Are Grapefruits Healthy? The Health Benefits Of Grapefruits Explained
Breakfast! They say it’s the most important meal of the day! I’m inclined to differ on that as I think we should eat only when our body ‘wants’ to eat, rather than when the clock says we should.
Nonetheless every day billions of people around the world wake up and generally make themselves something to eat. Whether that be that a savoury breakfast, a fruit salad, pastry or even just a bowl of cereal and some toast. 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 and what we eat 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 that?
Honestly, it’s easy to see why so many people wind up giving up on their diets not long after starting! Simply sticking to one is such a challenge (on top of the everyday stresses of life). So in order to make it easier on ourselves, we need to start finding foods that agree with our bodies. That are healthy enough to eat on a regular basis without spoiling our calorie count.
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 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 and look into the many ways that you can use the grapefruit on a daily basis to help strengthen your body, boost your metabolism, get rid of infections or diseases 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?
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.
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 colour variety of grapefruit to start growing.
Because people favoured the taste of this now sweeter grapefruit, it was cultivated en masse shortly afterwards 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 colours 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
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 we you become overwhelmed, you stress and become depressed and slip back into the negative eating cycle you’re so desperate to get out of.
Frankly, there are no “10 days 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 hand, you’re probably likely to regain most of that weight in short space 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.
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 combined with a balanced 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, will give you a large boost of energy, minerals, nutrients and vitamins that your body needs (especially when dieting) as well as helping to clear out your digestive system due to their high fibre 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 a 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
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 some 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 are caused by 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.
The longer you stick to the diet, the healthier you will feel and the more prepared your body will be to tackle the challenges that are so often associated with ageing or surprises such as strokes.
Grapefruit for Blood Pressure and Heart Health Explained
It is a well-known fact that most forms of heart disease can be linked to, among other factors, your cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is known as the ‘silent killer’ but in many cases, I don’t know how silent it is when you look at how many people are overweight these days due to the kind of foods we eat on a regular basis. Everything we shouldn’t be eating we eat in bulk and everything we should be eating, we avoid like children who are picky eaters.
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 – too much good is bad and too much bad is obviously bad.
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 in order to complete itself. However, should that compound be the fat or protein found in an LDL compound, it causes the formation of fatty lesions in the blood vessels.
This can easily lead to a 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!
It is said that around 70 million Americans suffer from hypertension which is a pretty serious disorder that often results in high blood pressure. Continued high blood pressure can have compounded negative effects on your health and should always be addressed as quickly as possible.
Grapefruits are said to help lower blood pressure due to the rich amount of potassium that can be found in them. The potassium helps to neutralize the salt that is in our body. Our kidneys work to extract excess liquids out of our blood 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 and in turn, lower your blood pressure levels.
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 a very serious disease and you should always be in touch with a medical professional when dealing with this disease, there are a lot of things you can do before the diagnosis and after diagnosis to help you treat the disease and in some cases even cure it without the use of harmful radiation therapy.
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 and stick to this as often as possible as a good way to avoid the disease altogether.
However, once you’re trying to deal with cancer, there are a lot of things that our food can do to help us combat this horrible disease and grapefruits are particularly well-versed in this field. Due to the rich and varied amount of antioxidants that can be found in grapefruit they have become synonymous with holistic healing and the idea of food as a medicine.
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 ultimately reduce the levels of inflammation that occur within our bodies, making it easier for nutrients, minerals and vitamins to get where they need to in order 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 has shown that people who switch to a vegan or vegetarian whole-food diet stand much higher chances of beating cancer in its early stages, rather than those who eat meat, sweets and processed foods despite having cancer! Roughly 35% of cancer is thought to be caused by food – so it stands to reason that food can in turn, help to cure it as well.
Grapefruit for Hydration
Grapefruits are well-known as being the fruits with the highest water content per serving which 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 that you’ll feel the benefits that the fruit can provide for your body a lot quicker and they’re more effective at healing. 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 for Skin and Hair Explained
When it comes to treating your skin or hair with grapefruit, I would recommend using the essential oil instead. The essential oil of grapefruits are 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 and break down the fat cells that gather to form the cellulite as well as helping to smooth and nourish the skin helping to stimulate cell regeneration and ultimately helping to remove the folds that we know as cellulite, thus tackling the issue from the inside.
However, the oil can also be used for a variety of other skin related issues, such as helping to heal wounds and keep them disinfected. 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, as 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. Simply apply the oil to a cotton swab and wipe your face with it after your normal facial routine and your skin will feel cleaner and fresher in no time.
Grapefruit essential oil is particularly good for treating your hair, as the natural antioxidants in the oil help to clear your scalp of any free-radical molecules that generally lead to cell damage if left untreated, and cause your hairs to die from the inside.
The oil also helps to treat your scalp of any dryness or inflammation that may lead to dandruff and keep your hairs moisturized thus treating dandruff from the root cause (pun-intended).
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.
It’s easy to see why grapefruits are such a popular delicacy around the world. Why they’re enjoyed by so many every-day! Besides having a really delicious taste and texture, they’re also packed with water and are really filling (yet low in calories). Grapefruits are also incredibly healthy for us.
We can use them in our daily diets to help treat everything from high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, to 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? Only time can tell, but one thing we do know is that the grapefruit will most certainly be there for us again in the future.