Grapefruit is a tropical citrus fruit that is both delicious and healthy. This post will talk about the health benefits of grapefruit and also some easy ways to enjoy grapefruit.
Fresh grapefruit is more than just good looks. Like many citrus fruits, it’s a rich source of nutrients. Eating half a grapefruit for breakfast or drinking fresh grapefruit juice is a great way to kick off your day or recharge in the middle of a busy day.
It helps that grapefruit is such a tantalizing mix of flavors – lip-smacking sweetness and sharp acidity. I find that this mix makes grapefruit consumption a pleasure rather than a chore.
Join me as I walk you through some of the health benefits grapefruit provides.
From lowering high blood pressure to boosting healthy skin, and from supporting the body’s immune system to aiding weight loss, the many health benefits of grapefruit make it one of the healthiest citrus fruits you can include in your diet.
Grapefruit Nutrition Facts
Let’s kick off with a quick look at some of the nutrients packed into those beautiful grapefruit slices. These are the vitamins and minerals that give grapefruit its powerful health benefits.
I’m giving you average values based on a 200-gram or 3.5-inch grapefruit (smallish in size).
If you’re looking for ways to eat fewer calories:
- 64 calories
For digestive and muscle health:
- 1.5 grams of protein
- 2.2 grams of fiber
For essential minerals and micronutrients:
For your daily vitamin needs:
- Vitamin C
- B vitamins including folate
- Vitamin A and beta carotene (lycopene)
For cell protection and for anti-inflammation:
- Powerful antioxidant plant compounds like lutein and zeaxanthin
Now for some not-so-good news. Half a fresh grapefruit contains 8 grams of carbs, of which 7 grams are sugars.
But like I always say, we should work on cutting out processed sugars from our diet so we can enjoy the sugars in healthy foods like grapefruit without guilt! This approach is way better than binging and then going on fad diets.
Benefits Of Grapefruit
Regularly consuming grapefruit has many health benefits due to its antioxidant effects and important nutrients.
Let’s look at some of them.
- May Boost Immune Function
Grapefruit intake gives you most of your daily vitamin C requirement.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in supporting the immune system. A deficiency of vitamin C can lead to poor immunity and a higher risk of infections from harmful bacteria and viruses.
So, if you just drink grapefruit juice in the morning, it might even help to keep the sniffles of a common cold away!
- May Aid Weight Loss
One of the key factors in weight management is limiting calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, I’ll bet you’re always looking for delicious foods that are nutritious and contain very few calories.
Well guess what?
Grapefruit ticks the boxes because a medium grapefruit contains only around 65 calories, packs a ton of nutrients, and tastes delicious.
My only advice is don’t add sugar to your grapefruit juice to cut the sour taste, because that will counteract all those grapefruit juice benefits.
- Fights Free Radicals
Grapefruit contains vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene, all of which are important antioxidants shown to protect against cell damage. They work by combating the formation of free radicals (damaging molecules) and essentially reducing your risk of cancer!
Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret – oven drying grapefruit peels may enhance their antioxidant properties.
Just off the top of my head, I can think of several uses for citrus peels – as a garnish for healthy yogurt parfaits, to add flavor to teas, and to infuse in liquor.
- May Support Kidney Health
Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can be good for your kidneys. That’s because grapefruits contain citric acid which can reduce kidney stone formation, specifically calcium oxalate kidney stones.
But, it is a double edged sword. Some studies have shown that drinking just one serving of grapefruit juice a day can significantly increase the risk of kidney stones.
Besides the risk of calcium oxalate stones, grapefruit has a high potassium content. The kidneys keep the right amount of potassium in the body. So, when your kidneys are not working properly, it can lead to dangerously high potassium levels if you eat or drink grapefruit juice in large amounts. High potassium levels can lead to problems like abnormal heart rhythms.
In general, healthy people should have no problem eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice in moderate amounts. However, if you have pre-existing kidney disease, be sure to ask your healthcare professional before you add grapefruit to your diet.
- Hydrates the Body
One of the health benefits of grapefruit is that it is a water-rich fruit with nearly 90% water content. Yes, water, that zero calorie hydration essential.
Around one-half cup of grapefruit has half a cup of water, so eating grapefruit not only helps you meet your daily hydration needs but also helps with appetite control by promoting fullness.
