A tropical citrus fruit, grapefruit is well-known for its contrasting flavors of sweetness and sourness. This delicious fruit can add delightful punches of flavor to everything from salads to cocktails, and especially as a juice. Furthermore, there are several health benefits of grapefruit juice that are well-documented by numerous scientific studies.
Let’s dive in and learn all about the remarkable health benefits grapefruit juice has to offer.
Vitamins and Nutrients in Grapefruit Juice
Although grapefruit juice can be an acquired taste, enjoying a daily glass of this juice can greatly benefit your health. In fact, grapefruits are one of the most popular breakfast drinks. The fruit and juice are full of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, so consuming a big glass of grapefruit juice can give you a solid start to your day.
Grapefruits are rich in vitamins and minerals. Like all foods, eating the fruit fresh is the best thing you can do, but the great thing is that the health benefits of grapefruit juice are almost equivalent to the fruit itself.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one grapefruit (about one cup of fruit) has the following vitamins and nutrients.
- Calories: 52-74
- Fat: 0.23 grams
- Dietary fiber: 2.5 grams (10% of daily value)
- Carbohydrates: 18.58 grams
- Sugars: 16.05 grams
- Protein: 1.45 grams
- Calcium: 28 milligrams
- Magnesium: 18 milligrams (3% of recommended daily intake)
- Iron: 0.21 milligrams
- Potassium: 320 milligrams
- Phosphorus: 18 milligrams
- Vitamin C: 79.1 milligrams (64% of recommended daily intake)
- Zinc: 0.16 milligrams
- Thiamine: 4% of recommended daily intake
- Folate: 4% of recommended daily intake
That means that in terms of fruits with high vitamin C content, grapefruit ranks in third place.
Grapefruit Juice Health Benefits
Because grapefruits and grapefruit juice are loaded with valuable vitamins and nutrients, they provide several different health benefits. Besides the vitamins and nutrients, grapefruit also offers powerful antioxidant plant compounds that help you stay healthy.
When you eat a diet rich in antioxidants, you may experience a reduced risk of developing several different diseases. This is because antioxidants protect the body’s cells from damage that is caused by what is known are free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules in the body that can cause harmful reactions.
Diseases that can be increased by free radical damage include autoimmune disorders, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and more.
Free radicals are created as a by-product of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species that happen because of the cell’s redox process. Although the free radical theory has been around for more than 50 years, it is only within the last 20 years that scientists have become familiar with the role of free radicals in diseases.
Here are some of the antioxidants that are present in grapefruit:
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps protect your body’s cells from the damage that often leads to cancer and heart disease.
Lycopene is well-known for its ability to prevent specific types of cancer from developing, including prostate cancer. Also, lycopene may slow tumor growth.
Beta-carotene converts in the body to vitamin A, which is thought to help reduce the risk of chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, and eye problems such as macular degeneration.
Flavanones have anti-inflammatory properties that have demonstrated the ability to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.
Helps Control Appetite
For decades, health advocates have been touting the benefits of grapefruit and grapefruit juice for appetite control and weight loss. Grapefruit has a good bit of fiber, and although you lose some of that in the juice, you still receive some benefit.
Diets high in foods that are rich in fiber help to induce a feeling of being fuller because fiber slows the emptying of your stomach. When you can increase digestion time, it makes you feel fuller and thus can help you lose weight and eat fewer calories. Another great result of slowed digestion is that you will have more energy.
Aids in Weight Loss
Remember the grapefruit diet? This fad diet has endured over the years because there is some truth to the fact that eating grapefruit can aid in weight loss. While we don’t recommend fad diets, the evidence suggests that eating grapefruit will help you with your weight control goals.
In addition to having very few calories and tons of fiber, grapefruit also has a lot of water, which helps with weight control and weight loss.
One specific study showed that 91 adults with obesity consumed half of a fresh grapefruit before every meal. These adults lost much more weight than the people in the study who did not consume grapefruit before eating.
Moreover, the people in the group who ate grapefruit lost about 3.5 pounds over a period of 12 weeks, while the group participants that did not eat grapefruit lost only about one pound or less.
There have been other studies that found that weight loss can occur if you consume grapefruit every day. One study showed that people who ate grapefruit every day actually reduced the size of their waists.
In short, just eating grapefruit won’t necessarily make you lose weight, but when you add grapefruit to a healthy eating plan, it can definitely help you with your weight control goals.
Helps You Stay Hydrated
Because grapefruits are approximately 88% water, grapefruit juice is extremely hydrating. Every bodily process and system requires water, and staying well-hydrated makes your body function more efficiently in every way.
Drinking plenty of water is the best way to stay as hydrated as possible, but adding foods that are rich in water to your diet can go a long way towards helping you remain well-hydrated.
High in Nutrients, Low in Calories
As we’ve outlined above, grapefruit has numerous vitamins and nutrients. The best thing about grapefruit juice is that it’s low in calories and provides several different dietary nutrients. Best of all, grapefruit is one the lowest-calorie fruits you can eat.
