The grapefruit was bred in the 18th century as a cross between a pomelo and an orange. They were given the name grapefruit because of the way they grew in clusters similar to grapes.Grapefruits vary in hue from white or yellow to pink and red and can range in taste from very acidic and even bitter to sweet and sugary.
Grapefruits are low in calories but full of nutrients. They support clear, healthy skin, can help to lower our risk for many diseases and conditions and may even help with weight loss as part of an overall healthy and varied diet.Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like grapefruit decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
Nutritional breakdown of grapefruit
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, half of a medium pink grapefruit, (3 ¾ in diameter) contains approximately 52 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of sodium, 0 grams of cholesterol, 13 grams of carbohydrate (including 8.5 grams of sugar and 2 grams of dietary fiber), and 1 gram of protein.
Eating half of a grapefruit per day will meet 64% of your vitamin C needs, 28% of vitamin A, 2% of calcium and 2% of magnesium.
Grapefruits also contain small amounts of vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and copper.
Not only are pink grapefruits high in common vitamins and minerals, they also pack a powerful antioxidant punch with lycopene and beta-carotene along with the phytonutrients limonoids and naringenin.
Studies have shown that fresh pink or red grapefruit contains higher quantities of bioactive compounds and has significantly higher antioxidant potential than white or yellow grapefruit.
Blood pressure and heart health
The powerful nutrient combination of fiber, potassium, lycopene, vitamin C and choline in grapefruit all help to maintain a healthy heart.
One study found that a diet supplemented with fresh red grapefruit positively influences blood lipid levels, especially triglycerides. Researchers concluded that the addition of fresh red grapefruit to the diet could be beneficial for people with atherosclerosis wanting to lower their high lipid levels, especially triglycerides.Those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).
High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.Increasing potassium intake is also important for lowering blood pressure because of its powerful vasodilation effects.
According to the American Heart Association, eating higher amounts of a compound found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit may lower ischemic stroke risk for women. Those who ate the highest amounts of citrus had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least.
As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C as well as other antioxidants, grapefruit can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. Lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer prevention in several studies and foods high in vitamin C and beta-carotene have been shown to lower the risk of esophageal cancer.
As one of the most hydrating fruits in the world made up of 91% water (just below watermelon) and full of important electrolytes, grapefruit is a great snack to have on hand to prevent dehydration.
The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the main support system of skin. Hydration and vitamin A are also crucial for healthy looking skin, both of which grapefruits can provide.