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Health Benefits of Grapefruit

Medically Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on September 09, 2020

Grapefruit is a large citrus fruit commonly eaten as part of a balanced breakfast. It’s grown in tropical regions and is in season in the winter. It’s the only citrus fruit native to the Americas.

There are over 20 varieties of grapefruit grown in the United States. They are large, bright yellow, and grow in bunches like grapes do — but unlike grapes, grapefruit grows on trees rather than vines.

Health Benefits

Grapefruit is a nutritionally-dense fruit. Despite having relatively few calories, it’s loaded with nutrients to help your body thrive. It has also been found to have many different health benefits.

Boosts Immune System

Like many citrus fruits, grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C, a nutrient shown to help boost your body’s immune system. Grapefruit is also loaded with Vitamin A, another vitamin that has been proven to help immune function.This powerful combination could help keep the amount of time you spend sick to a minimum.

Helps with Weight Management

Obesity is a common medical problem that can lead to more issues, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Overeating is one contributing factor to obesity. Fiber-packed grapefruit can help with weight management by slowing the rate that your body digests food, making you feel fuller and reducing the desire to overeat. 

Reduces the Risk of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones can be extremely painful to pass. There are many causes of kidney stones, including weight, diet, and certain medications. Eating grapefruit may help prevent kidney stones formed by calcium buildup. The citric acid in grapefruit can bind with excess calcium to help flush it from your system.

Nutrition

There’s a reason grapefruit is sometimes referred to as a superfood. In addition to its other health benefits, a serving of grapefruit is packed with vitamins and minerals. These include: 

Nutrients per Serving

Half of a medium grapefruit contains: 

Things to Watch Out For

If you take prescription medications, ask your doctor before eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice. Grapefruit can have serious negative interactions with certain medications. These include some medications for high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, cholesterol, and anxiety, among others. 

Like most fruits, grapefruit is also relatively high in sugar. Although the amount you’d find in one or two servings of fresh grapefruit is generally fine, the sugar content can add up quickly with grapefruit juices.

How to Prepare Grapefruit

People most often enjoy grapefruit on its own rather than in recipes or meals. 

To eat a fresh grapefruit, first cut the fruit in half. Then, using a spoon, dig the fleshy triangles of fruit out of the rind, avoiding the bitter walls nestled between bits of fruit. Grapefruit can have a sharp, tangy taste to it — sprinkling a little sugar on it can cut the bite and make it taste better. 

For other ways to add grapefruit into your diet, consider:

  • Freezing grapefruit chunks and adding them into smoothies
  • Making grapefruit salsa as an accompaniment for fish
  • Adding grapefruit to a salad as a healthy alternative to salad dressing
  • Making a quinoa bowl with grapefruit and avocado
WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Archivio Italiano di Urologia e Andrologia: “Urinary citrate and renal stone disease: the preventive role of alkali citrate treatment.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

Journal of Nutrition: “Dietary Fiber and Energy Regulation.”

Mayo Clinic: “I like to drink grapefruit juice but hear it can interfere with certain medications. Is that true?”

Mayo Clinic: “Obesity.”

Mayo Clinic: “Vitamin C.”

National Reviews Immunology: “Vitamin effects on the immune system: vitamins A and D take centre stage.”

US Department of Agriculture SNAP-Ed Connection: “When Is Grapefruit in Season?”

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: “Grapefruit.” 

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