10 Juicy Health Benefits of Grapefruits
Grapefruits are one of the large citrus fruits. Spherical in shape, these fruits are born in clusters like grapes and may be seeded or seedless. They are either red-fleshed or white-fleshed and the taste ranges from bittersweet to sour. These fruits have a range of health benefits that are described here in this article.
Grapefruits have enormous amounts of nutrients in them. These low-calorie fruits are mostly known for their high moisture and high vitamin C content. Except for vitamin C, grapefruit is a package of minerals and micronutrients that are beneficial to human health.
1. Grapefruits Have Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants act by neutralizing free radical molecules that when accumulated damage the cells by producing oxidative stress. Vitamin C is one of the antioxidants present in grapefruit in huge amounts.
Also, phytonutrients present in the form of flavonoids and carotenoids in grapefruits are potential antioxidants. Flavonoids are present mainly in the peel of the fruit whereas carotenoids reside in the pigments. Naringenin and hesperidin are the common flavonoids of grapefruits that have antioxidant properties. Carotenoids present in grapefruit comprise beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin that possess high antioxidant activities.
2. Grapefruits Help In Preventing Cancer
Citrus fruits are reported to prevent certain types of cancer like breast cancer, lung cancer and esophageal cancer. The phytochemicals and vitamin C present in these fruits including grapefruits are known to be responsible for these benefits.
Phytochemicals present in the form of flavonoids and carotenoids are key components in mediating this effect. These phytonutrients stimulate carcinogen detoxification, inhibit the activation of cancer cells, scavenge the free radicals that cause damage at the cellular level, inhibit hormones or growth-factor activity, help in DNA damage prevention and repair and inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells.
3. Grapefruit Prevents Infections
Vitamin C is important in making white blood cells(WBCs) which fights infection in the body. A moderate grapefruit has 100% of the daily intake of vitamin C as recommended by doctors. Vitamin B6 present is another essential vitamin required to produce immune cells such as antibodies. Antibodies help in fighting infections in the body by attaching to foreign agents such as pathogens and destroying them. One-half of a medium grapefruit has 4% of the daily intake of recommended vitamin B6.
Moreover, the essential oil limonene present in grapefruit can inhibit microorganisms such as bacteria. Studies have reported grapefruit juice and grapefruit seed extract have antibiotic-modulatory effects on bacteria associated with infections.
4. Grapefruit Aids In Digestion
Dietary fibers present in fruits help in maintaining healthy digestion by promoting gut microbiota. Among soluble and insoluble fibers, insoluble fibers aid in maintaining healthy bowel movement. Grapefruits contain both soluble and insoluble fibers. These fibers act as a laxative and also make you feel full for a long period of time.
Also, grapefruits contain a large percentage of moisture which also helps to prevent constipation and adds on promoting healthy digestive tract. Vitamin C promotes gut health by protecting it from illness. Moreover, the sour taste of grapefruit increases saliva and gastric juices whereas bitterness promotes peristalsis and cleansing of the digestive tract.
5. Grapefruits Helps In Weight Loss
Citrus fruits are well known for low calories. The high water content and fiber provide satiety that prevents you from consuming extra calories. Moreover, vitamin C which is in high amounts is perfect for reducing belly fat.
Grapefruits are excess in water, fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants which promote natural weight loss. These low-calorie fruits also carry little to no fat which is another factor that makes grapefruit a weight-loss staple. Fat-burning enzymes are also present in grapefruits that aid weight loss. In studies done, obese people who consumed half of grapefruit before meals for 12 weeks lost more weight than those who didn't.
6. Grapefruits Reduces The Risk Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stone diseases are increasing worldwide due to junk foods. Calcium oxalate and uric acid stones are widely prevalent due to increased consumption of salt and sugar. Citrus fruits and their juices can be incorporated into diets that contain citric acid which is the strongest inhibitor of stone formation.
