Grapefruit: what is it and benefits of the fruit

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 common orange ( Citrus sinensis ). 

The species, which is also well known by its English name, grapefruit , is not so popular here in Brazil, but its consumption brings several health benefits and so it is worth adding it to the menu.

Among the reasons for eating the fruit are: strengthening immunity, improving the gastrointestinal system and helping to lose weight .

To explain everything about this exotic fruit, we invited nutritionist Luis Braz, who highlighted some of its main health benefits and even gave tips on how to consume it. Check out!

What are the benefits of grapefruit?

The nutritionist said that grapefruit is a great source of vitamin A and C , dietary fiber and also important phytochemical compounds, such as  flavonoids and beta-carotene, which give the fruit its vibrant color.

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 amount of carbohydrates per 100 gram serving and only 41 calories . ( 1 )

Strengthens immunity

You’ve probably heard someone recommend vitamin C to prevent the flu, right? 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 the production of new defense cells , which fight directly to eliminate mutations in the cells and invading microorganisms.

With this increase in antibodies, the body is able to fight better against disease-causing agents, and with that the chances of you falling ill with a flu or some other beneficial illness is much smaller.

Fight free radicals

According to Luis, the consumption of grapefruit also helps to 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 to make the body healthier and prevent many types of 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.

The result, as you can imagine, is a chain reaction that seriously damages the organism.

Promotes good intestinal health

In addition to these benefits, grapefruit is also able to “promote improvements in the quality of activity of the intestines due to its high fiber content ”, attests the nutrition professional.

This is because soluble fiber is able to absorb water on its way to the intestine, as it is not digested by stomach acid. There, this water serves both to hydrate the feces, preventing the dryness that causes constipation , both to ferment this mass and increase the proliferation of bacteria that are good for the body.

Thus, adding grapefruit to your diet can improve your bathroom visits and also prevent problems such as diarrhea.

Prevents skin aging

Luiz explained that vitamin C can also improve the appearance of the skin, as it serves to increase the production of collagen , an essential protein for the skin’s structure, giving it more firmness and elasticity . However, its production decreases over time, which favors premature aging.

Therefore, adding this nutrient to food can prevent the appearance of expression lines and sagging, leaving the skin smoother and with a healthy appearance. This is why the vitamin is present in various dermocosmetics 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 fiber content, something that can provide more satiety , regulate intestinal transit and stimulate liver functions in order to maintain the stability of metabolism “, he explained.

Furthermore, fiber is also responsible for reducing the absorption of fats and sugars, which are 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 in a healthy way, it is necessary to change habits, adopting a balanced diet and exercising 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. That is, 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. ( 2 )

What exactly is grapefruit?

Grapefruit is a hybrid species, originated from the crossing of two species of the genus citrus, the common orange and the pomelo. Their scientific name is Citrus paradisi and they are considered large fruits, weighing an average of 350 grams, with smooth skin and reddish pulp. It originates from the island of Barbados, in Central America, and has a bitter and citrus flavor. ( 3 ) 

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!

grapefruit juice

You will only need to peel 2 grapefruits, taking care to 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 just put it in a glass with ice and sweeten with honey. The nutritionist recommends “do not strain the drink as it can be more strategic for weight loss or satiety”.

grapefruit tea

To make the tea, perfect for those colder days, you’ll need 2 medium-sized grapefruit, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon , 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, 1 cup water and ¼ cup of honey.

Squeeze the fruit to remove the juice and place it in a pan along 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

Grapefruit jelly is also very easy to prepare. You will only need 6 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 to the fire along with the sugar and let it cook for 15 minutes. Once that’s done, 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.

care

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 drugs 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 controlled medication, avoid consuming the fruit without your doctor’s approval.

Elderly people must take extra care, as they are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the fruit. ( )

Ellie Lauderdale

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.

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