When it comes to citrus fruits, oranges and lemons are most popular. But there is another fruit that is often underestimated. The grapefruit is a citrus fruit that has some powerful health benefits.
In fact, grapefruit is known as the “fruit from the paradise” due to its unique health-promoting as well as disease-preventing properties.
Refreshing and delicious, grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. They also contain vitamin A, potassium, folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, copper, phosphorus and magnesium, as well as several phytonutrients and flavonoids.
This fruit is also very low in calories.
Grapefruits are the kind of nutritional powerhouse that can benefit your body in many ways.
1. Aids Weight Loss
Naturally packed with vitamin C, fiber and water, grapefruits are good for people trying to lose weight. The vitamin C content improves the function of your metabolic system and also regulates fat metabolism, thus aiding in fat-burning.
The fiber and water content of grapefruits even aids in reducing hunger pangs. This fruit can also help absorb and reduce the starch and sugar in the body.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food reports that half of a fresh grapefruit eaten before meals was associated with significant weight loss. In metabolic syndrome patients, the effect was also seen with grapefruit products.
A 2011 study published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that enjoying a pre-meal snack of grapefruit, grapefruit juice or water is an effective weight loss strategy for obese adults.
In your weight loss diet, do not forget to include a glass of grapefruit juice or half of a fresh grapefruit before your meals.
2. Stabilizes Blood Sugar
The American Diabetes Association recommends grapefruit for people suffering from diabetes. This low-glycemic food does not cause a spike in blood sugar after its consumption.
The flavonoid known as naringenin in grapefruits increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin and also helps maintain a healthy body weight.
A 2010 study published in the Cardiovascular Journal of Africa found that grapefruit, by virtue of its rich flavonoid content, is beneficial in the management of degenerative diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
Diabetic people should include half of a large grapefruit daily in their diet to help manage their blood sugar level.
Note: Grapefruit is not suitable for people taking certain medications like statins and calcium channel blockers.
3. Protects Against Cancer
Grapefruit helps reduce the risk of cancers of the stomach, colon, bladder, breast and esophagus.
The rich antioxidant property of grapefruits combats free radicals, harmful substances that cause damage to cells in the body and are ultimately responsible for deadly diseases like cancer.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found grapefruits help repair damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells. Naringenin stimulates DNA repair in these cancer cells and protects the body from developing cancer.
Another study published in Carcinogenesis in 2006 suggests that consumption of grapefruit or limonin may help suppress colon cancer development. The isolated citrus compounds naringin and limonin would protect against azoxymethane-induced aberrant crypt foci by suppressing proliferation and elevating apoptosis through anti-inflammatory activities.
4. Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones
By drinking grapefruit juice daily, you can even reduce the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones.
The high amount of citric acid in grapefruits aids in deterring stone formation and even helps break up small stones that are forming. Citric acid makes urine less favorable for the formation of stones.
A 2003 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank ½ to 1 liter of grapefruit, apple or orange juice daily increased their urinary pH value and citric acid excretion. This is turn reduces the risk of forming calcium-oxalate stones.
Not just kidney stones, grapefruits are good for overall kidney health. A study published in PLOS ONE in 2011 reports that the abundant flavonoid aglycone, naringenin, possesses hypolipidemic and anti-inflammatory effects. This helps in the treatment of dyslipidemia, diabetes and hepatitis C virus infection.
5. Protects Heart Health
Being rich in vitamin C, grapefruits are even good for your heart health.
A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables had a 15 percent lower risk of developing heart disease. Those having the highest vitamin C levels in their blood plasma had even more reduced rates of heart disease.
The high potassium content in grapefruits works as a vasodilator, which means it helps the blood vessels and arteries relax. This in turn reduces blood pressure and lessens the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
A 2012 study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association reports that eating higher amounts of a compound in citrus fruits, especially oranges and grapefruits, may lower ischemic stroke risk. In fact, women who ate high amounts of grapefruit had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke as compared to women who consumed the least amount.
6. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Grapefruits are a rich source of several flavonoids. The predominant flavonoid hesperidin in grapefruits boosts ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lowers ‘bad’l ow-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides.
Just eating one grapefruit a day can help lower LDL cholesterol levels by 15.5 percent and triglycerides by 27 percent, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The soluble fiber in grapefruits prevents cholesterol from entering your bloodstream during digestion, which in turn inhibits hardening of the arteries and lowers the risk of several cardiovascular conditions and high blood pressure.