Grapefruit, a member of citrus family, is often considered as “fruit of paradise” because it has so many health benefits. When talking about citrus fruits, we usually think about oranges and lemons. Indeed, oranges and lemons have many health benefits. But there is another species of citrus which is more common in subtropical countries, the grapefruit. Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) is a subtropical citrus species which is very well-known for its sour-sweet flavour.
Grapefruit was unintended hybrid of 2 species of citrus, mandarin (Citrus sinensis) and pomelo (Citrus maxima) in Barbados. When it was found for the first time, the fruit was considered “forbidden fruit”. For long time, grapefruit was considered a variant of pomelo. Click here to know more about health benefits of citrus fruits. And click here to see health benefits of oranges.
There are many ways of consuming grapefruits. We can eat it just like any other citrus fruits, add it in salads, toast it to caramelize the natural sugar contained in the fruit, or make it into juice. In this article, I will explain the health benefits of unsweetened grapefruit juice. Unsweetened grapefruit juice has more health benefits than sweetened one, as adding too much sugar intake can lead to obesity, prolonged infection, and increasing risks of degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
Nutritional Facts of Grapefruit Juice
Grapefruit is very delicious and refreshing. It also contains plenty of Vitamin C (a strong antioxidant), vitamin A, Vitamin Bs, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and flavonoids. We can see the exact amounts of nutritional substances of 1 cup (250 mL) of unsweetened grapefruit juice in the table below. Click here to see vitamin C benefits and vitamin A benefits.
|Amount per Serving (1 cup)||% Daily Value (based on 2000 Kkal)|
|Vitamin A||1087 IU||22%|
|Vitamin C||83,9 mg||155%|
|Vitamin B6||0,1 mg||5%|
Health Benefits of Grapefruit Juice
With the nutritional values we already saw above, no wonder there are so many health benefits of unsweetened grapefruit juice. Unsweetened grapefruit juice also gives beauty benefits.
1. Stabilize Blood Sugar
American Diabetes Association recommends consuming unsweetened grapefruit juice for diabetic patients, especially for type 2 diabetes. Unsweetened grapefruit juice has low glycemic index, thus maintaining normal blood sugar level.
A Flavonoid substance called naringenin in grapefruit can promote sensitivity towards insulin and helps maintaining ideal body weight. So, people with diabetes should consume plenty of unsweetened grapefruit juice as part of their daily diet. Click here to see types of diabetes.
2. Fights Cancers
Unsweetened grapefruit juice helps reducing risks of stomach, intestines, urinary bladder, breasts and nasopharyngeal cancers. Unsweetened grapefruit juice, especially the fresh one, is high in antioxidants. As we all know, antioxidants fight free radicals, dangerous substances responsible for cell-impairments and deadly degenerative diseases like cancers. Click here to see the symptoms of colon cancer.
A study in 2006 published in Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that grapefruit helps repair DNA impairments in human prostate-cancer cells. Naringenin helps repairing DNA in the cancer cells and protect our body from cancers.
3. Prevents Kidney Stones and Maintains Kidney Health
By drinking unsweetened grapefruit juice everyday, we can reduce the risk of getting calcium-oxalic kidney stones. High level of citric acid in grapefruit juice prevents stone forming and even helps crush the already-formed small stones.
A study in 2003 published in British Journal of Nutrition found that a woman who drinks 0,5 to 1 liter of unsweetened grapefruit, apple or orange juice everyday have higher urine acidity, which means reducing the risks of forming calcium-oxalic stones. See the symptoms of kidney stones here.
Not only preventing kidney stones, unsweetened grapefruit juice is good for overall kidney health. The naringenin has anti-inflammatory and hypolipidemic effects. These effects help repair inflamed kidney cells, maintain normal blood pressure and blood sugar, thus promoting more healthy kidneys.
4. Promotes Healthy Heart
As unsweetened grapefruit juice is very high in vitamin C, it is very good for maintaining healthy heart. A study in 2015 published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who eat much fruits and vegetables have 15% lower risk of getting heart disease. Those who have highest level of vitamin C in their blood plasma, have much lower risk of heart disease.
5. Prevents Hipertension
Unsweetened grapefruit juice also has health benefit of preventing hypertension, a condition when our blood pressure is more than 140 mmHg. You can see symptoms of high blood pressure here.
Grapefruit juice is high in potassium, which acts as vasodilator. Vasodilator works by relaxing blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure, and reducing the risks of heart attack and stroke. See symptoms of heart attack in women here.
6. Prevents Stroke
A study in 2012 published in Journal of American Heart Association reported that consuming a lot of citrus fruits, especially oranges and grapefruits, can reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. Moreover, women who add grapefruits in their diet has 19% lower risk of getting ischemic stroke than those who only consume little bit of citrus.
7. Reduces LDL and Triglycerides
Unsweetened grapefruit juice also has health benefits of reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.
According to a study in 2006, drinking unsweetened juice of 1 grapefruit everyday has a health benefit of reducing LDL level up to 15,5% and triglycerides up to 27%. The solluble fibers and flavonoids contained in grapefruit juice prevents bad cholesterol absorption in our intestines, thus promotes healthier cardiovascular system.
Beauty Benefits of Grapefruit Juice
8. Helps in Reducing Body Weight
Naturally packed with vitamin C, fibers and water, unsweetened grapefruit juice has health benefit of reducing body weight. The high vitamin C increases body metabolism system and controls fat metabolism, thus helps in burning fat. The high fiber and water in grapefruit juice help reducing appetite and food cravings. This fruit is also known to prevent excessive absorption of starch and sugar in our intestines.
A study in 2011 reported that consuming fresh grapefruit before a meal, both as fruits or unsweetened juice, has health benefits of being effective diet strategy for adult people with obesity. Click here to find out health risks of obesity.
9. Promotes Healthy Skin
Unsweetened grapefruit juice has health benefit of promoting healthy skin, due to its high level of vitamin C and flavonoids which act as antioxidants. Vitamin C is very important in collagen production, which helps maintaining skin youth and elasticity.
Antioxidants also help in combatting early aging caused by free radicals. Mild acid in grapefruit juice helps in fading dark spots on the skin caused by excessive pigment production. Potassium in grapefruit juice also protects skin from dangerous UV lights, which means reducing early aging symptoms such as wrinkles and dark spots.
Recommendation Intake of Grapefruit Juice
- To get health benefits of unsweetened grapefruit juice for the skin, there are 2 ways:
- Drink unsweetened grapefruit juice everyday regularly to enjoy healthy skin
- For exfoliating face mask, we can use fresh unsweetened juice of 1/2 grapefruit, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1/2 cup oatmeal. Mix them well, and dab it onto the face. Let it dry, then scrub it gently on the face with wet hands. Use this mask once a week.
Seeing the health benefits of unsweetened grapefruit juice above, we should try to consume grapefruits everyday. The best season is during summer and autumn.
Be careful if you use anti-hyperlipidemia (statin) or anti-hypertension (calcium channel blockers) drugs, since consuming grapefruit juice is known to disturb absorption of these drugs. If you are consuming any drugs, please consult your doctor, if it is okay to drink unsweetened grapefruit juice.