18 Benefits of Grapefruit for Weight Loss and Glowing Skin
Grapefruit is a relatively new fruit to arrive on the scene, making its first appearance is Southeast Asia less than three hundred years ago when a sweet orange was crossed with pomelo. Since then, grapefruit has become increasingly popular throughout the world, as it is delicious and low-calorie and packed full of vital nutrients for overall health.
Below are some of the health benefits associated with regular consumption of grapefruit and grapefruit juice:
1. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice Can Help Aid In Weight Loss
Approximately two thirds of American adults fall into the category of overweight or obese despite the countless weight loss pills, diets and products around. The best way to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight is to do so naturally and through the consumption of whole foods and plenty of water. (1) However, the typical Western diet is anything but. In fact, it is packed full of bad fats, refined sugars and little to no dietary fiber. (2) While not inherently bad, foods bearing these characteristics, when eaten in excess, can be problematic for one’s health and wellbeing.
A serving of grapefruit is equivalent to half of one medium grapefruit, which provides six percent of your daily fiber needs. Grapefruit has a very high water content, is relatively low in calories, sugar, and contains virtually no fat which is why it’s commonly found in a lot of weight loss diets. Additionally, adding a grapefruit to your breakfast routine can help get your metabolism working after a night of fasting. (3)
Grapefruit juice, while a good source of hydration and many different vitamins and nutrients, can be a double-edged sword. Store-bought grapefruit juice is may contain added sugars and little pulp. These factors combined make it very easy to digest, resulting in a spike in blood sugar and insulin. If you are drinking grapefruit juice for weight loss, make sure it has as little added sugar and as much fiber as possible to avoid the rollercoaster. Investing in your own juicer is worth considering so that you can ensure that your juice is always fresh and free of any preservatives or additives.
2. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice Can Keep Your Liver Healthy
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. In fact, it’s one of the hardest working, since it is responsible for hundreds of different functions in the body. Essentially, the liver filters everything that is consumed by your body and either sends it off to be eliminated by the kidneys and digestive system or utilized some way in other parts of the body.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice are very high in vitamin C, as well as plenty of different antioxidants that help flush out toxins and free radicals. (4)
3. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice Can Keep Your Urinary Tract Healthy
Most women know the telltale signs of a urinary tract infection, including the burning sensation when urinating and the frequent urge to empty your bladder. Many also notice cloudy urine with a strong odor and pain in the abdomen. At the first signs of these infections, many sufferers reach for a bottle of cranberry juice, but there is evidence that eating grapefruit seeds every 5 to 6 hours may be just as effective as antibacterial medication for treating UTIs. (5) The high levels of vitamin C in this superfruit make it hard for the bacteria in the urinary tract to survive.
It is important to avoid grapefruit and juice that contains extra sugar. If you need a sweetener, use a small amount of honey rather than processed and refined sugars. Sugars can actually make the infection worse, as it feeds the bacteria that are causing problems so consume them sparingly.
4. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice Can Help Fight Cancers
Cancer may arguably the scariest diagnosis a person can receive, and every year, nearly two million Americans are diagnosed with this disease. So many things that we regularly consume and are exposed to have potentially carcinogenic effects on the body. What’s even more bothersome is that cancer treatments can be just as damaging on the disease.
Grapefruit and its juice are incredibly high in a number of different antioxidants, which are very important in cancer prevention. Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, which are molecules made from extra oxygen atoms and cause diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia. (6) Grapefruit, particularly pink and red grapefruit, is high in a nutrient called lycopene. Lycopene is a phytochemical that is essential to preventing cancer, particularly cancers of the prostate, breast, lungs, colon, and bladder.
5. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice Can Help Regulate Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol: LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, and good cholesterol, or ‘HDL’. Bad cholesterol, when allowed to stay elevated, can cause a host of different problems in the body including the hardening of arteries, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. There are a number of different ways to reduce your high LDL cholesterol such as prescription medication and exercise, but grapefruit and grapefruit juice may be able to naturally lower high cholesterol.
A recent study has shown that for people who have not had success lowering their cholesterol with pharmaceuticals may have better luck with a low fat diet and adding at least one grapefruit into their diet daily. (7) While it is not entirely understood how grapefruit lowers cholesterol levels more than just consuming a low fat diet, the antioxidants or the phytochemicals it contains make it a safe bet for anyone looking to improve their health. It is however interesting to note that red and pink grapefruit seem to be better at lowering cholesterol levels than the white variety.
6. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice Can Help With Oral Health
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can be a double-edged sword when it comes to oral health. It should be consumed with caution for those who have weakened enamel, as the acidity in this fruit can cause further erosion. (8)
However, grapefruit flesh and juice are high in vitamin C, which could help fight cavities and tooth decay. There is also evidence that grapefruit can reverse the damage of gum disease, which many Americans suffer from as a result of poor flossing habits. Grapefruit also has anti-fungal properties and can help those who are suffering from oral thrush.
7. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice Can Help You Recover from a Fever
Every year, millions of people throughout the United States suffer from a fever as a part of viral and bacterial illnesses. Fevers originate in the thermostat area of the brain, the hypothalamus, and usually occur in an effort to fight off an infection. (9,10)
While fevers can be beneficial, they can also be frustrating, even if they are not serious. Fevers can lead to body aches, chills, sweating, and mild dehydration. Even though the common saying goes “feed a cold, starve a fever”, it is important to keep drinking fluids to keep hydrated throughout the duration of the fever. Grapefruit juice can help to hydrate the body, as it contains potassium to replace lost electrolytes during sweating, and gives the body nutrients that it might be missing due to loss of appetite during an illness.
Of course, it is important to remain cautious as extremely high fevers can lead to seizures, severe dehydration, and hallucinations. A fever is considered severe in adults if it lasts longer than three days, or is greater than 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice Can Keep You Awake Throughout the Day
While not what most people think of when picking out an energy or sports drink, grapefruit is a good choice for both situations. Even though it does not contain any caffeine, grapefruit juice is high in folate, which is also known as folic acid or Vitamin B9. This nutrient is very important during pregnancy, but is also important for energy. Folate helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy. (11)
Grapefruit juice is also high in potassium, which is important for those who are exercising as a way to replenish what is lost during sweating. Those who are low in potassium may experience high blood pressure, fatigue more quickly, or experience muscle cramps during strenuous physical activities.
9. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice Can Help Keep Your Digestive Tract Healthy
Many people in the United States suffer from irregularity or digestive issues such as gas or bloating. With the availability of fast food meals, salty snacks, and sweet desserts, it comes as no surprise that most people are overfed yet undernourished. It’s also a given that calorie-laden foods are not usually high in fiber, which is why they are easy to overeat. Foods that are low in fiber are not usually satiating
Those who do not get enough fiber in their diets often find themselves constipated. Since one whole grapefruit contains over ten percent of your daily fiber needs, grapefruits are a great addition to anyone whose diet is lacking fiber. It also contains plenty of water, which is essential to staying regular as well. (12)
10. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice May Help With Sleep Disorders
Millions of Americans suffer from sleep disorders, such as sleepwalking, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is directly related to being overweight or obese, and controlling your weight can help decrease the severity or incidence of sleep apnea. Grapefruit, particularly its lycopene content, is great for helping to control weight, and can be utilized by people who are looking to lose weight for a variety of different reasons. (13)
11. Grapefruit Can Help Keep Your Skin Healthy
As we age, it is not uncommon for our skin to not be as healthy as it appeared in our youth. Grapefruit offers a large amount of your daily vitamin C requirements, which not only benefits the immune system, but the skin as well. As we age, collagen in the skin starts to lose its elasticity, increasing the appearance of wrinkles and lines. Vitamin C helps promote the production of collagen. Grapefruit also has vitamin A as well as plenty of water for hydration, which help to keep your skin bright and youthful. (14)
12. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice Can Keep the Heart And Lungs Healthy
Lycopene is the part of the plant that creates the vibrant red color in grapefruit, tomatoes, and watermelon. While tomatoes provide most of the lycopene for Americans, a medium grapefruit has the same amount of lycopene as a medium tomato. (15)
Lycopene is very important in helping to fight cancer and other diseases. It also plays a huge role in heart health. Lycopene can help to lower cholesterol, which can prevent various different cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, lycopene can reverse some of the damage to the heart and lungs as a result of smoking.
Grapefruit and Weight Loss
1. Grapefruit Kick Starts Your Metabolism
There are many different factors that affect your metabolism, including age, muscle mass, genetics, gender, and the environment in which you live. While it is only one aspect of weight loss and maintenance, diet can play a part in boosting your metabolism.
There are many different foods that can help boost metabolism, such as garlic, green tea, and hot peppers and there is emerging evidence that grapefruit can help you kickstart your metabolism as well. (1) Of course, consuming food that is low in calories and in sugar is a great way to start your morning, so that could also contribute towards shedding excess weight.
In addition, studies show that making a habit out of eating a fiber-rich breakfast can set the tone for the rest the day and reduce overall caloric intake. (2)
2. Grapefruit is a Great Source of Dietary Fiber
While there are many different components to your weight loss efforts, including moderation, avoiding overly processed foods, and exercise, one of the most important parts of weight loss is the amount of fiber you are getting from your diet.
Fiber is a healthy carbohydrate that is found in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. While most people try to avoid carbohydrates while they are attempting to lose weight, fiber is not easily digested by the body, and passes through the digestive system relatively quickly. Not only does fiber keep the digestive system healthy, it also prevents toxins from being reabsorbed in the intestines.