Plus, when you stay hydrated, it’s good for skin health.
- May Help Manage Blood Sugar Levels
Grapefruit is a low glycemic index food, meaning it doesn’t cause wild swings in your blood sugar levels. In fact, studies have found that people who ate grapefruit regularly were at lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Experts say the reason grapefruit can do this is because it contains the flavanone naringin. While this substance has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it is also responsible for the somewhat bitter taste of grapefruit that puts some people off.
- May Support Heart Health
Scientific references have shown that grapefruit can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, including both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol). High blood pressure and high cholesterol are two primary risk factors for heart disease.
You can therefore reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions like diabetes by including grapefruit as part of a healthy eating plan.
Grapefruit also includes dietary fiber, which is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and better heart health. Several studies have shown that fiber lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels and can reduce insulin resistance, all of which are beneficial for heart health.
- Is it okay to eat grapefruit every day?
Yes, eating half a grapefruit or drinking a glass of grapefruit juice is okay for most people.
Don’t overdo it with grapefruits, however, because this citrus fruit does have a significant amount of sugar. Also, people with health conditions should consult their doctor for medical advice before eating grapefruit.
I wrote about how I quit sugar on this post, you might find it helpful if you’re planning on doing the same.
While most fruits and vegetables are usually safe, grapefruit has some medication interactions with certain prescription medications.
- Is it better to eat grapefruit at night or in the morning?
It depends. In the morning, grapefruit may help give you an energy boost to keep you going throughout the day, given that so many essential nutrients are found in grapefruit. But eating a grapefruit as a snack before bedtime can also work out great.
- Does grapefruit make you poop?
Yes, grapefruit might make you poop and could even relieve constipation because of its high water content and high fiber content. Fiber and water help waste materials move along in the bowels. High fiber foods like grapefruits can lower the risk of constipation.
- Should grapefruit be eaten on an empty stomach?
No, it’s not a good idea to eat citrus fruits like grapefruit on an empty stomach.
Grapefruits can increase acid production in the stomach, leading to worsening of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux.
Also, the sugar in grapefruit can slow down digestion if you eat it on an empty stomach. Be sure to rinse your mouth after drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit, especially if you have sensitive teeth, because the acid can lead to tooth enamel erosion.
- Which has more vitamin C, orange or grapefruit?
Oranges have more vitamin C (around 58 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams), but grapefruits are a close second with around 49 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams.
A whole grapefruit, therefore, contains nearly all of the recommended daily value of this essential vitamin.
How To Eat Grapefruit
- Eat it fresh.
Grapefruit is low in calories and high in nutrients. This makes it an excellent fruit to eat anytime of day, as a snack or as part of your meals. The tangy taste of this citrus fruit comes from the citric acid and is a real treat for the taste buds.
- Mix it with your fruit bowl.
Grapefruit goes well with a whole bunch of other fruits, including banana, melon, papaya, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, pomegranate, and other tropical fruits. By eating a fruit salad with different fruits, you can not only boost your overall health but also enjoy a healthy snack that makes you feel fuller for longer.
- Add it to your favorite salad.
Grapefruits can add a fresh, zesty tang to your salads. The sweet yet distinctly tart taste is a perfect addition to salads with ingredients like walnuts, feta cheese, avocado, and greens. Red grapefruit is my favorite – I love the pop of color it adds to my salads.
- Use it as a lemon replacement.
You can replace lemon juice with grapefruit juice in a 1:1 ratio. You will get the same hint of bitterness without as much of a sour flavor. What’s more, since grapefruit has a lot more juice than lemons, you can use it for cooking and baking too.
You can also use grapefruit to infuse your water. Make sure to check out my easy infused water recipes!
- Juice it!
Don’t like to eat a whole grapefruit? Simply juice it and enjoy a refreshing beverage! I find that adding a pinch of salt to my grapefruit juice can cut the bitterness and sourness and elevate the flavor profile.
Grapefruit can be a great way to add some color and a punch of flavor to your meals. You can include it in a variety of items, from cocktails to salads and baked goods to fruit bowls. Eating fresh grapefruit has a range of health benefits.
The sweet and tangy taste makes it a great choice for breakfast, as a snack, or even for dessert.