What is Grapefruit?
The grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi) is a subtropical citrus tree known for its sour to semi-sweet, somewhat bitter fruit. Grapefruit is a hybrid originating in Barbados as an accidental cross between two introduced species, sweet orange (C. sinensis) and pomelo or shaddock (C. maxima), both of which were introduced from Asia in the seventeenth century. When found, it was named the “forbidden fruit”; and frequently, it has been misidentified with the pomelo.
The grapefruit’s name alludes to clusters of the fruit on the tree, which often appear similar to that of grapes. Grapefruit are rich in Vitamin A, fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, phosphorous, folate, riboflavin, pyridoxine and thiamine. They have many health benefits which includes heart health, controls blood sugar, skin care among others.
History Of Grapefruit
The genetic origin of the grapefruit is a hybrid mix. One ancestor of the grapefruit was the Jamaican sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), itself an ancient hybrid of Asian origin; the other was the Indonesian pomelo (C. maxima). One story of the fruit’s origin is that a certain “Captain Shaddock” brought pomelo seeds to Jamaica and bred the first fruit, however, it probably originated as a naturally occurring hybrid between the two plants some time after they had been introduced there.
The hybrid fruit, then called “the forbidden fruit”, was first documented in 1750 by a Welshman, Rev. Griffith Hughes, who described specimens from Barbados in The Natural History of Barbados.Currently, the grapefruit is said to be one of the “Seven Wonders of Barbados”.
The grapefruit was brought to Florida by Count Odet Philippe in 1823 in what is now known as Safety Harbor. Further crosses have produced the tangelo (1905), the Minneola tangelo (1931), and the oroblanco (1984).
The grapefruit was known as the shaddock or shattuck until the nineteenth century. Its current name alludes to clusters of the fruit on the tree, which often appear similar to that of grapes. Botanically, it was not distinguished from the pomelo until the 1830s, when it was given the name Citrus paradisi. Its true origins were not determined until the 1940s. This led to the official name being altered to Citrus × paradisi, the “×” identifying its hybrid origin.
An early pioneer in the American citrus industry was Kimball Atwood, a wealthy entrepreneur who founded the Atwood Grapefruit Company in the late nineteenth century. The Atwood Grove became the largest grapefruit grove in the world, with a yearly output of 80,000 boxes of fruit. It was there that pink grapefruit was first discovered in 1906.
The 1929 Ruby Red patent was associated with real commercial success, which came after the discovery of a red grapefruit growing on a pink variety. Using radiation to trigger mutations, new varieties were developed to retain the red tones which typically faded to pink. The Rio Red variety is the current (2007) Texas grapefruit with registered trademarks Rio Star and Ruby-Sweet, also sometimes promoted as “Reddest” and “Texas Choice”. The Rio Red is a mutation bred variety that was developed by treatment of bud sticks with thermal neutrons. Its improved attributes of mutant variety are fruit and juice color, deeper red, and wide adaptation.
The Star Ruby is the darkest of the red varieties. Developed from an irradiated Hudson grapefruit, it has found limited commercial success because it is more difficult to grow than other varieties.
Things You Should Know About Grapefruit
Grapefruit can seem like an acquired taste. Their bulbous size; bitter pith (the white stuff that surrounds the fruit); and tart taste can be off-putting to those who are more accustomed to their sweeter citrus cousins, like the orange. But consider adding this superfood to your regular rotation of healthy foods. Considered to be one of the 20 Best Foods to Eat for Breakfast, you don’t actually have to limit your intake to the early morning hours. Grapefruit is supremely portable and make a great snack (with very few calories) that fills you up while also relieving thirst due to its high water content.
But be a smart snacker: Grapefruit can inhibit an enzyme in the intestines called CYP3A4, (although some other fruits may do the same, grapefruit is the most documented) which plays a key role in breaking down certain medications in the body. The fruit, particularly the juice, has been shown to result in extra-high, even potentially dangerous levels of certain drugs in the body when consumed at the same time.
Grapefruit has more water than almost any other fruit
Grapefruit is 92% water, giving it one of the highest water contents of any fruit. That makes it good for overall health. (It’s one of our 15 Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated.)
“All of our body systems and process . . . require water,” says Wesley Delbridge, RD, located in Phoenix, Arizona. “Proper hydration makes your body more efficient in everything you’re doing.”
About 20% of your daily fluid intake actually comes from food. So add some grapefruit to get closer to your daily H2O goal and choose the heavier of two fruits of equal size: It has more juice.
Grapefruit may speed weight loss
Several studies have shown that people who eat half a fresh grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice before each meal lose more weight than people who do not. Not all studies have shown the same weight-loss benefit and scientists don’t know if the effect seen in the studies was specifically due to grapefruit—or filling up on a low-calorie food in general—but fruits and vegetables should always be part of your strategy to lose or maintain weight.
What is 100% ironclad fact: Grapefruit delivers a lot of nutrition and water for very few calories. It’s one of our 30 Foods Under 40 Calories (39 Calories in one half!) and 30 Summer Snacks Under 100 Calories (yes, we’re fans). So it’s a great choice if you want to boost your intake of high nutrient, low calorie foods.
Grapefruit pith is good for you
When you peel away the outer layer of a grapefruit, you may be tempted to pick off the white flesh that is between you and the juicy fruit, and throw it away. This stuff is called pith. Don’t do it.
“That (pith) is very rich in antioxidants and nutrients and also soluble fiber which is going to help you feel fuller and impact your glucose reactions,” says Delbridge.
While the pith of grapefruit can have more of a bitter taste than say, oranges, it’s worth eating along with the fruit (if you can). Fiber is a good thing, and can help lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and possibly even colon cancer risk.
Grapefruit can help lower “bad” cholesterol
A grapefruit a day may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 15.5%, according to a 2006 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In the study, researchers looked at 57 patients ages 39 to 72 who had high cholesterol and had undergone bypass surgery for heart trouble. For one month, some ate a grapefruit daily (either red or white) while others, the control group, did not. Grapefruit eaters, particularly those eating red, had a drop in bad cholesterol, while the control group did not.
