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Is Grapefruit Healthy? The Health Benefits Of Grapefruits Explained

Sliced grapefruits.

Breakfast! They say it’s the most important meal of the day! Breakfast can be nutritious, but sometimes it can be the most sugary fatty meal of the day.

Nonetheless every day billions of people around the world wake up and generally make themselves something to eat. Whether that be that a savory breakfast or even just a bowl of cereal, breakfast is personally my favorite meal. Breakfast as a mealtime seems to be a universal occurrence regardless of where you are in the world.

However, what people eat changes from individual to individual. Never before have our diets played such a crucial role in our day to day lives. “Should I eat this? Should I not eat that? How much of this should I eat and when should I eat it?”

It’s easy to see why so many people end up ditching their diets not long after starting! Simply sticking to one is such a challenge especially on top of the everyday stresses of life. So, in order to make it easier on ourselves, we need to find foods that work for us. We need food that is healthy enough to consume without ruining your calorie count.

Why Grapefruits?

Grapefruits are the answer to many questions we may have regarding the foods we eat. Besides being a low calorie, high energy, vitamin, nutrient, and mineral-packed natural wonder fruit, it has benefits that range much further than simply aiding you to fill up during the day when you’re feeling peckish.

Research in recent years has shown that the humble grapefruit can do more for us than many supplements or even medicines can – at least in terms of preventing the onset of disease and in some cases, even treating the ailment or disease fully.

While modern science tries to unlock more of the amazing capabilities of this fantastic fruit, we’ll dissect it in this article.  We will look into the many ways that you can use grapefruits on a daily basis to strengthen your body, boost your metabolism, get rid of infections and even help to treat your skin and hair among others. So keep reading to find out more!

Grapefruit Explained: Where Do They Originate From?

Grapefruits growing on tree.

Grapefruits Growing.

The grapefruit has quite a rich and exotic history and has long been known as the ‘forbidden fruit’ by many. The story of the grapefruit is as follows. The grapefruit itself is actually a hybrid fruit and was originally cultivated in Barbados. A certain ‘Captain Shaddock’ visited Barbados in 1693 and while there, he planted pomelo seeds which he brought from Indonesia.

It is thought that over time, the pomelo trees crossbred with Jamaican sweet oranges (originally a hybrid of Asian origin itself). The product of this cross-pollination or breeding was the grapefruit. However, it was only until 1750 that a Welsh historian discovered the fruit on a trip to Barbados and documented it – claiming that the grapefruit was one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Barbados’.

In 1823, the fruit was brought to America by a count known as Odet Philippe, however, the tree only saw commercial success towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. One of the most successful producers of grapefruit in America was a man known as Kimball Chase Atwood, a forerunner of John A. Macdonald – a farmer who also had success cultivating grapefruit in Florida.

How the Grapefruit Grew in Popularity

However, Atwood, who was based in Texas, had the largest and most successful operation in the country by the early 20th century with roughly 80 000 boxes of grapefruits being sold a year. He was also the first to discover the ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit – the result of a mutation that caused a very sweet, deep red in color variety of grapefruit to start growing.

Because people favored the taste of this now sweeter grapefruit, it was cultivated en masse shortly afterward and has since gone on to become a symbolic fruit of Texas as well as a much-loved food source by many.

In more recent years, manufacturers have taken to radiating grapefruits in small amounts to encourage mutations, resulting in pink grapefruits with richer colors and sweeter tastes. However, little is known about the health hazards associated with this process – so I’d recommend sticking to organic or naturally grown grapefruit for now.

Grapefruit for Weight Loss Explained

Grapefruits with tops sliced off.

Grapefruit Explained.

If you’re trying to lose weight, then you’ll know how much of a hassle the process can be – and it is a process. These days, there are so many fad diets around, that it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the options of what you can, can’t, should or shouldn’t be eating. And when you become overwhelmed, you stress and become depressed.  You may slip back into the negative eating cycle you’re so desperate to get out of.

Unfortunately, there are no “10 days to lose 10 pounds” diets out there that are actually valid or healthy for that matter. Your body cannot handle excessive weight loss on one hand, and on the other, you’re probably likely to regain most of that weight in a short span of time.

Weight loss should be looked at from a more holistic perspective. It’s always better to lose weight at a slower and more consistent pace rather than trying to burn fat fast.