Fiber also keeps you feeling full longer to help avoid overeating or ruining your diet with sweets throughout the day. (3) In one half of a medium grapefruit, you’ll be getting at least six percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber for healthy adults.
3. Grapefruit Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar
Regulating blood sugar is an ongoing battle since so many people are afflicted with diabetes. Once you have it, knowing which foods are good for you and which can trigger an unhealthy spike in your blood sugar levels is crucial.
Recent studies have shown that grapefruit can help to regulate blood glucose levels, which can help decrease the risk of diabetes as well as help regulate insulin levels for current diabetes. (4) Of course, while diet is an important part of diabetes management, it is very important to discuss any sort of changes to your treatment plan with your doctor or healthcare provider.
4. Grapefruit Has High Water Content
The average person is advised to consume at least sixty-four ounces of water throughout their day in order to stay properly hydrated. Hydration needs may change depending on the person’s location and activity level, so another rule of thumb to be guide by is that one must have clear pee at least three times throughout the day.
Those who are trying to lose weight should be concerned with staying properly hydrated because thirst could be easily mistaken for hunger, which could lead to overeating or excessive caloric intake.
Consume adequate amounts of water along with fruits and vegetables with high water content such as grapefruit, cucumber, watermelon and zucchini. (5)
5. Grapefruit is Low in Calories
Including incorporating healthy fats, essential nutrients, fiber, and cardiovascular exercise are great lifestyle changes you can implement in an effort to shed a few inches, but you simply cannot ignore the body’s energy balance. Think of calories in versus calories out; what you take in must equal what you burn or expend in order to maintain your weight. If this balance is disrupted, it can result in weight gain or weight loss.
When trying to lose weight, you want to expend more energy than you’re consuming so that the body will turn to its body fat stores for energy. While strict calorie counting is not necessary, it is important to know how many healthy calories versus unhealthy calories you’re consuming in the day, as two hundred healthy calories from fruits and vegetables can be more beneficial to weight loss goals than one hundred unhealthy calories from junk food and candy.
As part of the many other benefits that grapefruit offer, this fruit is very low in calories, as one serving, or one half of a medium size grapefruit, only contains approximately fifty calories. (6) When taking into account how much fiber and essential nutrients that grapefruit offers, as well as the low amount of calories, it is clearly an excellent alternative to more calorie-dense fruits such as cantaloupe or banana.
6. Grapefruit Can Be Integrated Into Your Diet in Many Ways
As with any successful weight loss diet, it is important to keep your diet interesting. If you become bored with your weight loss diet, it is easy to relapse back into your old, unhealthy habits that impeded your weight loss efforts or caused your weight gain in the first place.
As a sweet and tangy fruit, grapefruit can be used in many different ways. Try incorporating grapefruit into vegetable salads for a sweet and tangy addition. Adding grapefruit to your morning yogurt is a good way to add flavor and fiber without too many extra calories or sugar. Additionally, to take a new twist on your salsa for tacos or Tex-Mex salad, add grapefruit along side your tomato, jalapeno, and cilantro.
What is the Best Way to Consume Grapefruit?
Realistically, the best way to consume grapefruit is raw, with no sweeteners or additives. Since grapefruit can be somewhat sour, if you need to add a sweetener to it, avoid refined sugars and stick to a small amount of honey instead. Honey contains minerals and essential amino acids that will not disrupt your weight loss efforts, though it does contain a lot of calories so be sure to moderate your intake of honey or syrup.
While not as great for weight loss, grapefruit juice can also be a good option for weight loss. If possible, find a brand of grapefruit juice that does not have any added refined sugars and has much pulp as possible so you do not completely lose the benefits of fiber.
Grapefruit extract pills do not come close to the nutritional benefits of eating a grapefruit. These can be a good part of a healthy diet, but should not take the place of grapefruit and other fruits and vegetables in weight loss efforts.
What Medications Cannot Be Combined With Grapefruit?
There are many benefits to grapefruit, however, there is also the potential for grapefruits to cause adverse reactions when combined with different medications. (16)
Grapefruit can lower cholesterol naturally, and should not be combined with medications for cholesterol. When combined, the dose of the medication can be too strong, and can cause lasting damage to the kidneys and liver. Additionally, certain types of anti-anxiety, blood pressure, and antihistamines can react negatively when combined with grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Whenever you are starting a new medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that they are safe to consume with your daily serving of grapefruit.
While all fruits and vegetables have plenty of health benefits associated with them, grapefruits are considered a superfood. Full of fiber, low in sugar, fat and calories, and high in antioxidants, this fruit is an excellent low-calorie option for dieters. Grapefruits and grapefruit juice, when consumed in their natural state with few additives, have amazing health benefits for overall health and wellbeing.