This is great news for your heart. LDL cholesterol is a type of fat that can build up in your arteries and raise the risk for heart attack and stroke. But if you are taking a cholesterol-lowering drug, don’t add a grapefruit for extra effect—the FDA issued a warning in 2012 about interactions with such medications.
Grapefruit may help pump up your immune system
That’s because of the hefty dose of vitamins A and C in each serving. “Vitamin C and A are huge as far as immune boosting,” says Delbridge.
Some research indicates that not having enough vitamin C (and other micronutrients) may actually hurt your immune system, especially if you’re elderly. Grapefruit may not prevent a cold but the vitamins inside may reduce your suffering or possibly the duration of a cold. “There’s nothing else you can do for a cold so why not?” says Ann Marie Chiasson, MD, assistant director of the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson.
Grapefruit can lower triglyceride levels
There’s another reason grapefruit can be good for your heart: It reduces levels of triglycerides. Triglycerides are another type of fat—like “bad” LDL cholesterol—which can quickly clog up your arteries. The same study that found that adding one grapefruit a day lowered cholesterol levels also found that this simple daily regimen lowered triglycerides—by as much as 27%. This was in patients who already had coronary artery disease and so were at high risk for heart attacks and other complications. Red grapefruit, in particular, surpassed its “blond” cousins in lowering triglycerides.
Grapefruit can lower blood pressure
“Grapefruit has got some data that it decreases systolic blood pressure, not by a lot—it’s usually about five points—but there’s definitely good data,” says Chiasson.
For the 70 million Americans who have hypertension, any drop in blood pressure is a good drop. The effect on blood pressure may be due to grapefruit’s high potassium levels. Potassium neutralizes the negative effects of sodium. (Here are 15 Foods That Are High in Potassium.) But again, don’t eat grapefruit if you are already taking a blood-pressure-lowering drug. Certain ones, such as Nifediac and Afeditab (both are from the generic nifedipine), can be dangerous when combined with grapefruit, according to the FDA.
The color of the grapefruit matters
All the grapefruit colors are packed with goodness, vitamins, and nutrients but the red and pink ones come with a little extra.
“They have a higher antioxidant level, specifically beta carotene,” says Delbridge. “They also have lycopene, another antioxidant.”
Lycopene is one of a group of carotenoids or pigments that gives hued grapefruit (and other fruits and vegetables) their color. Eating diets rich in carotenoids may lower the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Antioxidants, in general, may play a key role in preventing cancer.
Grapefruit doesn’t mix with allergy medications
Grapefruits contain natural chemicals called furanocoumarin, which affect how your liver metabolizes certain drugs. The presence of these compounds means that if you consume grapefruit and certain allergy medications, such as Claritin (loratadine) or Allegra (fexofenadine), you could end up with higher-than-recommended levels of the drugs in your bloodstream.
“That can mean poisoning,” says Ally Dering-Anderson, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor of pharmacy at the University of Nebraska College of Pharmacy in Omaha.
Avoid grapefruit or its juice when taking these meds, or talk to your pharmacist about possible substitutes. Benadryl may be one, although it can make you sleepy.
Grapefruit may help control blood sugar
Grapefruit also has a low glycemic index (GI), around 25, which means it doesn’t raise blood sugar as quickly or as much as high-GI foods like white bagel (72) or even a banana (48) or watermelon (72). (The highest GI score is 100.)
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, found that people who ate grapefruit (juice or half a fruit) before a meal had a lower spike in insulin two hours later than those taking a placebo, and fresh grapefruit was associated with less insulin resistance. All 91 patients in the 12-week study were obese, but they did not necessarily have type 2 diabetes.
While the results are promising in those without diabetes, blood-sugar reactions to food can vary widely, so if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, test your blood sugar after eating grapefruit to make sure it can be part of your healthy eating plan.
Grapefruit juice is nice, but the fruit is better
Grapefruit juice has plenty of benefits, but the traditional fruit itself is going to give you more bang for your buck when it comes to nutrition and health benefits.
“When you take juice, you’re getting some of the nutrients but you’re losing all the fiber,” says Delbridge. “Grapefruit juice is great but at the end of the day, the entire fruit has pectin and rind and all the parts of it.”
Grapefruit juice can also spike your blood sugar more than the fruit itself. If you opt for juice of any kind, Delbridge recommends not drinking more than 6 ounces a day and going only for 100% juice products that don’t have added sugar.
Grapefruit may speed wound healing
Vitamin C helps form healthy scar tissue and new blood vessels, both of which help return your body to a healthy state. A grapefruit contains about 72 mg of vitamin C, which is 120% of the daily value.
“Vitamin C speeds up wound healing post surgically,” says Chiasson. “I tell people to take 500 milligrams of vitamin C before they go into surgery.”
Always ask your doctor before adding vitamins, minerals, or any herbal supplements to your daily regimen, especially if you’re about to have surgery. In this case, that goes for grapefruit too, given its ability to affect the metabolism of certain drugs.
Grapefruit may even help prevent cancer
A large study conducted in Japan found that people who ate citrus (including grapefruit) throughout the week had a lower risk of developing cancer, especially prostate and pancreatic, compared with the total group of participants. The effect was amplified among those who also drank a lot green tea. The authors speculate that compounds in citrus fruits reduce inflammation and stop cancer cells from multiplying. They may also help repair damaged DNA, which contributes to the development of tumors.
The fiber in grapefruit may also help prevent colorectal cancer while fruits high in vitamin C and beta-carotene, which is in pink and red grapefruit, may lower the risk of esophageal cancer.
Grapefruit are best at room temperature
Grapefruit can be stored in your fridge for as long as three weeks but they release their best flavor when kept at room temperature. If you plan to eat them within a week, leave them on a counter or table. There’s an added advantage to keeping them in plain view.
“The increased visibility helps you remind yourself that you need to eat them,” says Delbridge. “Studies show that when you put fruits and vegetables out in a bowl or common area of the house, you will eat more.”
If you don’t think you will eat the grapefruit for 2 or 3 weeks, tuck them in the fridge but make sure they’re at room temperature before you actually dig in. This will give you maximum flavor.