Say YES to a healthy lifestyle and NO to Fad Diets

Because of this, I would always recommend that you try to find a diet which you can stick to for a long time – even a lifetime. You’ll find that your body adjusts better to weight loss over a longer period of time than it does with regards to short, dramatic bursts of weight loss.

With regards to grapefruits and their effectiveness in terms of dieting and weight loss, there are a few points that I think need to be cleared up. Firstly, eating grapefruits alone won’t help you burn fat. Grapefruits should be a part of a healthy, nutritious diet in order for them to be most effective.

That being said, they make ideal snacks for weight watchers because they are low in calories. They will also give you a boost of energy, minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that your body needs.  In addition, it helps to clear out your digestive system due to their high fiber content. This will help you process food waste better, ultimately allowing you to get rid of excess weight and toxins more effectively.

I would recommend having grapefruit for breakfast and lunchtime if you’re watching your weight as they’re a great way to keep you feeling full, boost your metabolism, lift your spirits and give you an energy push for that final haul.

I would also recommend sticking to the whole fruit, rather than the juice simply because the fruits contain larger amounts of vitamins and nutrients, but will have less sugar (artificial or fructose) than fruit juice blends and are more effective at filling us up.

Grapefruit for Reducing Stroke Risk Explained

Close up of woman eating grapefruit slice.

Eating Grapefruit.

Every year roughly 795,000 people in the US alone suffer from strokes – many of which will be fatal. Facing this staggering amount is enough of a challenge on its own, but trying to find a way to curb this number has proven to be even more of a challenge for scientists and researchers thus far.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough evidence to categorically claim that grapefruits or citrus fruits, in general, can cure or prevent the onset of a stroke.

However, there is evidence that this may be an important factor in terms of keeping your body in a state that is less conducive or prone to strokes – but more specifically, ischaemic strokes which start due to blood clots that become loose and get stuck in our brains.

The key to the grapefruits success in this area lies in its ability to provide the body with a rich amount of bio-flavonoids – but what are they?

Flavonoids are essentially phytochemicals that are produced by a wide variety of plants, fruits, and vegetables and work as antioxidants to help keep our body clear of toxins that may cause internal inflammation and blood clotting.

So by eating at least 1 grapefruit a day, an orange and some grapes every-day as well as at least 2 different servings of vegetables a day, you can effectively reduce your chances of developing a stroke later in life by around 18% on average.

If you stick to a diet for a long time, you will feel more prepared for the challenges that come with aging or surprises such as strokes.

Grapefruit for Blood Pressure and Heart Health Explained

Woman eating half a grapefruit.

Grapefruits For Heart Health.

Most forms of heart disease can connect to, among other factors, your cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is known as the ‘silent killer’.  It is hard to tell how silent it is when you look at how many people are overweight these days.  Everything we shouldn’t be eating we eat in bulk and everything we should be eating, we avoid like children.

Cholesterol is a bit of balancing act in its own right. There are two types of cholesterol that occur in our body’s namely High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL – good cholesterol) and Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL – the bad cholesterol). In order for us to remain healthy, both of these must be balanced with one another.

It is said that around 70 million Americans suffer from hypertension which is a pretty serious disorder that often results in high blood pressure. Constant high blood pressure can have negative effects.  Besides keeping in contact with your doctor, one should make sure their diet does not worsen their high blood pressure.  Try adding grapefruits to your diet to help with high blood pressure!

Grapefruits can lower blood pressure due to their rich amount of potassium. The potassium helps to neutralize the salt that is in our body. Our kidneys work to extract excess liquids out of our blood.  This is done by filtering our blood through walls lined with potassium and sodium.

When we eat too much sodium we ruin this balance and our blood pressure remains high because it is unfiltered. By balancing out the sodium levels in your kidney, you can filter blood more effectively.  In the longrun, this will help to lower your blood pressure levels.

Free Radicals

Basically, we generate and ingest free radicals into our system every-day. These are oxygenated molecules that are essentially missing an electron.

This missing electron causes them to find suitable compounds from which it may ‘steal’ an electron to complete itself. Should that compound be fat or protein found in an LDL compound, fatty lesions in blood vessels will form.

This can easily lead to the formation of a blood clot and ultimately result in a heart attack. On the other hand, it may also cause one to experience low blood pressure. But low blood pressure is the least of your worries!

