Main Active Ingredients of Grapefruit
The following are the nutrients that are present in grapefruit:
Vitamin C (73.3%);
Vitamin A (23.7%);
Phytonitruents called Limonoids;
Flavonoid called Naringenin;
Vitamin B1 (3.3%);
Vitamin B5 (3.6%); and
Calories (40 in 128g).
Parts of Grapefruit Used
Grapefruit is consumed in many formats and various parts of the citrus fruit are used, and they are as follows –
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Where it's Grown
Grapefruit was discovered in the 18th century, in Barbados. In the early 19th century, trees of grapefruit were planted in Florida but it was only later in the century that it became a commercially viable crop. Currently, Florida is still the major grapefruit producer, as well as Texas, Arizona and California. Brazil, Israel and South Africa are other countries which produce Grapefruit commercially.
Grapefruit has many health benefits as follows:
Grapefruit is loaded with Vitamin C, which supports the immune system to fight off colds and symptoms related to cold.
Many inflammatory conditions are also prevented by Vitamin C, such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as Vitamin C is known to prevent free radical damage responsible for triggering inflammatory cascade.
Another major benefit of Vitamin C is promoting cardiovascular health and thus, grapefruit can also help prevent strokes and heart attacks.
A study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (March 2006) which showed that grapefruit can reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.
Prostate, Lung and Colon Cancer
Research published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that Lycopene and Lycopene rich fruits (such as pink grapefruit) can reduce the chances of prostate cancer in men to a great extent. The study also linked drinking green tea to have similar benefits. Another recent research study was presented in the 228th National meeting of the ACM (American Chemical Society) which showed that drinking grapefruit juice provided protection against lung and colon cancer.
Professor Alan Crozier, Plant Biochemistry and Human Nutrition, from the University of Glasgow, evaluated 13 popular and commercially available fruit juices. This evaluation ranked Grapefruit amongst fruits with the highest antioxidant activity. Crozier's findings indicated that long term consumption of such juices could provide considerable protection against Alzheimer’s disease, as it appears antioxidant activity helps control the progress of Alzheimer's. Read the abstract from the report here.
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (February 2006, Volume 17, pp. 89 – 95) reported a lab study which linked Naringenin, a grapefruit flavonoid, to repair damaged DNA in the cancer cells found in the human prostate.
Prevention of Kidney Stones
The British Journal of Nutrition contained a study which revealed that drinking almost ½ to a liter of grapefruit, orange and apple juice regularly, reduced the chances of forming kidney stones or calcium oxalate stones by increasing the citric acid and urinary pH value.
Grapefruit seed extract can be used to disinfect water as it kills bacteria. Safe drinking water is of course vital and can be a major issue in developing countries, as is finding suitably safe water for agriculture. Grapefruit can therefore be a cheap, easy and effective way to achieve this.
Grapefruit essential oil has applications in the soap and cosmetic industry where it is a fragrance component. It is a refreshing oil which helps to aid digestion, boost the immune system, clear the lymphatic system and reduce water retention, helps with skin problems, as a nervous system tonic, and to ease muscle stiffness.
The drug interactions of grapefruit with other food or medications can be severe and before caution should be taken, and your doctor informed, if you are given any other medication when you are also consuming grapefruit regularly.