Grapefruit may be dangerous if you are taking an erectile dysfunction drug
Grapefruit also interacts with erectile dysfunction drugs. All of them. Such drugs include Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), and Levitra (vardenafil).
These drugs, known as the phosphodiesterase inhibitors, already feature a warning about possible prolonged erections, a painful, serious, and potentially damaging side effect known as priapism. Grapefruit could make that worse and it could also cause headaches, flushing, and low blood pressure. One whole grapefruit or a 6- to 7-ounce glass of juice is enough for drug toxicity, according to a 2013 study.
“With grapefruit, you increase the chance of having an emergency visit,” says Dering-Anderson. “My advice is, don’t take grapefruit.”
Grapefruit can be a pick-me-up
Citrus scents are becoming more popular in aromatherapy for a reason. “Citrus is really amazing for increased energy and vitality,” says Chiasson. “It will wake people up.”
Not all aromatherapy is inhaled. You can also rub an essential oil on your skin, which allows you to feel it and inhale it at the same time. Grapefruit aromatherapy may even act as a natural skin toner, says Chiasson.
While the options are endless, these are some popular grapefruit-themed products: NEST Fragrances Classic Candle in Grapefruit ($40, Amazon), Grapefruit Essential Oil ($15, Amazon), and Kiehl’s Grapefruit Bath and Body Wash ($25, Nordstrom).
You can make grapefruit your main course
Grapefruit is most often associated with breakfast, but don’t let that limit your imagination. Grapefruit is also super in salads and with fish or chicken. In fact, it’s best when paired with protein and a little fat, like a handful of walnuts.
“If it’s paired with proteins and fats, it will delay your gastric emptying so you’ll feel full longer,” says Delbridge. The fiber, too, keeps you feeling fuller longer.
We suggest trying this Kale, Grapefruit, and Hazlenut Salad, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad with Seared Salmon, or Honey Grapefruit with Banana. But you can keep it simple too, using grapefruit in a smoothie or drink. Try this Grapefruit Pomegranate Smoothie or Immune Booster drink.
Grapefruit doesn’t mix with some anti-anxiety, heart, and HIV drugs
There’s more to add to the list of possible drug interactions. Grapefruit also causes cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to build up in your blood stream. Common statin drugs are Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin). Other dangerous grapefruit combinations you should be aware of: the painkilling, narcotic-based, fentanyl patch, and HIV/AIDS drugs (such as Invirase).
And the anti-anxiety drug Xanax (alprazolam) is a big one. “Alprazolam is one that just jumps off the page,” says Dering-Anderson. Ask your pharmacist if there’s a problem and if there’s a safe alternative if you would like to be able to consume grapefruit.
Grapefruit can aggravate canker sores
If you have a canker sore or cold sore—or if you’ve had recent dental work—the acid in grapefruit or grapefruit juice can boost your pain level.
“Grapefruit is really acidic and it really does burn,” says Dering-Anderson. Citrus fruit can be one of the worst foods for your teeth, and can erode tooth enamel over time. But reducing the risk to your oral health could be as simple as rinsing the mouth with water, then brush and floss as you normally do.
Good dental hygiene such as brushing your teeth after meals and flossing once a day may also help prevent mouth sores.
Grapefruit may have more vitamin A than an orange
One-half of one grapefruit contains 28% of your daily value of vitamin A (based on a 2000-calorie daily intake), or far more than the 4% in oranges, says Delbridge. This first vitamin in the alphabet is good for your eyes, not to mention your heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs.
What’s more, you also get 64% of your vitamin C, 8% of your fiber, a bit of calcium (3%) and iron (1%), and you start to understand why it’s called a superfood. (For more comparisons, read 12 Foods That Have More Vitamin C Than an Orange.) Why eat a half a grapefruit when you can eat a whole one?
Grapefruit beer is a thing
And it’s not just the fruit or the juice that people love. There are a bevy of grapefruit flavored products—including grapefruit flavored beer—that might be more palatable to those who find the fruit itself to be too tart. Because citrus pairs well with beer, there are plenty of orange and lemon flavored beers, but grapefruit is the “latest and greatest” flavor to hit the brewing world, according to a 2016 article by Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine. A few examples include Pink Fuzz, Grapefruit Shandy, and Turtle Power Grapefruit Pale Ale.
Types Of Grapefruit
It may be dark and cold outside, but winter is grapefruit’s time to shine. There are several varieties to choose from–skin colors range from green to gold, and flesh may vary from yellow to crimson, with a full spectrum of flavors inside. Here’s a rundown on the types you’re most likely to find.
1. Oro Blanco
The “white gold” is a cross between a pomelo and a white grapefruit, with bright green to lemon yellow skin, a thick rind, and sweet flesh with almost no bitterness.
2. Red or Ruby
Supposedly, the redder the flesh, the sweeter the flavor, but we find red grapefruit to be the least complex tasting (and often plenty bitter). On the upside, that color comes from lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant.
The most palatable variety, with a mildly tangy sweetness (great for juicing), pink ones fall between red and white on both the color and sweetness spectrum.
It’s said that grapefruits are hybrids of pomelo and orange, so think of this as the granddaddy of them all. Pomelos are large, lime green or yellow, with mellow flesh and a bitter, thick pith that is fabulously easy to peel. The sections hold up well in salads.
With creamy yellow skin (no pink blush at all), this is the least sweet variety, and also a test kitchen favorite for its sweet-tart balance and intense, vibrant aroma.
Plant Compounds That Make It Special
Grapefruit Juice Ranked among Those Highest in Antioxidant Activity.
Naringenin: It helps repair damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells.
Naringin: It is polyphenolic compound found in citrus fruit inhibits tumor growth.
Lycopene: It protects skin from dangerous UV rays and also from prostate cancer.
Beta-carotene: It also protects from prostate cancer. Also, it is beneficial for complete eye health.
Lutein: Research found that Lutein protects from age-related macular degeneration(AMD) and cataracts.
Xanthin: It is a powerful antioxidant that protects from free radicals and other harm caused due to it.
