You probably remember the popular Grapefruit Diet from back in the day. It seemed that everywhere you turned, people were diving into a half of a grapefruit while eating nothing else with their meals. While some were able to lose weight from eating nothing but grapefruit for an extended period of time, it wasn’t sustainable and just about everyone ended up heavier than they were before the diet.
Since then, grapefruits have had a bit of a stigma because of the diet. That shouldn’t be the case, though, because grapefruits have a tremendous amount of health benefits, you just have to eat them as part of a balanced diet. Between some important vitamins that can boost your overall health to a sweet taste, there’s a lot to like about grapefruits. Let’s breakdown the nutritional value of the grapefruit and see what type of health benefits you can get from eating more of them.
Nutrition of Grapefruit
As we mentioned, people were eating grapefruits left and right because they are so low in calories. In each half of a grapefruit, there are only around 50 calories. There’s not too much protein with just one gram, but you are getting eight percent of your daily recommendation of dietary fiber. There are two vitamins that really stand out in grapefruit, with vitamin C (64 percent daily value) and vitamin A (28 percent) being the most abundant.
Other vitamins that are present in lower amounts include thiamin, folate, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. These vitamins are all under five percent of your daily recommended value. Potassium is the most abundant mineral, though there is only five percent of daily value. Other minerals under five percent include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, manganese and zinc. You’ll also be getting nearly 10 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.
Of course, talking about the grapefruit diet, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about how grapefruit can benefit weight loss. The reason that the diet became so popular in the first place was because eating (and even smelling) grapefruit can reduce your appetite. The most scientifically proven way that grapefruit reduces your appetite, however, is because of the fiber content found within.
You can eat plenty of grapefruit without adding calories, making it a great snack. Since it’s sweet enough to meet some of your cravings for sugar, it’s a perfect food for a weight loss diet. Just make sure that you’re not basing your entire diet around grapefruit. There have been plenty of studies that back up grapefruit’s ability to help you lose weight, and can even help to burn stubborn belly fat that can be very hard to get rid of.
The most important nutrient that your body needs to boost its immune system is vitamin C. Thankfully, grapefruit has plenty of vitamin C, while also adding in some important nutrients like zinc and iron. Grapefruit has proven to be a huge benefit in fighting illnesses, so much so that studies have shown that the fruit contains much of the same illness preventing benefits that certain medications do.
The wide range of vitamins in grapefruit help your body to fight off the minor illnesses, as well as the major ones. If you find yourself coming down with a fever, just reach for a can of grapefruit juice and water. Your body will be plenty hydrated to help fight symptoms while also boosting your immune system to fight the disease. Grapefruits have plenty of antioxidants that can fight off free radicals that cause chronic illnesses, and even skin conditions.
We touched a bit on the fiber content in grapefruit and how it can help your digestive system by making you less hungry. It also helps to make your digestive system work more efficiently, as it can prevent inflammation in your digestive tract. For those that suffer with constant indigestion, eating more grapefruit in your diet is the perfect way to prevent some of those problems.
It’s not just your digestive tract that gets a boost, either, as your urinary tract will see a huge benefit from more grapefruit. Grapefruit is high in water and citric acid, helping your body to breakdown excess calcium that causes kidney stones. People underestimate how important hydration is for their digestive and urinary tracts, so drinking more water and eating more grapefruit is going to avoid a lot of problems.
There are a lot of brain problems that many of us suffer from on a daily basis. Fatigue is a big one, and getting through the day without dozing off can be tough. Drinking grapefruit juice (or eating them) is great for a natural energy boost. That’s because grapefruits contain nootkatone, while also adding water and fiber that has long been known to provide energy to the body.
For those of us with a lack of fatigue at night (better known as insomnia), eating grapefruit before heading to bed is a way of releasing tryptophan. That might sound familiar, and that’s because it’s the chemical most commonly known for being present in Thanksgiving meals that make you doze off. There’s a perfect balance in grapefruit that helps you wake up during the day while also sleeping better at night.
Grapefruit is packed with anti-inflammatory properties that your heart will greatly benefit from, since many heart diseases stem from inflammation. Grapefruits have been shown in studies to also help you lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while also lowering your blood pressure. Getting those numbers under control will greatly reduce your chances of heart disease, heart attack and stroke down the line. Just the minerals in grapefruit alone give a big boost to your heart health, especially if you are eating them on a near daily basis.
Summing it Up
Grapefruit started to get a bad rap at first because of the old diet, but then in the early 2000’s it really came to a head. That’s because it was found out that grapefruit could clash with certain types of medications. Studies showed the calcium channel blockers and antidepressants were interacting negatively with grapefruit. Still, for those of us that aren’t on any medications, grapefruits should not be a concern despite that temporary setback.
There aren’t many other negatives when it comes to grapefruit. Doctors warn that postmenopausal women shouldn’t be drinking too much grapefruit in a day because it can increase estrogen levels to a dangerous amount, leading to an increased risk of breast cancer. While those negatives do rule out quite a few people, the rest of us should be adding more grapefruit to our diets. With the sweet taste and health benefits, there’s not many excuses to pass up on what was once king of the diet world.