May Help Prevent Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
Eating fruit, in general, is associated with more effective blood sugar control and people who eat fruit regularly have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Studies have found that regularly consuming grapefruit can help with insulin resistance that sometimes leads to diabetes. Insulin resistance happens when the body’s cells fail to respond to insulin.
When you have insulin resistance, it ultimately leads to higher blood sugar and insulin levels, which are the two primary risk factors in developing type 2 diabetes.
One study demonstrated that people who ate half of a grapefruit before meals showed significantly reduced insulin resistance and insulin levels when compared to a group that did not consume grapefruit.
Serves as an Immune System Booster
When you eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice regularly, you can significantly benefit your body’s immune system. One reason for this is the high vitamin C content in grapefruit. Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant properties that can help protect your body’s cells from harmful viruses and bacteria.
But that’s not all. Vitamin C can also help people recover much more quickly when they are suffering from the common cold.
Vitamin C isn’t the only nutrient in grapefruit that strengthens the body’s immune system. Vitamin A, which is present in grapefruit, can help protect against several infectious diseases and also inflammation.
Additionally, grapefruit juice provides some amounts of zinc, B vitamins, iron, and copper. All of these nutrients work together to help the body promote a more effective immune system function. They also help maintain your skin’s integrity, and the skin serves as a protective barrier against infections.
Improves Heart Health
Because eating grapefruit can reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure, heart health can improve. This happens because of the important nutrients that are present in grapefruit.
One study showed that people who consumed grapefruit three times a day for six weeks had significant blood pressure reduction during the study. These individuals also showed significant improvements in their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and total cholesterol.
One key nutrient in grapefruit is potassium, and this mineral is responsible for several aspects of heart health. Eating half of the grapefruit can provide up to 5% of your recommended daily allowance. This is significant because eating enough potassium is associated with a decreased risk of getting high blood pressure.
Equally important, grapefruit has a lot of fiber, which can also help improve your heart health because increased fiber is commonly associated with lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
All of this leads to a significantly reduced risk of developing heart disease. Also important, diets high in antioxidants and fiber can help protect against stroke.
Reduces Kidney Stones Risk
When you consume grapefruit, you can reduce your risk of eventually developing kidney stones. Kidney stones happen when you have a buildup of excess waste materials present in your kidneys.
The waste materials that build up in the kidneys are the products of metabolism that are typically filtered out through the kidneys. These waste materials are usually removed from your body in your urine.
But when the waste materials crystalize in your kidneys, they can become kidney stones. When you have a larger stone, it can create a blockage in your urinary system, resulting in extreme pain.
Most commonly, kidney stones are calcium oxalate stones. This type of kidney stone can be prevented sometimes by consuming citric acid, which is organically found in grapefruit. The way it works is that the citric acid may prevent these stones by binding with the calcium present in the kidneys. Then, it is flushed out of the body.
Another benefit of citric acid is that it can increase the pH and volume of your urine, which creates an environment that isn’t favorable to kidney stone formation.
Risks and Side Effects
Although grapefruits and grapefruit juice have plenty of health benefits, there are some risks that should be addressed. Some people can experience problems if they consume too much grapefruit.
Tooth Enamel Erosion
For some people, consuming citrus fruits can lead to the erosion of tooth enamel, especially if you eat too much citrus fruit. What causes this to happen is the citric acid that’s present in fruits like lemon, oranges, and grapefruit.
If you are a person with sensitive teeth, you may have to avoid acidic foods and fruits. To enjoy grapefruit and other citrus fruits while still protecting your tooth enamel, follow these tips:
- Don’t suck on citrus fruits
- Avoid putting the fruit directly on your teeth
- After eating the fruit, rinse your mouth out with water
- Don’t brush your teeth until about 30 minutes after eating the fruit because the citric acid softens your dental enamel
- Consume cheese when you eat the fruit. Eating cheese with acidic fruit helps increase saliva production and neutralize the fruit’s acidity
Interaction with Medications
Like all foods, there can be interactions with medication when you consume citrus fruits. Grapefruit contains substances that work to inhibit cytochrome P450, which is a bodily enzyme that helps to metabolize some medications.
If you eat grapefruit when you take these medications, your body may fail to break down the medications effectively. This can lead to an overdose or other adverse side effects.
Here are some of the medications that may interact with grapefruit and grapefruit juice:
- Calcium channel blockers
- Some statin drugs
Be sure to consult with your doctor before you eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice if you are taking any of these medications.
For people who are prone to gastric problems or who have gastroesophageal reflux disease, you may experience worse regurgitation and heartburn when you eat grapefruit because of the acid content in the fruit.
Final Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Grapefruit Juice
Besides being delicious and hydrating, there are many health benefits of grapefruit juice. Want to learn more about grapefruits? Next, visit our grapefruit trees page to discover information on planting, growing, caring, cooking, and more!