Limonoids: It inhibits tumor growth. It has an anti-carcinogen property that protects from cancer. Also, it promotes optimal health by improving blood flow, heart health and much more.
Nutritional Value Of Grapefruit
Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 42
- Total Fat 0.1 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 0 mg
- Potassium 135 mg – 3% RDA
- Carbohydrate 11 g – 3% RDA
- Dietary fiber 1.6 g – 6% RDA
- Sugar 7 g
- Protein 0.8 g – 1% RDA
- Vitamin A 23% RDA
- Vitamin C 52% RDA
- Calcium 2% RDA
- Vitamin B-6 5% RDA
- Magnesium 2% RDA
It’s Low in Calories, Yet High in Nutrients
Grapefruit is an incredibly healthy food to include in your diet. That’s because it’s high in nutrients, but low in calories. In fact, it’s one of the lowest-calorie fruits. It provides a decent amount of fiber, in addition to more than 15 beneficial vitamins and minerals. Here are some of the major nutrients found in half of a medium-sized grapefruit:
- Calories: 52
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 64% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 28% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Thiamine: 4% of the RDI
Folate: 4% of the RDI
Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
Additionally, it is a rich source of some powerful antioxidant plant compounds, which are likely responsible for many of its health benefits.
Amazing Health Benefits of Grapefruit
1.Aids in Digestion
Grapefruit have water and fiber which help prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
2. Skin Care
Grapefruit contain vitamin C which is essential for collagen formation, which brings smoothness and elasticity to the skin. . They also contain water and vitamin A which helps hydrate the skin and is crucial for healthy-looking skin. The potassium present in the grapefruit helps to smooth wrinkles and age spots and provides a protective shield against UV rays.
3. Reduces Cancer Risk
Grapefruit is a rich source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C. These can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. Lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer in several studies. Naringenin helps to repair damaged DNA in prostate cancer cells. DNA repair and contributes to cancer prevention as it impedes the reproduction of cancer cells.
Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment that gives the red colour to the grapefruit. It is a powerful agent against tumours and cancer acting as a scavenger of cancer causing free radicals. Lycopene works best with Vitamin A and C and grapefruit contains both in regular amount.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
Grapefruit contains potassium which is a vasodilator which helps widen the arteries and reduce pressure on the arteries thereby lowering blood pressure.
5. Aids in weight loss
Grapefruit are low in calories and they have fiber which gives a full feeling therefore preventing snacking or over eating. They also have a higher water content which also provides a full feeling. Eating grapefruithelps lower insulin thereby instead of storing sugar and converting them to fats, it uses it as a fuel that leads to weight loss.
6. Improves Vision
Grapefruit has beta carotene that are necessary to keep the eyes healthy and improve the vision. The fruit also contains Vitamin A and flavonoid antioxidants such as naringenin and naringin and also lycopene, xanthin and lutein which are good for vision.
7. Heart Health
Grapefruits helps reduce cholestrol levels which can build up in the blood vessels thereby causing heart problems.
8. Acts as a Detox
Grapefruit contains antioxidants and phyto nutrients called limonoids that help to excrete toxic from the liver by making them more water soluble.
9. Boosts Immunity
The flavonoid content in grapefruits help the body to fight off infections and keep the body safe from illness and diseases.
10. Reduces the risk of kidney stones
Due to the high level of vitamin C grapefruit increase urinary pH and hasten the rate at which citric acid is secreted. This reduces the risk of calcium stones forming.
11. Suppress Appetite
Grapefruit works as an excellent appetite suppressant as compared to many other foods. It is said that smell of the grapefruit reduces the feeling of hunger, which is the reason why people often include grapefruits in their weight loss programs. The high amounts of fiber in these fruits can also satisfy hunger, help people avoid overeating, and stimulate cholecystokinin to be released, a hormone that regulates digestive juices and acts as a hunger suppressant.
12. Treat Influenza
Grapefruit is a valuable remedy for influenza since it helps minimize acidity in the system. The bitter properties arising from an essence called ‘naringin’ in grapefruits tone up the system and the digestive process. Naringin is also considered a flavonoid, which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants have antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory qualities, making them one of the most important lines of defense in the immune system, protecting against influenza as well as many other serious conditions.
13. Treat Malaria
The juice or grapefruit itself contains valuable and natural quinine, which is advantageous for the treatment of malaria. Quinine is an alkaloid with a long history of treating malaria, as well as lupus, arthritis, and nocturnal leg cramps. It is not an easy component to find in many foods, so grapefruits are a beneficial and rare example. The quinine can be easily extracted from the fruits by boiling a quarter of grapefruit and straining the pulp.
14. Cure Fever
The pulp or the juice of grapefruit helps patients recover quickly from fever, and it reduces the burning sensation that occurs when the body reaches a high temperature. It is also known as a way to boost the immune system against cold and other common illnesses. Grapefruit juice, when combined with water, can quench thirst very quickly and keep you hydrated for longer. Most of these benefits come from the high content of vitamin C in grapefruits, which acts as a general immune system defense system and can help the body in fighting the fever.
15. Reduce Fatigue
Grapefruits are beneficial in the treatment of fatigue as they can help you dispel your tiredness caused by routine or boring work. Drinking grapefruit juice can be a refreshing and delicious way to quickly boost your energy levels. Nootkatone is a very rare and important compound found within grapefruits and is probably its most valuable component in terms of extracting as an aromatic substance. Nootkatone improves energy metabolism in the body through AMPK activation. This results in higher endurance and boosted energy, increased weight loss, and a reduction in the chances of developing diabetes.
16. Promote Sleep
A glass of grapefruit juice, if consumed before going to bed, can promote healthy sleep and alleviate the irritating symptoms and repercussions of insomnia. This is due to the presence of tryptophan in grapefruits, the chemical we often associate with becoming sleepy after big meals. The levels of tryptophan in grapefruit juice enable us to nod off peacefully.
