The Grapefruit is a citrus fruit, often called the “daughter of orange” because it is the result of an artificial cross between pomelo ( Citrus maxima ) and familiar orange ( Citrus sinensis ).
The species, also well known by its English name, Grapefruit, is not so popular here in Brazil, but its consumption brings several health benefits and is worth adding to the menu.
Among the reasons for eating the fruit are: strengthening immunity, improving the gastrointestinal system and helping to lose weight.
To explain this exotic fruit, we invited nutritionist Luis Braz, who highlighted some of its main health benefits and even gave tips on consuming it. Check out!
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What are the benefits of Grapefruit?
The nutritionist said that Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, dietary fibre and essential phytochemical compounds, such as flavonoids and beta-carotene, which give the fruit its vibrant colour.
It also has small amounts of B-complex vitamins, such as thiamine and riboflavin, and minerals, such as phosphorus, iron and potassium—all this with a small number of carbohydrates per 100-gram serving only 41 calories.
You’ve probably heard someone recommend vitamin C to prevent the flu. Well, know that “grapefruit is an important fruit for strengthening the immune system due to the presence of this vitamin,” explained Braz.
The protection, which is not just against the flu but against several other diseases, happens because this nutrient is essential for producing new defence cells, which fight directly to eliminate mutations in the cells and invading microorganisms.
With this increase in antibodies, the body can be better against disease-causing agents, and the chances of you falling ill with the flu or some other beneficial illness are much smaller.
Fight free radicals
According to Luis, consuming Grapefruit also helps combat free radicals once the fruit is rich in antioxidants, especially vitamins A and C.
But what does this have too much? You may be wondering…
This antioxidant potential helps make the body healthier and prevents many degenerative diseases. That’s because free radicals are unstable molecules that “stick” to healthy cells and end up causing them to oxidize (degrade) and multiply inordinately.
As you can imagine, the result is a chain reaction that seriously damages the organism.
Promotes good intestinal health
In addition to these benefits, Grapefruit can “promote improvements in the quality of activity of the intestines due to its high fibre content,” attests the nutrition professional.
This is because soluble fibre can absorb water on its way to the intestine, as it is not digested by stomach acid. There, this water hydrates the feces, preventing the dryness that causes constipation, fermenting this mass and increasing the proliferation of good bacteria in the body.
Thus, adding Grapefruit to your diet can improve your bathroom visits and prevent diarrhea.
Prevents skin aging
Luiz explained that vitamin C can also improve the skin’s appearance, as it increases collagen production, an essential protein for the skin’s structure, giving it more firmness and elasticity. However, its production decreases over time, which favours premature aging.
Therefore, adding this nutrient to food can prevent expression lines and sagging, leaving the skin smoother and healthy. This is why the vitamin is present in various dermo-cosmetics formulations.
Helps in the weight loss process
“Although grapefruit is not a “miraculous” food, it can contribute to weight loss,” explained the nutritionist.
This benefit “is due to the presence of substances with antioxidant power and the high fibre content, which can provide more satiety, regulate intestinal transit and stimulate liver functions to maintain the stability of metabolism, “he explained.
Furthermore, fibre is also responsible for reducing the absorption of fats and sugars, nutrients with high energy value. Allied to this is the fact that the fruit has only 41 calories, which also contributes to weight maintenance.
But remember: there is no such thing as a miracle. To lose weight healthily, it is necessary to change habits, adopt a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
Protect the heart
The consumption of Grapefruit can help protect the heart against various diseases due to the flavonoids found in its composition. They stop the fat from starting to form plaque and build up in the arteries, causing them to clog.
It is even able to lower blood pressure because it is a vasodilator. It relaxes and widens the veins, allowing the blood to flow more smoothly. Thus, it reduces the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
What exactly is Grapefruit?
Grapefruit is a hybrid species that originated from crossing two species of the genus citrus, the familiar orange and the pomelo. Their scientific name is Citrus Paradise, and they have considered large fruits weighing an average of 350 grams, with smooth skin and reddish pulp. It originates from the island of Barbados, Central America, and has a bitter and citrus flavour.
How to consume and recipes
Grapefruit is described by the nutrition professional as a very versatile fruit since “its consumption can be natural, in the form of juices or teas.”
But it’s not just that; it can also be used as the main ingredient in jams or sweets, which mask the pulp’s bitter taste. Here’s how to prepare some of these recipes!
You will only need to peel two grapefruits, remove all the white part, which is quite bitter, and take the segments to a blender with 1 cup of filtered water.
Beat it well, then put it in a glass with ice and sweeten it with honey. The nutritionist recommends “do not strain the drink as it can be more strategic for weight loss or satiety.”
To make the tea perfect for those colder days, you’ll need two medium-sized grapefruit, one tablespoon of ground cinnamon, one tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, 1 cup of water and ¼ cup of honey.
Squeeze the fruit, remove the juice, and place it in a pan with the skins, cinnamon, ginger, and water. Bring everything to low heat and boil for at least 10 minutes. Then just strain, sweeten with honey and drink throughout the day.
Grapefruit jelly is also very easy to prepare. You will only need six medium-sized fruits and 3 cups of crystal sugar.
Separate the grapefruit buds and remove the skin from all of them, squeezing to extract some of the juice, it’s a little laborious, but it makes a lot of difference in the result. Then bring it to the fire with the sugar and cook for 15 minutes. Once that’s done, please wait for it to cool down and it’s ready. You can keep it in the refrigerator, in a sterilized glass jar, for up to 3 months.
Even with all these benefits, Grapefruit should be consumed with great care, as it interacts with more than 85 different drugs and can enhance the effects of medications used to treat high blood pressure, heart and kidney problems and even some used to treat cancer.
It also causes severe reactions when consumption is combined with continuous-use medications. Therefore, if you use a controlled drug, avoid consuming the fruit without your doctor’s approval.
Older adults must take extra care, as they are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the fruit.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.