The grapefruit was very popular in Barbados in the 18th century when they started to cultivate it. A subtropical citrus fruit known for its sour taste is believed to be a cross between a pomelo and an orange. The reason why it is called grapefruit is because it grows in clusters, similar to grapes. Grapefruits come in different colors such as white or yellow, pink, and red.
Their taste varies from sweet and sugary to acidic and bitter. There are numerous health benefits to making grapefruit a regular part of a balanced diet.
1. Packed full of Vitamin C
Half a grapefruit daily provides about 64% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. This essential vitamin helps to protect against immune system deficiencies, can help to combat cardiovascular disease, eye diseases, and even prenatal health problems and skin wrinkling.
2. Eating half a grapefruit before meals can aid weight loss
Studies have shown that eating half a grapefruit before meals can help to aid weight loss. Not only is grapefruit a good source of fibre, and can help you to feel fuller for longer, but has also been associated with improved insulin resistance, which can help to prevent or delay type 2 Diabetes.
3. Eating two grapefruits a day can fight gum disease
Studies have shown that consuming two grapefruits per day reduces bleeding of the gums, this in combination with the added levels of Vitamin C, helps to strengthen and repair gums.
4. Reduces your chances of getting kidney stones
Naringenin helps to prevent the formation of kidney cysts, which can, in turn, lead to kidney stones. Naringenin also helps to reduce kidney swelling due to fluid retention. Drinking up to a litre of grapefruit juice per day can prove to be an effective method of combatting kidney stones.
5. Helps to reduce the risk of ischemic stroke in women
Ischemic stroke occurs when the arteries to the brain are blocked, and blood is unable to get through and deliver fresh oxygen and nutrients to the neurons in the brain. Flavonoids, chemical compounds that are found in many fruits, vegetables, red wine and dark chocolate, are found in high concentrations in grapefruit. Flavonoids, in combination with Vitamin C, help to improve circulatory function and reduce arterial swelling. Eating grapefruit regularly helps to minimise the risk of Ischemic stroke in women by around 19%.
6. Improves heart health
Grapefruit contains a rich combination of nutrients, including fiber, potassium, lycopene, vitamin C and choline, all of which are associated with maintaining a healthy heart. One whole grapefruit provides 460mg of potassium (roughly around 10% of your daily requirement). In one study, participants who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed smaller amounts.
7. Improves blood pressure and circulation
Including grapefruit in your diet is an effective method of increasing potassium intake, which is important for lowering blood pressure because of its powerful vasodilation effects (widening or relaxing of the blood vessels).
8. Reduces your risk of cancer
Grapefruit contains a number of antioxidants, including Vitamin C, Lycopene and beta-carotene.
Antioxidants help to combat the development of ‘free radicals’ within your body, which can cause cells to become cancerous. Lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer prevention in several studies and foods high in vitamin C and beta-carotene have been shown to lower the risk of esophageal cancer in particular.
9. Improves your digestion and regularity
Grapefruit, because of its high water and fiber content, helps to prevent digestive problems such as constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
10. Good for hydration
As one of the most hydrating fruits in the world made up of 91% water (just below watermelon) and full of important electrolytes, grapefruit is a great snack to have on hand to prevent dehydration.
11. Helps to promote healthy skin
The antioxidant vitamin C (which is found in high concentrations within Grapefruit), can help to fight skin damage caused by ultraviolet light as well as pollution. It can also help to reduce the wrinkling of the skin and improve overall skin texture. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the main support system of the skin. This, in combination with the hydrating effects of grapefruits, and vitamin A, helps to maintain healthy-looking skin.
12. Can combat the effects of asthma
Nutrients in Grapefruit, such as Vitamin C, Lycopene and beta-carotene, can help to minimize the effects of asthma. The carotenoid beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant. People who eat a diet that is low in beta-carotene or the vitamin that it produces (vitamin A) tend to be at a greater risk for asthma symptoms. Lycopene, another carotenoid well known for its antioxidant activity, may also benefit those who suffer from exercise-induced asthma.
13. Fights Hepatitis C
Studies have shown that compounds found in grapefruit may be able to prevent the Hepatitis C virus from proliferating, this citrus fruit may accompany antiviral medication prescriptions in the future. However, anyone with a chronic illness considering adding grapefruit to their diet should first consult their doctor, as grapefruit may interact with existing medications you are taking.
14. Helps to repair damaged DNA in prostate cancer cells
Grapefruit is rich in the antioxidant Lycopene. Studies have shown an inverse association found between men’s consumption of lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, apricots, pink grapefruit, watermelon, papaya, and guava. Men who most frequently enjoyed these foods were 82% less likely to have prostate cancer compared to those consuming the least lycopene-rich foods.