17. Control Diabetes
Diabetics can eat grapefruits as they can reduce the level of starch in the body. Intake of grapefruits can help them regulate the flow of sugar in their body, effectively handling the disease. Recent studies have shown this beneficial relationship between diabetes and grapefruits due to the flavonoid content of grapefruits, along with a number of other health benefits.
18. Reduce Acidity
Fresh grapefruit juice creates an alkaline condition in the intestines for proper digestion. The citric acid of the fruit is contained in the human body and thus it increases the efficiency of the alkalinity reaction after digestion. The juice extracted from grapefruits is beneficial in preventing acid formation and many other diseases that arise due to the presence of excess acidity in the body.
19. Eliminate Constipation
A glass full of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice in the morning is a great remedy to control constipation. The juice stimulates the colon and other parts of the body relating to the digestive system. This is due to the stimulating effect of fiber on the secretion and stimulation of gastric juices that ease the constriction of the digestive tract and induce a bowel movement.
20. Remove Flatulence
10 to 20 drops of grapefruit juice, taken before all three meals of the day, can work as an appropriate probiotic and digestive enzyme and will relieve excess flatulence and stomach discomfort. Further research needs to be done on the exact mechanism behind this phenomenon, but again, people believe it relates to flavonoid content in citrus fruits like grapefruits.
21. Treat Urinary Disorders
Grapefruit juice is quite rich in potassium and vitamin C, so it is one of the best treatments for issues related to urination often caused by liver, kidney or heart problems. Furthermore, its high potassium content works as a vasodilator, meaning that blood vessels and arteries relax, thereby reducing blood pressure and lessening the risk of heart attack and stroke. Also, increased levels of potassium have been associated with higher cognitive function because of increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain!
According to the American Heart Association, eating higher amounts of flavonoid may lower the risk of ischemic stroke for women. Flavonoids are compounds found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit. The risk of ischemic stroke was 19 percent lower for those who consumed the highest amounts of citrus than for women who consumed the lowest amounts.
Grapefruit consists of 91 percent water. This makes it one of the most hydrating fruits available. Grapefruit is also full of electrolytes and a great snack to have available to prevent dehydration.
24. Asthma prevention
The risk of developing asthma is lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is vitamin C, found in grapefruit.
25. Easy to Add to Your Diet
Grapefruit requires little-to-no preparation, so it’s fairly easy to add to your diet. Even if you live a busy, on-the-go lifestyle, you can still enjoy grapefruit on a regular basis without worrying about it taking up too much of your time. Here are some ways you can enjoy grapefruit:
- Snack on grapefruit slices alone.
- Eat it as an alternative to unhealthy dessert foods.
- Try this salad, which combines grapefruit with kale and avocado.
- Blend it into this smoothie with other fruits and veggies.
- Include it in a healthy breakfast parfait like in this recipe.
26. Get rid of dandruff
27. Remove buildup on hair
28. Lower cholesterol
29. Grapefruit May Help Prevent Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
Eating grapefruit regularly may have the potential to prevent insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes. Insulin resistance occurs when your cells stop responding to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates many processes in your body. For example, it’s involved in many aspects of your metabolism, but it’s most commonly known for its role in blood sugar control.
Insulin resistance ultimately leads to higher insulin and blood sugar levels, two primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Eating grapefruit may help control insulin levels and thus have the ability to reduce your likelihood of becoming insulin resistant.
In one study, subjects who ate half of a fresh grapefruit before meals experienced a significant reduction in both insulin levels and insulin resistance, compared to the group that didn’t eat grapefruit. Furthermore, eating fruit as a whole is generally associated with better blood sugar control and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
How to Select and Store Grapefruit
A good grapefruit doesn’t have to be perfect in color. Skin discoloration, scratches or scales may affect the appearance of a grapefruit, but they do not impact the taste or texture quality. Signs of decay include an overly soft spot at the stem end of the fruit and areas that appear water-soaked. These forms of decay usually translate into poor taste—a flavor that is less vibrant and more bitter than a good quality grapefruit.
The fruits should be heavy for their size as this usually indicates that they feature thin skins and therefore a higher concentration of juicier flesh. Those that have overly rough or wrinkled skin usually tend to be thick skinned and should be avoided.
Grapefruits should be firm, yet slightly springy when gentle pressure is applied. While chilled grapefruits do not have an apparent fragrance, those kept at room temperature should have a subtly sweet aroma. Grapefruits can be purchased throughout the year although the height of the season ranges from winter through early spring. For the most antioxidants, choose fully ripened grapefruit.
I encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and grapefruit is no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including grapefruit. If you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown grapefruit is very likely to be grapefruit that displays the USDA organic logo.
Since grapefruits are juicier when they’re slightly warm rather than cool, store them at room temperature if you are planning on consuming them within a week of purchase. If you will not be using them within this time period, store them in the refrigerator crisper where they will keep fresh for two to three weeks.
Tips for Preparing and Cooking Grapefruit
Grapefruits should be rinsed under cool water before consuming, even though you will probably not be eating the peel, since cutting into an unwashed fruit may transfer dirt or bacteria that may reside on the skin’s surface to the edible flesh.
Grapefruits are usually eaten fresh by slicing the fruit horizontally and scooping out sections of the halves with a spoon. To separate the flesh from the membrane you can either cut it with a sharp knife, a special curved-blade grapefruit knife, or a serrated grapefruit spoon. If there are seeds, you can remove them with your spoon before you eat the grapefruit.
Grapefruits can also be eaten like oranges. You can peel them with your hands or with a knife. If choosing the latter method, starting at the top, make a vertical incision that runs downward and then back up to the top on the other side and then repeat so that there will be four sections of similar size.
Be careful to only cut through skin and not into the membrane. The skin can then be peeled back with your hands or with the knife. The membranes can be separated, as you would do to an orange eaten in this manner. Another way to serve grapefruit is to peel and slice them.
Quick Serving Ideas For Grapefruit
- Grapefruit sections add a tangy spark to green salads.
- Instead of your morning glass of OJ, have a glass of grapefruit juice.
- Combine diced grapefruit with cilantro and chili peppers to make a unique salsa.
