Health benefits of grapefruit
Ali Muhammad Khushk & Nusrat Laghari
Grapefruit occupies a
high place among the citrus family because of its
flavour, appetizing properties and refreshing qualities.
fruit is nutritive and refrigerant and possesses very
much the same properties as orange, lemon and lime. The
seedless variety is the best as it often contains
greater amount of sugar, calcium and phosphorus. The
nutritional value of the fruit varies with colour
(white, pink, or red).
Red and pink grapefruits have a higher amount of vitamin
A. It also has 325mg of potassium, 25mcg (micrograms) of
folate, 40mg of calcium, and one mg of iron. Pink and
red are high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that the
body converts to vitamin A.
Grapefruit peel is candied and is an important source of
pectin for the preservation of other fruits. The peel
oil, expressed or distilled, is commonly employed in
Grapefruit seed oil is dark and exceedingly bitter but,
bleached and refined, it is pale-yellow, bland, and like
olive oil in flavour.
Grapefruit is an excellent appetizer as it promotes
salivary and gastric digestion. It is an important
health-builder and a tonic.
In spite of its sharp, sub-acid taste, the fresh
grapefruit has an alkaline reaction after digestion. The
citric acid of the fruit is oxidized in the human system
and hence the effect is to increase the alkalinity of
the fluids of the body. Its juice is beneficial in the
prevention and treatment of acidity and many diseases
caused by too much acid in the system.
The fruit is valuable in relieving constipation. The
pulp, when wholly taken, supplies healthy bulk to aid
bowel action. It is beneficial in maintaining the health
of intestines and is regarded as a preventive food item
against dysentery, diarrhoea, enteritis, typhus and
other infective diseases of the digestive tract.
According to an expert, “grapefruit is a super thing in
the food of diabetic patient. If grapefruits were eaten
more liberally, there would be much less diabetes. A
diabetic patient can use three grapefruits three times a
day. A non-diabetic but with a tendency should use three
fruits a day.
The juice of grapefruit is an excellent remedy for
influenza as it helps in reducing the acidity in system
and its bitter properties arising from a substance
called ‘Marin gin, tones the system up. It quenches
thirst and removes the burning sensation of fever.
It contains natural ‘quinine’ and hence is valuable in
the treatment of malaria. This ‘quinine’ is also
beneficial in feverish colds. It can be extracted from
fruits by boiling a quarter of a grapefruit and
straining the pulp. It is beneficial in the treatment of
fatigue. Taking a glass of grapefruit and lemon juice in
equal parts is an excellent way of dispelling fatigue
and general tiredness after a day’s work.
Grapefruit stimulates the appetite and is used for
digestive, stomachic, antiseptic, tonic, and diuretic
qualities. Over the years a number of people have
promoted the grapefruit as possessing a unique ability
to burn away fat. People following grapefruit diets lose
Grapefruit is high in pectin, a soluble fibre that helps
lower blood cholesterol. Pink and red grapefruits are
high in lycopene, an antioxidant that appears to lower
the risk of prostate cancer.
Researchers have not yet identified lycogen’s mechanism
of action, but a six-year Harvard study involving 48,000
doctors and other health professionals has linked 10
servings of lycopene-rich foods a week with a 50 per
cent reduction in prostate cancer.
Other protective plant chemicals found in grapefruits
include phenolic acid, which inhibits the formation of
cancer-causing nitrosamines; limonoids, terpenes, and
monoterpenes, which induce the production of enzymes
that help, prevent cancer; and bioflavonoid, which
inhibit the action of hormones that promote tumour
Some people with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other
inflammatory disorders find that eating grapefruit daily
seems to alleviate their symptoms. This is thought to
stem from plant chemicals that block Prostaglandins,
substances that cause inflammation.
People who are allergic to citrus fruits are likely to
react to grapefruits, too. The sensitivity may be to the
fruit itself or to oil in the peel. Grapefruit has
serious interactions with many commonly prescribed
medications. Its juice inhibits a special enzyme in the
intestines that is responsible for the natural breakdown
and absorption of many medications. When the action of
this enzyme is blocked, the blood levels of these
medications increase, which can lead to toxic side
effects from the medications.
The grapefruit juice research suggests that flavonoids
and/or furanocoumarin compounds are the substances that
block the enzyme in intestines that normally metabolizes
many drugs. The grapefruit juice-drug interaction can
lead to unpredictable and hazardous levels of certain
important drugs. These medications should not be
consumed with grapefruit juice unless advised by a
doctor: The juice of grapefruit is extremely rich in
vitamin C and potassium. It can, therefore, be
beneficially used as a medicine in scanty urination
caused by liver, kidney and heart disorders.
Grapefruit pectin is a natural source of soluble dietary
fibre and offers many other health benefits that are
supported by scientific evidence. Scientists are
studying grapefruit for its medicinal value in
connection with the following conditions:
Heart disease and high cholesterol: Grapefruit has been
observed to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
There is only limited research to support the use of
grapefruit pectin in connection with heart disease in
humans. It is not clear what dose is safe or effective.
Eczema: One study suggests that grapefruit may provide
benefit for those with eczema. However, the study is
small, and therefore it is unclear whether there is any
benefit from grapefruit for this condition.
Many claim that grapefruit pectin produces a variety of
health benefits in addition to those described above. It
is now being recognized as a natural and tasteful means
for reducing cholesterol and triglycerides.
The other benefits are: The waste from grapefruit
packing plants has long been converted into molasses for
cattle. After oil extraction, the hulls can be used for
soil conditioning, or, combined with the dried pulp, as
A detoxification process must precede the feeding of
this product to pigs or poultry. Old grapefruit trees
can be salvaged for their wood. The sapwood is
pale-yellow or nearly white, the heartwood yellow to
brownish, hard, fine-grained, and useful for domestic
purposes. Mainly, pruned branches and felled trees are
cut up for firewood.
Courtesy: The DAWN