Sharp and tangy with an underlying sweetness, the grapefruit has a juiciness that rivals that of the orange and boasts many of the same health promoting benefits.
The grapefruit is a large citrus fruit related to the orange, lemon and pomelo. Like all citrus fruits, it is an excellent source of Vitamin C. The pink and red varieties are fifty times higher than the white grapefruit in carotenoids that act as powerful antioxidants. It is also a good source of potassium, calcium, and, in the case of red grapefruit, Vitamin A. One half of a grapefruit contains more than 150 phytonutrients, mostly flavonoids, associated with helping the body fight against aging, allergies, infection, cancer, ulcers, and heart disease.
Every part of a grapefruit is a powerful detoxifier. Its high Vitamin C content enhances immunity and tissue growth, and the flesh and rind contain compounds associated with helping to inhibit cancer development. The pulp is high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps to eliminate toxins and waste, relieving constipation. Its seeds contain as anti-parasite, anti-fungal compound which, although not edible whole, can be taken in supplement form (grapefruit seed extract).
A study found that bleeding associated with periodontitis was significantly reducing after drinking grapefruit juice. The researchers attribute the amazing results to the Vitamin C content of grapefruit juice, known to help wound and tissue repair.
One study found that obese individuals who consumed one half on a fresh grapefruit before meals for twelve weeks lost a significant amount of weight and had improvements in insulin resistance associated with metabolic syndrome.
A study found that a particular flavonoid found specifically in grapefruit helps to repair damaged DNA in human prostate cancer sells. A diet including grapefruit reduced inflammatory markers and increased apoptosis (programmed cell death) associated with colon cancer in a rat study.
Tips on Using Grapefruit
- There are two main varieties of grapefruit, white and pink-red, both available year-round. The sweet pink variety is richer in Beta-carotene and is the best option for those who dislike bitter flavors.
- Grapefruits are juicier when they're slightly warm rather than cool; therefore store them at room temperature if they are to be eaten within a week.
- The dividing skin and pith of the grapefruit are the parts richest in pectin and bioflavonoids, so eat this along with the pulp to gain the full benefits.
- Staudte H, Sigusch BW, Glockmann E. Grapefruit consumption improves Vitamin C status in periodontitis patients. British Dental Journal. 2005;199: 213-217.
- Fujioka K, Greenway F, Sheard J, Ying Y. The effects of grapefruit on weight and insulin resistance: relationship to the metabolic syndrome. J Med Food. 2006;9:49-54.
- Gao K, Henning SM, Niu Y, Youssefian AA, Seeram NP, Xu A, Heber D. The citrus flavonoid naringenin stimulates DNA repair in prostate cancer cells. J Nutr Biochem. 2006;17:89-95.
- Vanamala J et al. Suppression of colon carcinogenesis by bioactive compounds in grapefruit. Carcinogenesis. 2006 Jun;27(6):1257-65.