- To enjoy a salad with a tropical flair, combine chopped grapefruit pieces, cooked shrimp and avocadoes and serve on a bed of romaine lettuce.
How to Eat Grapefruits?
- Grapefruits are often peeled and eaten raw, just like oranges and sweet limes.
- While peeling, make sure that you retain as much as the albido or the white, fibrous matter just beneath the rind of the fruit.
- It is because the albido is the most nutritious part of the fruit and has highly beneficial properties as it is high in fiber and antioxidants.
- Alternatively, you could extract its juice. You should be careful with juice because that if it is left unconsumed or unrefrigerated for a long time, it might turn bitter.
- So consume it as quickly as possible. Grapefruit juice is best-served cold with a few chunks of ice.
- Some people also use it as a citrus agent in everyday cooking. It adds an extra zing and flavor to the dish being prepared.
Grapefruit Yogurt Cake
- 1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ⅓ cup grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed
- ¼ cup applesauce
- 1 Tbsp grapefruit zest
- 1½ cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Glaze: ¾ cup powdered sugar + 2 Tbsp grapefruit juice
- Combine the liquid ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the flour and baking powder and stir until just mixed.
- Pour into greased pan/pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
- Let cool completely.
- Combine the powdered sugar and grapefruit juice in a small bowl and drizzle over cake just before serving.
Salmon Kebobs with Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad
- 1 medium grapefruit
- 8 thin slices fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oilgin
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 small serrano or jalapeno chile, minced (with seeds for maximum heat)
- 2 scallions (both white and green parts), minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pound skinless, center-cut salmon, cut into 2-inch cubes
Special equipment: Wooden skewers, soaked
- Strip the peel from the grapefruit with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to include the bitter white pith. Warm the grapefruit peel, ginger, and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the oil starts to bubble, after about 2 minutes, remove from heat. Set the oil aside to steep for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the oil.
- Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in a bowl and drain. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with the water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Set aside off the heat, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork. Cool.
- Segment the grapefruit over a bowl, reserving the segments and juice separately. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice with the vinegar, honey, and salt to taste in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons of the reserved grapefruit oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a stream to make a slightly thick dressing. Season with pepper to taste.
- Toss quinoa with the dressing, chiles, scallions, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Preheat a stove-top or outdoor grill to high heat. Thread the salmon cubes onto the skewers. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon grapefruit oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill the skewers, turning as each side browns but the salmon is still moist, about 3 minutes.
- Toss the grapefruit segment into the salad, divide among 4 plates, and top with the salmon kebobs. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Grapefruit Is Not for Everyone
There are a few reasons why some people may need to avoid eating grapefruit.
For some people, consuming grapefruit and its juice may lead to medication interactions. This is because it contains substances that inhibit cytochrome P450, an enzyme your body uses to metabolize certain medications. If you eat grapefruit while taking these medications, your body may not be able to break them down, which could cause an overdose and other adverse effects.
The medications most likely to interact with grapefruit include:
- Most calcium channel blockers
- Some statins
If you are taking any of these medications, talk with your doctor before adding grapefruit to your diet.
Tooth Enamel Erosion
In some instances, eating grapefruit may lead to tooth enamel erosion. Citric acid, which is found in citrus fruits, is a common cause of enamel erosion, especially if you consume it in excess. If you have particularly sensitive teeth, you may need to avoid acidic fruits. However, there are some things you can do to preserve your tooth enamel while still enjoying grapefruit:
- Never suck on grapefruit or other acidic fruits and avoid putting them directly against your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water after eating the fruit and wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth.
- Eat cheese with the fruit. This helps neutralize the acidity in your mouth and increase saliva production.
Grapefruits Vs. Oranges
Food battles range from who makes the better slice of New York thin crust pizza to who has the hotter chicken wings. In the battle of oranges versus grapefruit, there are no real losers, as Harvard School of Public Health recommends people obtain nine servings or 4 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily. When deciding between the two fruits, very little determines why one should be eaten over the other. It may be best to enjoy both of them and the benefits each has to offer.
Food battles range from who makes the better slice of New York thin crust pizza to who has the hotter chicken wings. In the battle of oranges versus grapefruit, there are no real losers, as Harvard School of Public Health recommends people obtain nine servings or 4 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily. When deciding between the two fruits, very little determines why one should be eaten over the other. It may be best to enjoy both of them and the benefits each has to offer.
Both oranges and grapefruit are similarly matched in terms of being low calorie with zero fat, cholesterol or sodium. Eating a whole medium orange will provide 80 calories versus 60 calories when eating a half of a grapefruit. Oranges have overall higher carbohydrates, breaking down into more grams of sugar and fiber than grapefruit. Oranges provide more vitamin C, offering 130 percent of the daily needs as well as being higher in selenium and one of the B vitamins, thiamin. Oranges also have slightly more folate than grapefruits. On the other hand, grapefruits have significantly more vitamin A at 35 percent versus 2 percent and slightly more phosphorus, while still providing 100 percent of the daily dose of vitamin C.
Oranges are commonly eaten whole or juiced. The rind can be zested to add flavor to recipes, and the more sour varieties can be made into marmalades to help sweeten them. The blossoms from the orange tree are commonly used in teas and as decorative touches in some Asian countries. The peel can be used as a slug repellent for gardeners, and a special type of honey can be made by having bees in citrus groves during bloom. This honey is called orange blossom honey and picks up the flavor of oranges.
Grapefruits are often eaten halved with sugar or other sweeteners on top while the inside is cut away from the peel with a knife or a spoon. The juice is also popular as a breakfast beverage. When not eaten fresh, grapefruit is a popular fruit in canned fruit cup and fruit salad mixes. In a few countries such as Australia, grapefruit is enjoyed as a marmalade or jelly. The peel of the fruit can be candied and used as a source of pectin for preservation of other fruits. The peel oil is used to flavor many different sodas as well as enhance the flavor of other juices.
How To Grow Grapefruit
The grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) has come a long way. From its first recorded history in the West Indies during the mid 1700’s to propagation in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley during the early 1900’s, the grapefruit has become a fruit that can stand alone or be used as an ingredient in the kitchen. Grapefruit can be grown at home from seeds and planted outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Although fruit production can be more limited than that of commercially grown trees, growing a grapefruit tree from seed should produce fruit.