Grapefruits for Cancer Risk Explained

The best way to beat cancer is to avoid it as much as you can. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option and sometimes it just hits you out of the blue.

While cancer is very serious, there are many things you can do to help prevent it early on. In some cases, diet can even ASSIST in the cure of cancer.

Research has shown that people who tend to eat at least 5-6 helpings of whole fruits and vegetables have a much less chance of developing cancer in the first place. So I’d recommend that you try to eat clean, healthy foods to help avoid the disease altogether.

However, once you’re trying to fight cancer, remember the food we eat can help us combat this horrible disease. Grapefruits are particularly well-versed in this field. Due to their rich amount of antioxidants, they have become synonymous with the idea of food as a medicine.

Antioxidants Explained

These antioxidants help to protect DNA cells (most at risk of cancer) by entrapping free radicals and flushing them out of our body. This will reduce levels of inflammation and make it easier for vitamins and minerals to heal your body.

By eating citrus fruits or fruits and vegetables that contain lots of flavonoids, you can effectively boost your body’s overall immune system and get rid of the free radicals and toxins that worsen your health – especially important if you’re battling with cancer.

Research shows that in comparison to meat-eaters, people who practice veganism stand higher chances of avoiding early stages of cancer.  Cancer is thought to be caused significantly by the food we eat.  For this reason, it makes sense that, in turn, help to cure it as well.

Grapefruit for Hydration

Glass of grapefruit juice with slice grapefruit leaning on it.

Grapefruits For Hydration.

Grapefruits are well-known as being the fruits with the highest water content per serving. This makes them really helpful for keeping your body and skin hydrated over the course of the day.

Besides delivering much-needed moisture to various parts of your body, the water content in grapefruits is great for transporting the much-needed vitamins, nutrients, and minerals around your body more efficiently.

This means you’ll feel the benefits that the fruit can provide quicker and more effectively. It’s easy to see why sailors used to refer to grapefruit as ‘the forbidden fruit’. Probably because they’d want to save them for their voyages for all that natural juice!

Grapefruit Oil

When it comes to treating your skin or hair with grapefruit, I would recommend using the essential oil instead. The essential oil of grapefruits is a concentrated liquid form of all the phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins that are contained within the fruit, it’s just a lot easier to use on your skin or hair and a lot more effective as well.

The oil helps to penetrate deeply into the layers of your skin.  This breaks down the fat cells that gather to form cellulite and helps to smooth the skin.  Ultimately, this stimulates cell regeneration and remove cellulite, thus tackling the issue from the inside.

Oil is also important for a variety of other skin related issues, such as healing wounds and keeps them clean. The oil acts as a natural antimicrobial agent, which means that it helps to kill off and remove bacteria that can lead to further infection which makes it great for treating acne-prone skin.

Grapefruit oil can also be used as a natural skin toner!  It helps to balance your skin’s natural oil levels which is great for people with oily or combination skin types. Excess sebum oil generally leads to clogged pores, so getting rid of it is important for maintaining a healthy complexion. Apply the oil to a cotton swab and wipe your face with it after your normal facial routine.  After a few uses, your skin will feel cleaner and fresher in no time.

Grapefruit effect on Scalp

Grapefruit essential oil is particularly good for treating your hair! The antioxidants in the oil help to clear your scalp of any free-radical molecules that generally lead to cell damage. If left untreated, it may cause your hairs to die from the inside.

The oil gets rid of any dryness that may lead to dandruff and will keep your hairs moisturized.

Besides that, the oil will also penetrate the surface layer of your scalp and lead to increased blood circulation, meaning that more nutrients will reach your hair thus stimulating hair growth and stronger hair follicles in general.

Finally, one of the key chemical compounds in Grapefruit oil is D-Limonene which helps to reduce the formation of a chemical known as 5 Alpha-reductase.

Conclusion

It’s easy to see why grapefruits are such a popular delicacy around the world. Besides their delicious taste and texture, they’re also packed with water.  This makes them filling even though they are low in calories.

We can use them daily to help with high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, strokes, heart disease, and even cancer. I think that puts the grapefruit in a class of its own. Who knows, perhaps in future doctors will be recommending them to patients? One thing we do know is that the grapefruit will most certainly be there for us again in the future.

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