Ten Reasons To Have A Grapefruit - Fruits In Winter (Part-3)
Reasons to have a grapefruit - it is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins
Grapefruit is a spheroidal, orange-yellow skinned member of the citrus group. Its Latin name Citrus paradisi is due to its sweet and sour taste.
It was discovered in the 18th century, first bred in Barbados, and is believed to have developed from natural cross-breeding between orange and pomelo.
The fruit is borne on a subtropical, evergreen tree in clusters that appear similar to a bunch of grapes, from which the fruit derives its name.
The inside of a grapefruit is segmented, with white, pink, or red colored flesh that is acidic in nature.
Why is Grapefruit Good for Health
According to the USDA National Nutrition Database, half of a medium pink grapefruit contains 52 calories, nearly zero fat, zero sodium, zero cholesterol, 13 gm carbs (including 8.5 gms of sugar and 2 gms of dietary fiber) and 1 gm protein.
It also contains small amounts of thiamine (B1), riboflavin(B2), niacin(B3), folate, pantothenic acid, Potassium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Zinc, and Copper.
It is an excellent source of various nutrients and phytochemicals like vitamin-C and the soluble fiber pectin.It derives the pink or red hue of its pulp from antioxidant lycopene.
Grapefruit seed extracts also have strong antioxidant and anti-microbial properties. Various health benefits of grapefruit include the following:
Grapefruit Nutritional Facts (per 100 gms)
% of Recommended Daily Allowance
1. Strengthens Body Immunity
Being high in vitamin-C, regular intake of grapefruit reduces the episodes of cold and flu and improves body immunity.
Vitamin-C is also a powerful antioxidant and reduces oxidative damage to LDL or bad cholesterol, prevents it from getting deposited on the inner lining of arteries, and maintains cardiovascular health.
It also reduces inflammation and prevents bronchial asthma.
2. Lowers Blood Cholesterol Levels
The pulp of grapefruit is rich in pectin, a form of soluble fiber that reduces intestinal absorption of cholesterol present in a high fat diet and slows down the progress of atherosclerosis.
It also reduces blood levels of LDL cholesterol and Triglycerides, shows a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
3. Prevents Kidney Stones
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition states that women who drink half to one liter of grapefruit juice daily have a high urinary pH (which means the urine is alkaline) with increased citric acid excretion, and a reduced risk of calcium oxalate stones.
4. Protection From Various Cancers
A research presented at the 228th National Meeting of American Chemistry Society proves that grapefruit juice offers protection against lung and colon cancers.
The pulp owes its pink or red color to the phytonutrient lycopene that has a protective effect against prostate cancer.
Citrus fruits including grapefruit, contain a compound named limonene that promotes the formation of a detoxifying enzyme, which helps the liver to make poisonous substances more water-soluble that they are readily removed from the body. This helps to prevent cancers breast, mouth, skin, lungs, stomach, and colon.
5. Promotes A Healthy Skin
Having grapefruit regularly makes the skin smooth and firm due to improved synthesis of collagen, a protein that forms the skeletal framework beneath the epidermis.
Grapefruit juice helps fade blemishes and age spots by reducing the excess production of skin pigment. It also reduces the appearance of wrinkles and improves the overall texture of skin.
To make a natural body scrub, take one-half of a grapefruit and sprinkle a teaspoonful of sugar on it. Rub it on your skin gently in circular motion. Avoid applying it on face and neck areas. This acts as a natural exfoliant to remove the upper layer of dead skin cells.
6. Boosts Metabolism and Assists in Weight Loss
The "grapefruit diet" has been very popular for reducing weight in a short duration. It works on the principle that grapefruit has a low glycemic index, and it gears up the body's metabolism to burn fat.
A 2004 study funded by the Florida Citrus Department found that, eating half a grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice with every meal, along with exercising regularly, allowed the participants reduce an average of 3-4 pounds of body weight over a period of 12 weeks.