- Remove the seeds from a fresh grapefruit. Wash the seeds under running water and pat them dry with a towel.
- Fill a 4-inch pot three-fourths full with a rich potting mix that drains well.
- Press one grapefruit seed into the center of the pot. Push the seed into the soil so it is twice as deep as the seed is long. For example, if the seed is 1/4 inch long, plant the seed 1/2 inch deep.
- Water the newly planted seed until the soil is moist but not soggy. Cover the pot loosely with plastic wrap to create a greenhouse effect to keep the seed warm and encourage growth.
- Place the covered pot in a brightly lit, warm location with a consistent temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Monitor the progress of the plant, adding water as necessary to keep the soil moist. Watch for the seed to sprout and leaves to form.
Things You Will Need
- 4-inch pot
- Potting mix
- Plastic wrap
A south-facing window covered with sheer curtains provides sufficient light without exposing the seedling to direct sunlight, which may burn the plant.
Transplant the seedling to larger pots, such as 6-, 8- and 12-inch containers, as it grows so the roots will have plenty of room.
Under ideal conditions the grapefruit seedling may flower and produce fruit in six to seven years.
Grapefruit trees grown from seed are susceptible to foot and root rot caused by the Phytophthora pathogen.
Negative Effects Of Grapefruit
Grapefruit During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Pregnant women and nursing women must ensure that they are eating a healthy diet as their diet also affects the health of the baby that depends on them for the nutrition. There are certain fruits that must be avoided in pregnancy and grapefruit is one such fruit.Although grapefruit is very delicious and is loaded with a number of compounds like vitamins,minerals,antioxidants, flavonoids etc., but not much is known about the effect of eating grapefruit during pregnancy and breastfeeding stage.
So, for the sake of healthy pregnancy and nursing experience, it is better to stay on the safe side and say no to grapefruit during pregnancy and breastfeeding stage.
Increased Risk of Breast Cancer
Grapefruit is a good source of a number of antioxidants like vitamin C etc. which fights with the free radicals of our body, stabilizes them and thus prevents them from causing damage to our body. By stabilizing free radicals, they also reduce the risk of development of various types of cancers. However, it has been found that grapefruit is not so healthy for the postmenopausal women. It has been suggested by research that postmenopausal women who drink a quarter or more of grapefruit juice on a daily basis are at 25 to 30 % higher risk of developing breast cancer.
This risk associated with grapefruit is possible because of the ability of grapefruit juice to increase estrogen levels in our body ( by decreasing estrogen breakdown in our body.It is interesting to note that a 2008 study published in the “New York Times” have suggested that there is no link between the grapefruit intake and the increased breast cancer risk. Further researches are needed to know about the subject in detail. For a safe side, it is better to reduce the grapefruit consumption once you are in your postmenopausal stage.
Increased Risk of Hormone Sensitive Cancers & Conditions
Eating too many grapefruits is not good for our hormones as they might increase hormone levels in our body. The consequence of this can be very bad as it may increase the risk of hormone-sensitive conditions. It is suggested that women who are suffering from hormone-sensitive conditions or who are at a risk of hormone sensitive conditions should avoid grapefruit.
Regular and moderate consumption of grapefruit is very beneficial for our health because of the number of vitamins,minerals,antioxidants, flavonoids, dietary fibers etc. present in them. However, there are also some contradictions associated with grapefruit.
Because of these contradictions, it is better to eat grapefruit with caution, and in some cases, it is better to avoid grapefruit altogether. Like, patients suffering from major heart muscle disorders should avoid pink grapefruit as pink grapefruit may possess the ability to disturb normal heart beats. In the same way, consuming grapefruit on a regular basis can also increase or decrease blood levels of several drugs.
Interaction With Certain Medications
Grapefruit may interact with certain medications and inhibits their performance. However, such cases are very rare but for a safer side, it is better to limit grapefruit intake while you are on medication. Depending on the drugs and the way grapefruit interact with them, sometimes it is advisable to avoid grapefruit altogether ( while you are on medication).
Increased Risk of Pectin-Induced Asthma
Grapefruit may cause allergic reactions in some individuals, especially in individuals who are allergic to pectin. Such individuals should avoid eating grapefruit as it may also induce pectin-induced asthma.
Toxicity of Grapefruit Seed Extract
The delicious grapefruit which provides so many health benefits has been found to be nontoxic for human consumption. The D-limonene constituent present in grapefruit has been generally recognized as safe, but it has also been found that grapefruit seed extract is toxic to human skin.
Grapefruit Interaction With Statins
If you are dealing with high cholesterol and taking prescription drugs ( mainly statins ) for the same, then it is better to avoid consuming grapefruit. This is because grapefruit may interact with statins negatively and increases the risk of side effects. It has been found people over 65 years of age are at a higher risk of developing side effects from statins. Eating grapefruit while you are prescription drugs like statins further, increases this risk.
Some of the common side effects associated with statins are muscle breakdown, liver damage, digestive problems, increased blood sugar, neurological side effects, joint pain and muscular pain. As per FDA , muscle breakdown risk and liver damage risk is also associated with increased risk of kidney failure. Some of the common neurological side effects associated with statins are confusion, memory loss etc.
Regular and moderate consumption of grapefruit can be used as an effective and healthy way to lose weight. This is because of the low calorific value ( 42 calories per 100 grams of grapefruit) , dietary fibers and high water content present in them. The dietary fibers present in grapefruit make us feel fuller for a longer time and decreases our urge to eat again and again. By doing so, it controls overeating and thus helps in controlling obesity.
In addition to this, the high water content ( around 91 percent) of grapefruit also plays an important role in weight management. However, it should be noted that consuming too many grapefruits can have a negative effect on our weight loss regime and it can even lead to weight gain. This is mainly because of the high level of natural sugars in grapefruit, which promotes weight gain.
