Grapefruit Health Benefits - Weight Maintenance | Natural Health Blog

Date: 02/23/2013    Written by: Beth Levine

Celebrate Citrus with the Grapefruit

Grapefruit Health Benefits

February is Grapefruit Month, and what better time to pay a little tribute to the virtues of this much maligned fruit.  Its tangy, citrusy flavor can serve as a reminder of the warm weather climates in which it grows, helping us get through the sluggish end of winter.  Grapefruit health benefits offer plenty in the way of nutrition that help with weight maintenance and will also help the body fight off the colds and assorted maladies that are so common this time of year.

Pink grapefruit provides 80 percent of your daily vitamin C needs in a typical serving of half the fruit,1 is proven to bolster the immune system, can detoxify the body, and even slow the growth rate of tumors.2  It is also chock full of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that has been found to lower the risk of both bladder and prostate cancer.  And pink grapefruit provides you with 6 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, another valuable nutrient that helps maintain the health of the retina, particularly important for our vision in lower light.3 

Yellow grapefruit is no slouch, either, in the vitamin and nutrient department.  Just under its more colorful cousin, the yellow grapefruit health benefits include 73.3 percent of your vitamin C quota for the day, as well as an impressive 23.7 percent of vitamin A.4

In addition, grapefruit is a great choice for weight maintenance.  And keep in mind that while 100 percent grapefruit juice will deliver nutrients to your body, it will not give you fiber.  But as long as you eat the fruit rather than drinking the juice, you will get 0.8 gram of fiber, which fulfills nearly 6 percent of your recommended daily allowance.  It is also high in pectin, which helps move things along in your digestive tract to both keep your bowel movements regular and lessen the amount of time potentially damaging fecal matter hangs around in the colon.  In addition, that fiber will keep you feel satiated longer, while only serving up a mere 30 calories.5 And studies have shown that the pectin may be strongly anti-carcinogenic--particularly in regard to colon cancer.6

Grapefruit has been found in numerous studies to confer disease protection as well. In a 2006 study, a team of researchers from universities in Israel, Singapore, and Poland split participants into three groups.7  All of them ate healthy, low fat diets, but one group had a red grapefruit each day, another had a yellow grapefruit each day, and the third ate no grapefruit.  Both groups of grapefruit eaters experienced reduced levels of total cholesterol as well as LDL, the "bad," cholesterol.  The red grapefruit eaters enjoyed the additional benefit of lowering their triglyceride levels too.

So, with all these health benefits, why has the media labeled grapefruit a danger?  Simply put, grapefruit can enhance the risks already inherent in pharmaceutical drugs.  Upwards of 85 medications have been found to interact with grapefruit.  Those research and development departments at pharmaceutical conglomerates keep busy by constantly rolling out new drugs, so needless to say, the incidence of problems experienced by grapefruit eaters has risen in recent years.  And, despite the known interactions, many doctors don't think to ask patients if they eat grapefruit or mention that it is a contraindication.

Grapefruit itself is not harmful. Certain pharmaceuticals for pain, heart disease, schizophrenia, and cancer, on the other hand, have been found to be problematic when combined with grapefruit.  The danger comes from the fact that grapefruit inhibits the CYP3A4 enzyme in the liver that helps the body metabolize the pharmaceutical.  Therefore, the medication is much stronger as it enters the system, and its effects are magnified, sometimes to the point of causing an overdose.

But the key issue to remember is that the toxicity is inherent in the pharmaceutical drug, not the grapefruit. The problem, once again, is that grapefruit can enhance that toxicity--particularly that  of statin drugs.  If you are prescribed pharmaceuticals, it is essential to discuss with your doctor whether grapefruit is safe to consume for the duration of the medication.  And if you are not taking any kind of prescription medicine, dig right in to this citrus delight because, for most of us, grapefruit is nothing but healthy.

  • 1. Schaufelberger, Katherine. "Pink Grapefruit: Packed With Vitamin C." WebMD. 7 December 2007. Accessed 14 February 2013. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/pink-grapefruit-nutrition-facts
  • 2. "Injected vitamin C slows tumor growth." America.gov. 11 August 2008. Accessed 15 February 2013. http://www.america.gov/st/health-english/2008/August/20080811132411lcnirellep0.9142115.html
  • 3. Evert, Alison. "Vitamin A benefit." National Institutes of Health. 8 February 2011. Accessed 15 February 2013. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/18096.htm
  • 4. "Grapefruit." World's Healthiest Foods. Accessed 15 February 2013. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=25
  • 5. "Dietary Fiber." We Heal NY. Accessed 15 February 2013. http://www.wehealny.org/healthinfo/dietaryfiber/fibercontentchart.html
  • 6. Youngmi Cho1, Josue G. Martinez, Nancy D. Turner, et al. "Fish oil and pectin may suppress colon carcinogenesis via inhibition of the MAPK and TGFßpathways." The FASEB Journal. 2008;22:885.8.  http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/22/1_MeetingAbstracts/885.8
  • 7. "Red Grapefruit Fights Heart Disease." Bastyr Center for Natural Health. Accessed 15 February 2013. http://www.bastyrcenter.org/content/view/989

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Comments

  •  
    Submitted by Harald Tilgner on
    March 6, 2013 - 8:40am

    Hello Jon.

    Thanks for the continuing stream of helpful articles once again. I do, however, have a "bone to pick" about cholesterol labeling.

    Cholesterol is one of the most significant substances in our bodies. It is being created and reworked constantly by the liver. The kind being made by the liver is LDL.
    Question: Would the Liver make "bad" Cholesterol???

    As I understand it, when the Cholesterol being re-worked by the liver, it is the HDL that is re-converted to LDL also. Would the body not 'rebel', if that stuff was "bad"?

    Our cells produce 'waste products', due to their activities, of essentially two categories, water based and lipid based and low and behold, our blood is made up such, that it can deal not only with the supply of nutrients of both kinds, but also with said waste products. The water soluble waste is transported via the serum in this blood and the lipid soluble waste products are transported by the Cholesterol, which turns LDL temporarily into HDL ( I would think because of the 'extra load', it becomes "high density") on the way from the periphery of the circulatory system to the liver, where the lipid waste burden is removed from the HDL, turning it back into LDL.

    You might say: Why the need to make additional LDL?

    It turns out, that Cholesterol is the 'raw material' for hormone production, as well as a constituent of cell walls and all kinds of other purposes to keep us alive and well.

    Now, I ask you, where in this picture is ANYTHING good or bad? Isn't Life and Nature not to be revered and stood in awe of? How wonderful and ingeniously everything works together!

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