The liquid intake in the body increases when we consume grapefruits. On the other hand, high citrate content can help in alkalinization, spontaneous nucleation and agglomeration of the crystals. The less urinary pH makes unfavorable environment for the deposition of the stones. Citrate also helps in lowering urine calcium levels by forming citrate-calcium complexes. Citrate has also been used in medical dissolution therapy for uric acid crystals.
7. Grapefruit Reduces Cardiovascular Diseases
The antioxidant properties of grapefruits render the property of heart health protection. The negligible amount of fat and lower concentration of sodium in this fruit is a boon to promote heart health.
Red varieties of grapefruit possess higher antioxidant properties than the white ones. The phytochemical naringin is found to have lipolytic activity which burns down unwanted fats in the body. Hespiridin on the other hand has been shown to reduce blood pressure reducing activity. Consumption of larger amounts of antioxidants has been associated with reduced risk of lower coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality as well.
8. Grapefruit Is Beneficial For Your Skin
Citrus fruits are renowned in Ayurveda for their healing properties. Oils and extracts obtained from these fruits have been used for centuries not only to promote beautiful skin but also to treat a wide range of skin abnormalities.
The antioxidants present in grapefruit remove dead cells from the skin and promote the formation of young cells. The antimicrobial properties present in these fruits can be used to prevent hyperpigmentation, scarring and acne breakouts. Vitamin C supports collagen formation and brightens skin tone thereby inhibiting premature signs of aging to show up on your face. Vitamin C also inhibits transepidermal water loss helping to retain moisture in the skin.
9. Grapefruit Helps To Maintain Blood Sugar Level
One of the sole reasons for diabetes is insulin resistance in the body which causes high blood sugar in the body. Grapefruit may act on reducing the insulin resistance in the body thereby preventing the occurrence of Type 2 diabetes. The phytochemical naringin has also been shown to improve glucose tolerance in the body. Among citrus fruits, grapefruit is considered one of the healthiest options for people with diabetes as it has a low glycemic index.
The low glycemic index of 25 has no spiking effect of glucose on blood level. Dietary fiber occupies the majority of the carbohydrate content which slows down the absorption of glucose in the body. The presence of fiber also makes you full, inhibiting the uptake of carbohydrates randomly. The high moisture content and antioxidants on the other hand act to resist the development of chronic inflammation that leads to Type 2 diabetes.
10. Grapefruits Maintain Brain Health
The flavonoids naringenin and hesperidin present in grapefruits help maintain brain health as they can cross the blood-brain barrier. These flavonoids cease inflammation which is protective in function. It also improves reasoning, knowledge acquisition and the power of manipulation of knowledge. Increased blood flow in areas related to these functions are reported by studies.
The presence of thiamin reduces the risk of memory loss and prevents dementia. Vitamin C is also believed to play a role in cognitive function which is present in huge amounts in grapefruits. Consumption of grapefruit is also linked to a lesser risk of stroke due to the presence of dietary flavonoids.
Nutritional Composition Of Grapefruits
Grapefruits, the subtropical juicy fruits can be consumed daily to have all these benefits added to your diet plan. The nutrient content of half of a medium-sized grapefruit is listed below.
% Daily Value Nutrient Content of Grapefruit (1/2 Medium Grapefruit)
- Calories: 40
- Water Content: 88%
- Carbohydrates: 3%
- Fat: 0%
- Sodium: 0%
- Vitamin C: 51%
- Potassium: 3%
- Folate and Vitamin B6: 3%
The presence of other micronutrients such as magnesium, phosphorous, iron, calcium, vitamin E and other various vitamins also provides a variety of health benefits. Consumed as a whole or in form of juice, grapefruits are the powerhouse of nutrients that provide energy as well as benefits to the human body.
Winter is the time to have the best ripened grapefruits. Florida and Texas are the regions in the US known to produce the best kinds of grapefruits. You can consume grapefruit by adding it to your fruit salad, grilling it to caramelize the sugars, baking it with fish, or making juice or candies out of peels.
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