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Grapefruit Health Benefits

Deepa Kartha Oct 13, 2018
Many people are not really fond of grapefruit because of its bitter-sour taste. However, do you know that this fruit is rich in nutrients and has numerous health benefits? Its benefits are attributed to maintaining skin health, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, weight loss and combating various other health conditions. Read on.
Grapefruit belongs to the citrus family, so it's rich in vitamin C. It is a result of the natural combination between orange and pomelo. It is huge in size like pomelo, but looks like an orange from outside.
This fruit gets its name from grapes, because like grapes, it grows in clumps and can be found in white, pinkish or reddish pulps having varying degrees of sweetness. The tree is cultivated all over the world for its bitter-sour tasting fruits that are loaded with essential nutrients and minerals which help in preventing as well as curing a host of diseases.

Nutrition Facts

According to food experts, this fruit is a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B5, folate, calcium and dietary fiber (about 12 gram per fruit). The calories are relatively low, approximately 36 in a medium-sized fruit. Also, they contain high amounts of antioxidants and phytochemicals.
The pink or red-colored pulp is due to the presence of a carotenoid phytonutrient, called lycopene (found in tomatoes) that has a strong antioxidant activity. The antioxidant content is claimed to be much higher in the fruit's seed extract (GSE).

Health Benefits

Speaking about benefits, including grapefruits in the diet is an easy way to ensure good health. They contain negligible amounts of fat, cholesterol and sodium. As per American Heart Association (AHA), both the fruit and its juice are recommended as healthy food items for the heart.
✔ Promotes Healthy Skin: The antioxidant content aids in promoting a smooth and healthy skin. This fruit and GSE are also used for treating skin allergies, infections and other medical symptoms.
It also helps in the treatment of acne and pimple, which are caused due to bacterial infections. When applied topically, GSE promotes quick healing of the skin and also helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
✔ Fights Signs of Premature Aging: They contain a high percentage of polyamine. In animal studies, this compound plays a crucial role in reducing the aging process. In short, consuming these fruits helps in slowing down the aging process. However, more clinical trials are yet to be done to check for the same effectiveness in humans.
✔ Aids in Weight Loss: The benefits of this fruit in terms of losing weight has been a widely studied topic. The well-known 'grapefruit diet' is based on the fat burning enzyme present in this bitter fruit. Drinking grapefruit juice reduces fat and starch accumulation in the body. This way, the fruit diet is effective for shedding those extra kilos.
✔ Good for Diabetics: People suffering from diabetes can greatly benefit because it aids in flushing out the excess sugar and starch in the body. As per the proponents of fruit-based food products, specific enzymes in grapefruits minimize the levels of insulin in the blood. Hence, consuming these fruits and their derived products help control diabetes.
Another benefit for diabetic patients is the presence of dietary fiber and low carbohydrate content, which are useful for controlling blood sugar levels. If you have a family history of diabetes, consuming this fruit regularly is a good way of preventing the disease.
✔ Strengthens the Immune System: Regular intake of this fruit helps in stimulating and strengthening the immune system, fights infection and protects against common cold and fever. Moreover, consumption of its juice is a good way of curing fever. It is also a great remedy for sore throat and cough.
✔ Regulates the Digestive System: One of the benefits of eating grapefruit is that it promotes the proper functioning of the digestive system. The fiber present in the fruit, especially in its rind prevents constipation and helps in smooth and regular bowel movements.
It is also one of the best treatment measures for acidity. The juice of this fruit creates an alkaline reaction in the body, subsequently relieving the discomfort caused due to acidity.
✔ Relieves Fatigue: A glass of juice is absolutely refreshing and relieves a person from fatigue and tiredness. It is also said that people who have insomnia should consume a glass of juice every night before going to bed.
✔ Treats Other Ailments: Being an excellent source of vitamin C, this fruit is used in combating cold symptoms and inflammatory problems manifested in arthritis and asthma. It helps fight the action of free radicals against cholesterol, thus promoting heart and cardiovascular health.
However, if you are taking medicines for cholesterol, please consult your doctor before consuming this fruit, because it may cause certain side effects if consumed with those drugs. The lycopene content in these fruits is also shown to have anti-cancerous properties, which help in the prevention of various types of cancer like breast cancer, prostate cancer.
A study conducted on the effects of this fruit on cancer patients showed that it helped in treating cancer to a certain extent. Consumption of grapefruit juice helps reduce leg swelling and water retention, in pregnant women.
Despite several benefits, avoid eating large amounts of this fruit or its juice. Studies show that, certain compounds in this fruit inhibit specific enzyme activities. This enhances the potency of various therapeutic drugs, leading to overdose effects. Thus, people currently on medication should consult doctors before taking grapefruit or its products.