It’s National Grapefruit month. Share the benefits of grapefruit.
The grapefruit is a subtropical citrus tree known for its relatively large, sour to semi-sweet, somewhat bitter fruit. The interior flesh is segmented and varies in color from pale yellow to dark pink. Grapefruit is a citrus hybrid originating in Barbados it is an accidental cross between the sweet orange and the pomelo or shaddock, both of which were introduced from Asia in the 17th century. When found, it was called the forbidden fruit. In 2019, world production of grapefruits (combined with pomelos) was 9.3 million tonnes, of which 53% was in China. Other significant producers include Vietnam, United States and Mexico.
Top 5 health benefits of grapefruit
1. Rich in antioxidants : Grapefruit provides a number of beneficial and protective nutrients and plant compounds which have antioxidant properties. This means they help protect cells from the potential damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. In particular, they’re a good source of beta-carotene, which is converted in the body to vitamin A, and is thought to reduce the risk of chronic conditions including macular degeneration. Grapefruit is also a useful source of lycopene, which is associated with a reduced risk of cancer.
2. May support heart health : In 2012, the American Heart Association published a report that suggested that a diet high in certain flavonoids, compounds found in citrus fruits including grapefruit, may lower a woman’s risk of stroke. However, more research is needed to understand exactly why this is. Grapefruit is rich in potassium and fibre, as well as protective antioxidants which may help manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Human studies have demonstrated the beneficial role grapefruit, and specifically red grapefruit, may play in helping to improve cholesterol levels, particularly in those suffering with atherosclerosis.
3. May help with weight loss : While low in calories and high in fibre, eating grapefruit is unlikely to deliver the dramatic weight loss touted in some fad diets; however, there is some evidence to suggest that consuming grapefruit may be of some assistance. A 12-week Japanese study looked at the effects of grapefruit versus a placebo, and there was a significant reduction in weight, as well as blood glucose levels, in those participants who consumed half a grapefruit before meals.
4. May aid blood sugar management : Animal studies have examined the beneficial role grapefruit juice may play in reducing blood glucose levels and improving insulin resistance. This is further supported by a higher fruit and green vegetable intake being associated with a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
5. May promote better brain function : There is some promising research into the role of flavonoids in the diet and improvements in memory and cognition, as well as the prevention of neurodegenerative conditions. However, it is too early to say whether grapefruit, in particular, has a significant impact on brain health.