Properties and Benefits of Grapefruit: A hybrid between the sweet orange and the pomelo, grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) is a refreshing and delicious citrus fruit, rich in potent phytochemicals such as lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin A. In addition to preventing retina damage, the grapefruit can lower cholesterol levels and protect against free radical damage. Even more, a regular consumption of the fruit is believed to prevent the development of prostate cancer.
A few slices of grapefruit or a glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice can be a wonderful start to an amazing day unless, of course, you have stomach problems such as gastritis and feel better avoiding acidic foods such as citrus fruit. Grapefruit are a hybrid between sweet oranges and pomelo, and a truly beautiful citrus fruit. They are usually the size of an extra-large orange.
When ripening, they slowly change their rind color from green to a beautiful orange-yellow color. Depending on the variety, grapefruit pulp may vary in color from white and pink to gorgeous red hues. If the bitter varieties are not to your liking, you can always choose sweeter, red-fleshed grapefruit.
But remember: grapefruit are citrus fruit which means theyare highly acidic and may disturb a very sensible stomach. Grapefruit are very similar to oranges in the sense that the fruit contains a hard, inedible rind, covered on the inside by a (thin) layer of pith. Also, the pulp is divided into small segments, very similar to an orange.
Most grapefruit varieties now present on the market are seedless, however, grapefruit with seeds still exist. Why am I telling you this? Because grapefruit seeds extract is believed to have potent antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Although the mechanism has not been fully understood yet, it appears that grapefruit seeds extract stimulates the immune system by making it respond better and quicker to bacterial and viral infections.
Normally, one regular-sized grapefruit can have up to a few dozen small, white seeds. Grapefruit seeds, juice-free pulp and pith are all crushed and mixed together alongside glycerin and other preservatives to form grapefruit seeds extract, which is believed to possess antimicrobial properties. However, studies suggest that its antimicrobial properties are not relevant unless the extract is mixed with special preservative substances.
However, the fruit itself is a great mix of vitamins, minerals and other amazing phytochemicals. For instance, pink and red-fleshed grapefruit contain lycopene, a bright red pigment also found in watermelons and tomatoes. Lycopene boasts an incredible antioxidant activity, offering protection against free radical damage. Also, lycopene is believed to protect the skin from damage caused by UVA/UVB rays and prevent prostate cancer.
In addition to this, grapefruit juice contains naringenin and naringinin, two important flavonoids. Naringenin is a flavonoid with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Naringenin reduces DNA damage caused by free radicals by 24%, and boasts antiviral effects. Naringinin found in all citrus fruits and is responsible for the bitter taste of grapefruit. In vitro and animal studies suggest naringinin reduces oxidative stress and angiogenesis risks.
Both naringenin and naringinin are found in generous amounts in grapefruit juice. However, despite the health benefits they promise, you should be aware of the fact that these substances may interfere with certain medication. It is thus extremely important to consult with your doctor if you are under medication and plan to keep drinking grapefruit juice because the effects may have serious consequences on your health, depending on the type of pharmaceuticals you are being prescribed.
Aside from this, grapefruit remain a healthy addition to our diet, provided they are to our liking. The fruit contains small amounts of other vitamins and minerals, notably vitamins C and A, copper, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. This means grapefruit can help strengthen the immune system thanks to its vitamin C content and ensure a healthy vision due to its vitamin A content.
Grapefruit lovers will know just how refreshing a glass of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice is on a hot, summer day. It can also make a great breakfast treat or dessert, as well as a delicious jam. Last but not least, grapefruit contains pectin, a fiber capable of reducing cholesterol levels in the blood as well as a great remedy against both constipation and diarrhea.