Side Effects of Eating Too Much Fiber
Grapefruit is very good for our stomach and plays an important role in keeping our digestive system healthy. It is a good source of dietary fibers which regulates bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of stool out of the body and thus provides relief from constipation. However, there are some side effects of high fiber intake. Some of the common side effects of consuming excessive dietary fibers are gas, bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea, dehydration, improper absorption of nutrients etc.
Grapefruit and its juice can cause numerous prescription drug interactions. Grapefruit blocks an intestinal enzyme needed to absorb certain medications, which can cause blood levels of the medication to rise to potentially dangerous levels. Eating too much grapefruit while taking prescription medication may thus cause adverse health effects. Depending on what type and dosage of medication you take, your doctor may discourage you from eating even small amounts of grapefruit. For example, consuming the fruit or juice of grapefruit is especially dangerous for people taking calcium channel blockers, as it could result in excessively low blood pressure and slow heartbeat. Other types of medications that may interact with grapefruit include statins, immunosuppressants, benzodiazepines, and other neurological and psychiatric medications.
Weight Gain and Gastrointestinal Effects
Although grapefruit is a healthful source of nutrition when consumed in moderation, it contains calories – about 100 per fruit, to be exact — so eating too much of it may contribute to weight gain. As grapefruit and other fruits are high in natural sugars, they are more promotive of weight gain compared to other healthful foods like vegetables. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend getting about two cups of fruit per day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet, and getting the rest of your daily produce intake from vegetables. Eating grapefruit is a more diet-friendly choice than drinking grapefruit juice because the whole fruit contains more fiber and less sugar. However, getting too much dietary fiber from high-fiber foods like grapefruit can cause gastrointestinal side effects including stomach cramps, gas and diarrhea.
Increased Risk of Breast Cancer
Some clinical research suggests a possible link between grapefruit consumption and a risk of breast cancer. In particular, a cohort study conducted by UCLA researchers and published in the “British Journal of Cancer” in 2007 concluded that grapefruit intake had an association with a significantly increased risk of breast cancer for post-menopausal subjects who ate one-quarter grapefruit or more per day, compared to non-consumers. Study researchers theorized that eating too much grapefruit might increase the risk of estrogen-dependent cancers like breast cancer. This is because grapefruit inhibits an enzyme involved in metabolizing estrogen. A 2008 “New York Times” article notes, however, that the evidence linking grapefruit intake to breast cancer is not conclusive and that other studies have concluded no link between the two.
If you take no medication that interacts with grapefruit, consuming grapefruit in moderate portions is likely safe and can help you get key nutrients that your body needs. Eating 1/2 grapefruit provides 2 g of dietary fiber and generous amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, potassium and lycopene – all for only 52 calories. It’s important to note that contrary to the claims of fads such as “The Grapefruit Diet,” grapefruit is not a special “fat-burning” food that will help you lose weight; in fact, there are no such foods. Diets that restrict or emphasize certain foods can also cause health problems and nutrient imbalances. If you really want to lose weight, you will have to reduce your total caloric intake, increase your level of physical activity, or both.
Grapefruit Can Worsen GERD Symptoms
It is estimated that as many as 40-percent of the population is affected by GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This condition is commonly associated with heartburn and indigestion. Research has established a link between this disease and excessive acid in people’s diets. Grapefruit contains large amount of citric acid.
For those who have GERD, eating grapefruit may result in an increase of symptoms, especially heartburn. Medication alone does not resolve symptoms. This is because when your stomach refluxes, a stomach enzyme called pepsin also increases and rises. Pepsin is not affected by anti-reflux medication. Therefore, if you have or are prone to GERD, you may need to minimize or eliminate grapefruit from your diet.
Grapefruit Can Reduce the Absorption of Certain Drugs
Grapefruit is a dietary staple for many. One fifth of Canadians consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice at breakfast, which also coincides with the time of day most medications are taken. What most people don’t realize is that grapefruit contains substances that interfere with the transport of certain drugs within the body. They do this by attaching to the receptor sites specific to these drugs thereby preventing the transportation of these drugs into the cells.
This results in significantly less of the drug being absorbed and minimizes or eliminates the drug’s effectiveness altogether. One of the drugs affected is fexofenadine (brand name Allegra). This drug is available both as a prescription and over the counter. It is a commonly prescribed for the relief of environmental allergies. In addition to grapefruit, other juices such as apple and orange may also decrease the effectiveness of this drug.
Grapefruit Negatively Interacts with Most Medications
Grapefruit interacts with more medications than any other known substance. At last count grapefruit was implicated in adverse reactions with 85 different drugs and that number continues to climb. Staggering the time between grapefruit or grapefruit juice consumption and medication consumption does not help.
Grapefruit stays in your system for upwards of 24-hours once ingested and for that entire time will interact with medications. People aged 45 and older buy the most grapefruit and the most medications. This number increases with age. Older adults have more medical problems than younger people leaving them even more vulnerable to the adverse effects of drug interactions with grapefruit.
Grapefruit Can Be Deadly
Of the 85 known drugs that grapefruit interacts negatively with, 43 can have serious adverse reactions. Side effects may include kidney failure, respiratory failure, gastro-intestinal bleeding, and sudden death. This is because grapefruit substantially increases the potency of most drugs. Pharmacologist, David Baily, estimates that “taking one tablet with a glass of grapefruit juice is like taking 20 tablets with a glass of water.”
This increased potency results in unintentionally high and toxic levels of a drug in a person’s bloodstream and can lead to complications resulting in death. Furanocoumarins such as bergamottin found in grapefruit juice is thought to be responsible this hazardous side effect. These compounds block the small intestine enzyme (CYP3A4) that assists in the metabolism and breaking down of medications.
Drugs that Interact with Grapefruit
Grapefruit can cause serious adverse reactions with cholesterol drugs (statins), anti-histamines, blood pressure drugs (calcium channel blockers), psychiatric medications, intestinal medications, immune suppressants, pain medications, Viagra, HIV medications, and cardiac medications to name a few. When taking any of these medications the best advice would be to exclude grapefruit or grapefruit juice from your diet and consult your pharmacist or family doctor to double check for negative interactions.