Add a Little Grapefruit to Your Diet and Reap the Health Benefits

Add a Little Grapefruit to Your Diet and Reap the Health Benefits

Grapefruit comes in three varieties, white, red and pink. It is a relative of the orange and contains rich sources of health promoting properties. The red grapefruit is the healthiest option. Also known as ‘fruit of paradise’ it contains juicy, segmented flesh with a powerful tangy flavor. By adding grapefruit to your diet, eaten fresh, segmented into salads and as a freshly squeezed juice, you will be providing your body with a powerful cocktail of nutrients. This article discusses the nutritional properties of grapefruit and its health benefits.

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Nutritional Properties of Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a rich source of vitamin C, containing an impressive 78 percent of the daily recommendation of vitamin C in just half a grapefruit. It is a good source of vitamin A, containing 13 percent of the daily recommendation of this vitamin. It is a source of the vitamins B5 and B9 (folate). It also contains carotenoids that are important disease fighting compounds. It is a source of phytonutrients including limonoids which can help detoxify the body and is good source of fiber. It is also a rich source of potassium. It is packed with omega 3’s and omega 6 which are important for optimal health. Adding to this impressive list of nutrients is that it contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. In smaller amounts it is also a source of vitamin E, B6 and choline. Half a grapefruit is only 36 calories.

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The Health Benefits of Grapefruit

  • Lowers Bad Cholesterol in the Blood

Vitamin C, fiber, Omega 3’s, Omega 6’s and lycopene help lower bad cholesterol in the blood. High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) cause fatty plaques to build up on the walls of arteries. This initially causes high blood pressure. Eventually these fatty plaques can occlude the flow of blood through these arteries leading to heart attack and or stroke. Eating grapefruit regularly can help lower your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

  • Powerful Antioxidant

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals which are by products of metabolism. Free radicals can be thought of as rust causing chemicals in the body. Free radicals cause the oxidization of healthy tissue causing inflammation. Inflammation is the precursor to many serious disease processes including heart disease and cancer. Grapefruit can offer you protection.

  • Reduce the Risks of some Cancers

Lycopene is also a carotenoid, meaning that it can help prevent the growth of cancer cells. A recent study found that consuming lycopene helped to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. A study has found that when cancer patients drink grapefruit juice, it allows them to take lower dosages of anti-cancer drugs, significantly reducing side effects from these treatments. Further studies need to be performed to show whether lycopene is beneficial for other body cancers.

  • Detoxify the Body

Liminoids found in grapefruit help to detoxify the body. They do this by stimulating an enzyme that makes toxic waste products water soluble, allowing them to be easily flushed out from the body via the kidneys. Also helps to rid the body of carcinogens, substances that cause cancer.

  • Promotes Healthy Eyes, Skin, Teeth and Bones

Being a good source of vitamin A, grapefruit helps to maintain vision, healthy skin, strong teeth and bones.

  • Supports Metabolism

As a source of vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, grape fruit helps to stimulate the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The grapefruit diet is a popular weightloss diet that many people have praised its benefits in losing weight. A study found that people who ate grapefruit or drank grapefruit juice before each meal, significantly lost weight compare to a group who didn’t.            

  • Brain Health

Vitamin B9 is crucial for brain health and for the production of genetic material needed by every cell in the body.

  • Heart Health

The heart requires potassium for optimal, healthy functioning. Grapefruit provides a good source of potassium. Potassium is also required for smooth muscle contraction.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that grapefruit can be classed as a super food. Its impressive list of health benefits should not be overlooked. If you are taking medications called statins which reduce bad cholesterol in the blood, you should avoid eating grapefruit as it can interact with your medication. Most people like to sweeten grapefruit with a little sugar, one teaspoon of sugar only adds an additional 16 calories. Add a little grapefruit to your diet; your body will definitely thank you.

Sources 


University of Chicago John Easton Grapefruit juice lets patients take lower dose of cancer drug

BBC News Grapefruit may help weightloss

Science Daily Grapefruits bitter taste holds a sweet promise for diabetes therapy Retrieved November 8,2012

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

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