Grapefruit belongs to the “family” of citrus fruits, along with orange, tangerine, lemon and is a fruit that offers many valuable nutrients.
It is known for its sweet and somewhat sour taste. It is rich in antioxidants and fiber, making it one of the citrus fruits with the greatest nutritional value. From ancient times the people used the fruit, the oil from the skin and the extracts from the seed for therapeutic purposes.
What is its nutritional value?
Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, folic acid, vitamin B1, magnesium, and fiber. In addition, it contains some powerful antioxidant plant compounds, which are probably responsible for many of the benefits to human health. More specifically, half of a medium-sized grapefruit contains:
- Calories: 52 cal
- Carbohydrates: 13 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 64% of RDI
- Vitamin A: 28% of RDI
- Potassium: 5% of RDI
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 4% of RDI
- Folic Acid: 4% of RDI
- Magnesium: 3% of RDI
Grapefruit strengthens the immune system
Regular consumption of grapefruit seems to be beneficial for your immune system. Typically, a whole grapefruit contains about 80 micrograms of vitamin C, which is more than you would get from a large orange.
It is valuable as its high content of vitamin C protects your cells from harmful bacteria and viruses. In addition, numerous studies have shown that it offers a speedy recovery in patients suffering from the common cold.
Grapefruit also contains small amounts of B vitamins, zinc, copper and iron, all of which work together in the body to promote the functioning of the immune system. They also help maintain the integrity of your skin, which acts as a primary barrier to infectious agents.
Grapefruit contributes to weight loss
Grapefruit is rich in fiber. Research shows that a diet rich in fiber is beneficial for causing a feeling of fullness. This is because fiber slows down your stomach emptying rate, increasing digestion time.
Thus, consuming sufficient amounts of fiber can automatically help you take in fewer calories throughout the day while maintaining your appetite.
In addition, grapefruit contains few calories but plenty of water, which is another feature known to help with weight loss especially when taken before meals.
Grapefruit contributes to the health of the cardiovascular system
Regular consumption of grapefruit is thought to improve heart health by reducing risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
In one study, people who ate grapefruit three times a day for six weeks experienced significant reductions in blood pressure during the study. They also showed improvements in the levels of total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
These effects are probably due to the nutrients contained in grapefruit, which play a role in maintaining proper heart function.
Grapefruit as a source of powerful antioxidants
Grapefruit is rich in antioxidants, which in turn provide protection against various diseases. In particular, they protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause harmful reactions in the body.
The most important antioxidants found in grapefruit are:
- Vitamin C: A powerful, water-soluble antioxidant found in high amounts in grapefruit. It can protect cells from damage that often leads to cardiovascular disease.
- B-carotene: It is converted to vitamin A in the body and is believed to help reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease and eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration.
- Flavonoids: Their anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Side effects from eating grapefruit
Grapefruit is safe when taken in normal amounts. If the data so far on taking grapefruit during pregnancy is insufficient, it should be avoided.
People with chronic heart and hormone-dependent diseases should consult their doctor before consuming grapefruit.
People taking medication should be especially careful to avoid taking grapefruit. This is because it contains a substance called furanocoumarin which in turn inhibits the action of the enzyme CYP3A4, which is found in the small intestine and is responsible for the metabolism of many drugs. The result of this interaction is that certain drugs are not metabolized and therefore not removed from the body, resulting in prolonged pharmacological effect and consequent toxicity.
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