
Antioxidants are bioactive substances that help restore the balance between free radical production and antioxidant defense, and thus prevent oxidative stress.
Grapefruit is especially rich in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene.
Beta-carotene acts as a strong antioxidant which protects your body from free radical damage. It is involved in slowing cognitive decline, enhancing eyesight and preventing skin damage and certain cancers.
Lycopene also protects your body from harmful compounds and exerts preventive effects against neurodegenerative disease and some high cholesterol-induced diseases.
Overall, grapefruit contains powerful antioxidants that may benefit your heart health and boost your immunity.
- It Promotes Heart Health
Grapefruit has been shown to benefit heart health and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
One clinical study in 74 overweight adults found that besides lowering wait circumference, grapefruit reduces total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure, all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (2).
Another particular benefit in metabolic syndrome patients is linked to the lycopene content of grapefruit. Several sources of evidence have shown that high blood levels of lycopene may extend the lives of the said patients by lowering the risk of mortality by up to 39% (3).
However, it should be noted that a 2004 study warned from consuming grapefruit juice while on a cardiovascular drug treatment because it may cause stroke or gangrene, especially in the elderly (3).
All in all, grapefruit consumption lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. But, if you have a heart disease or undergoing treatment for it, we highly recommend to always consult with your physician before incorporating grapefruit or any other food into your diet.
- It May Help Prevent Diabetes Mellitus
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100 million American adults have prediabetes or diabetes (4). That’s about 4 out of every 10 adults.
In general, a meta-analysis on the relationships between fruit consumption and the incidence of type 2 diabetes noted that consuming 200 grams of fruit per day reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 13% (6).
In this sense, several studies suggest that grapefruit consumption can potentially improve insulin resistance which is directly responsible for the development of prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.
For example, one study in metabolic syndrome patients has shown that fresh grapefruit and grapefruit products contribute to improving insulin resistance (5).
- And The Cheese On the Cake, It Aids in Weight Loss
Grapefruit is an excellent fat-burning fruit with a low energy density.
In fact, consuming grapefruit before meals promotes weight loss and increases your metabolism. Although the mechanisms by which grapefruit promotes weight loss are still unknown, certain studies have demonstrated its effectiveness and recommended to include it in a weight loss diet (5).
In addition, its fiber content has been shown to increase satiety (feeling of fullness) which means you are less likely to eat more calories during the day (6).