Grapefruit reduces insulin spikes after a meal and allows the body to efficiently digest, absorb, and assimilate nutrients contained in the food for use as energy, and less is stored as fat. It thus reduces the risk of obesity and its complications - diabetes and heart diseases.
7. Reduces Stroke Risk, Blood Pressure and Improves Heart Health
According to American Heart Association, regular intake of citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges lowers the risk of ischemic stroke in women.
Those who eat lots of citrus fruits on a regular basis have a 19% lower risk of stroke than those who do not include these fruits in their daily diet.
The combination of fiber, potassium, lycopene, vitamin-C and choline in grapefruit maintains a healthy heart.
High intake of potassium-rich foods reduces the risk of stroke, provides protection against loss of muscle mass, preserves bone mineral density, and lowers the blood pressure levels.
8. Improves Digestion
Due to a very high water and fiber content, grapefruit intake prevents constipation and improves absorption of nutrients from the intestines.
9. Hydrates Our Body
Grapefruit consists of 91% water (second only to watermelon) and is rich in electrolytes. This makes it a great snack to prevent dehydration.
10. Benefits of Grapefruit Seed Extract
It can be taken by mouth and has a curative effect on bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. Grapefruit oil is applied to the skin to relieve muscle fatigue, promote hair growth, tone up the skin, and treat acne.
The seed extracts are used in face cleansers, as a remedy for mild skin irritation, as an ear or nasal rinse, as a gargle for the sore throat, as a dental rinse for preventing gingivitis and promoting healthy gums, and as a breath freshener.
Vapors of these extracts are inhaled for treatment of lung infections.
Grapefruit oil and seed extract are used as a component in soaps and cosmetics, as a household cleaner for fruits, vegetables, kitchen surfaces, and dishes.
It is also used in agriculture to fight mold growth, kill the parasites in animal feeds, preserve foods and disinfect water.
Grapefruit has interactions with some prescription medicines
Why Should Some People Avoid Grapefruit Intake
If you are at risk of any of the following conditions, then you should not include grapefruit as a part of you diet. These include the following:
- Poor Kidney Function - Those with a kidney disorder should be careful when consuming grapefruit, as it could increase their serum potassium levels (that the damaged kidneys would not be able to remove) and cause serious complications.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) - Symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation may get aggravated when individuals suffering from GERD consume highly acidic foods such as citrus fruits.
- Interactions with medicines - Grapefruit contains a number of polyphenols such as naringenin, furocoumarins (bergamottin and dihydroxy bergamottin) that block the actions of a drug metabolizing enzyme in small intestines and liver. These enzymes transform the medicines into metabolites, help to inactivate, solubilize, and eliminate the excess medicines from the body. Thus, out of the total medicine taken by mouth, only a part of it is available for use in our body, and the rest is thrown away. Consumption of grapefruit juice inhibits this enzyme, so less amount of medicine will get inactivated and more will be available in blood circulation for action. This could lead to drug toxicity. This effect is present in all forms of grapefruit, that includes fresh juice, frozen concentrates, and whole fruit. Inhibition of this enzyme lasts for a long time, with 50% recovery after 24 hours. It takes around 72 hours for this enzyme to completely return to activity. Grapefruit exhibits this interaction with around 85 medicines, the most common being etoposide (a chemotherapy medicine), beta-blockers (used to treat high blood pressure), and cyclosporine (taken by organ transplant recipients to prevent rejection) and statin group of cholesterol-lowering medicines.
How To Select And Store Grapefruit
Though available throughout the year, grapefruit is in season from early winter through spring. The fruit should be firm, yet slightly springy when gentle pressure is applied. It should be heavier for its size.
Discoloration, scales, or scratches on the skin do not impact the taste or quality. Signs of decay include a soft spot at the stem end and water-soaked areas on the peel.
They should be stored at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.
They can be added to green salads, used as a fresh juice, or cooked to make sweets, desserts, and jam.
Disclaimer: This information is meant for educational purposes. It does not intend to replace the advice of your healthcare provider.