Grapefruits are undeniably appealing to the eye with their unique, pinkish-orange color. This fruit shares some important characteristics with other citrus fruits like its high vitamin C content and its somewhat sour, tangy taste. However, grapefruits also have several unique health benefits that can significantly improve your quality of life. In this article, we'll explore the various vitamins and nutrients found in grapefruit, as well as what kind of health benefits this delicious fruit can provide for you.
Vitamins and Nutrients
Grapefruits are an excellent source of several important vitamins and nutrients that you body needs to survive. It is particularly rich in vitamin C. However, it also contains several other vitamins including:
Plenty of minerals are also found in grapefruit, including:
In addition to these vitamins and minerals, grapefruit also contains important nutrients like citric acid, natural sugars, dietary fiber, pectin, limonoids, flavonoids, lycopene and glucarates. Grapefruit is also a good source of several essential oils including limonene, pinene and citral. Because grapefruit contains so many important vitamins, nutrients and minerals, they are considered a great addition to any diet for their well-rounded nutritional content.
Preventing Disease and Sickness
Many of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients found in grapefruit are extremely helpful when it comes to fighting off diseases and other harmful health conditions. Because grapefruit has such a high vitamin C content, it's considered a great immune boosting fruit. In addition to fighting of colds, vitamin C also prevents free radical damage that can cause some areas of the body to become inflamed. Therefore, the vitamin C in grapefruit can reduce the severity of certain inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and asthma. Vitamin C also contributes to better cardiovascular health by helping to prevent heart disease and strokes.
Grapefruits are also commonly used to help alleviate several digestive disorders. They contain a significant amount of fiber, which can aid bowel movements and relieve constipation. Meanwhile, the fruit's juice has a relieving effect on the heat and irritation that digestion causes in the stomach. The potassium and vitamin C content in grapefruit can also stimulate more frequent urination in individuals who struggle with urination disorders caused by kidney, liver or heart issues, and may also help to reduce the risk for developing kidney stones.
Many people don't realize that a grapefruit's distinct color comes from a carotenoid phytonutrient called lycopene. This important phytonutrient is known to have anti-tumor properties and can help fight oxygen free radicals that damage cells. The same effects have been attributed to limonoids, another phytonutrient found in grapefruit. Because of the effects of these nutrients, grapefruits have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and colon cancer in several studies. On a related note, these anti-cancer effects were increased when grapefruits were consumed with green tea.
Grapefruit also contains pectin, a type of soluble fiber that has been linked to slower progression of atherosclerosis. This can ultimately lead to lower cholesterol when grapefruits are eaten regularly. More specifically, one study showed that eating grapefruits could lower total cholesterol by up to 15.5 percent when eaten daily for 30 days. Red grapefruits, in particular, have been noted for their cholesterol reducing properties.
Other Health Benefits
One of the unique health benefits of grapefruit that is unrelated to disease or sickness is its ability to stifle the appetite. Some studies show that just the smell of grapefruit can reduce the feeling of hunger. Additionally, the high fiber content in grapefruit can help those eating it to feel fuller. Because they can help prevent people from overeating while also providing great health benefits, grapefruits are a common element of many weight loss plans.
Several other great health benefits have been attributed to grapefruit. For example, consuming grapefruit juice before going to bed is said to promote healthy sleep and prevent insomnia. Additionally, the salicylic acid in grapefruit is sometimes used as an antiseptic for treating bacterial and fungal infections. Some say that eating grapefruit regularly also contributes to healthier and smoother skin, while others extract oil from grapefruit peels to be used for aromatherapy.
Keep in mind that some medications do advise against taking a dose with grapefruit juice. This tends to be particularly true for cholesterol and blood pressure medications. Check your medication labels carefully to see if you can take your medication with grapefruit juice, or ask a doctor if you have any questions about drug interactions with grapefruit.
Finally, don't forget that grapefruit juice can also provide many of the same benefits as a raw grapefruit. Look for grapefruit juices that are 100 percent juice with no sugar added to reap the most of these benefits.