Grapefruit is a type of citrus fruit known for its unique acidic and sour, yet also sometimes sweet taste. This yellow, white, pink and deep red fruit originated in the eighteenth century when it was crossbred from an orange and a pomelo.
It is also said to be one of the healthiest, most nutrition-packed citrus fruits in the world. This is due to its high fiber, antioxidant, and vitamin content, including potassium and lycopene.
Health Benefits of Grapefruit
In addition, grapefruit contains significant amounts of calcium, healthy sugars, and phosphorus. It is no wonder that grapefruit is eaten globally for its amazing proven health benefits.
1. Excellent Source of Antioxidants
Grapefruits are an excellent source of antioxidants. One of these powerful antioxidants, which is found in high concentrations within the grapefruit, is vitamin C. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, and therefore, protects the body against the cold and flu.
The combination of vitamin C and all of the other vitamins and nutrients in the grapefruit further this immune-boosting effect. The second antioxidant found in grapefruits in known as beta carotene.
The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A, which is thought to reduce the risk of chronic ailments such as heart disease, cancer, and certain eye-related disorders, like macular degeneration.
Another antioxidant in grapefruits is lycopene, which seems to be able to prevent certain types of cancer, mainly prostate cancer, as well as preventing the growth of tumors and decrease the negative side effects caused by common cancer treatments. Yet another great antioxidant within the grapefruit is flavanones, which contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Anti-inflammatory agents reduce bad cholesterol and blood pressure. This high antioxidant content also helps make the skin more youthful looking through the process of age reversal, and even prevents skin cancer and diseases.
2. Boosts Overall Heart Health
One study conducted on the health benefits of grapefruit looked at participants who ate grapefruit three times a day for six weeks. These subjects experienced significant decreases in blood pressure levels.
They also saw a lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is considered the ‘bad’ cholesterol. These two health issues are major contributing factors to heart disease.
Grapefruits are also high in potassium, which is a mineral that keeps the heart healthy in a variety of ways. Consuming just one half of grapefruit provides around five percent of an individual’s daily recommended potassium
Individuals who get an adequate amount of potassium in their diets every day have a reduced risk of high blood pressure. Because of this, these individuals also have a lower risk of heart disease.
The high fiber content of grapefruits benefits blood pressure and cholesterol as well, showing once again the true benefit of grapefruit on heart health.
3. Promotes Appetite Control
As mentioned, grapefruits contain high amounts of fiber (about two grams in half of each medium-sized fruit). Research on fiber concludes, specifically on fiber-dense fruits, that it promotes control over appetite, creating a feeling of fullness.
This has been found to be because of the fact fiber slows the rate at which the stomach empties after a meal, so as to increase the rate of digestion.
As a result, eating a high fiber fruit like grapefruit will help individuals eat fewer calories by way of satiating their appetite faster. Another obvious benefit that can eventually come from this is weight loss.
4. Prevents Insulin Resistance
Studies on grapefruits effects on insulin for individuals with diabetes and obese individuals have found it to help prevent insulin resistance. This is thanks to the low glycemic index of the grapefruit, at around twenty-five.
This means it does not raise blood sugar as quickly or as much as foods with a high glycemic index, like a white bagel (at seventy-two), a banana (at forty-eight), or a watermelon (at seventy-two). The highest glycemic index food can have is one hundred.
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2006, determined individuals who consumed grapefruit juice or half of a grapefruit before a meal had lower insulin spikes two hours later as compared to the placebo group. Fresh grapefruit caused less insulin resistance.
5. Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are created in the body when there is a buildup of waste inside of the kidneys that is typically filtered through the kidneys and excreted through urine.
When they are not filtered, and they get stuck in the kidney and crystallize, they become stones. The most common kidney stones are called calcium oxalate stones.
The organic citric acid found in grapefruits reduces an individual’s risk of kidney stones by binding to the calcium buildup in the kidneys and flushing it out of the body.
In addition, citric acid increased the volume and pH of urine, which produces a bodily environment less suitable for kidney stones.