Every now and the I enjoy drinking a quarter glass of red grapefruit juice. I don’t remember why I choose red grapefruit juice in the first place, but I am glad I did so. It tastes delicious and I find it very refreshing.
Until now I haven’t really bothered to check the health benefits of this uplifting and energizing drink. The fact that it always feels so good was more than enough for me. But, a couple of days ago I decided to check the health benefits and look into the properties of grapefruit, and specifically, of its red variation. Here is what I found:
Table of Contents
The Benefits of Red Grapefruit
First, let us see what is so special about red or pink grapefruit versus the other, white variety of grapefruit.
A study that appeared recently in an article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that one grapefruit a day – especially the red variety – can help prevent heart diseases (source http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060213091300.htm). The scientists found that taking just one red grapefruit a day is enough to significantly reduce the levels of cholesterol in the blood. This feature alone brings a huge benefit, as high levels of cholesterol are among the main risk factors for heart related problems. Pectin, a soluble fiber found in this fruit, is held responsible for this feature.
Apart from that, drinking grapefruit juice is believed to reduce the risks of getting kidney stones and prostate and colon cancer. Experts say that the substance that helps fight cancer is a special flavonoid called naringenin. Naringenin has the ability to help repair damaged tumor cells. The red and pink variety of grapefruit contains high levels of this biological flavonoid.
Pink vs White Grapefruit
The researcher found that the main ingredients that are responsible for the health benefits of red grapefruit are the antioxidants. In general, the red variety of grapefruit has higher concentrations of antioxidants than the white one. There are other nutrients that are also more abundant in it, including calcium, iron and vitamin A. One additional advantage of pink grapefruits is that they contain lycopene, a biologically active substance that has anticancer properties and can help fight free radicals on the cellular level. If you are on a diet, however, have in mind that white grapefruit has fewer calories, 78, as compared to 104 calories contained in an average red grapefruit fruit.
A Word of Warning
It is well established that Grapefruit can interact with certain medications. Moreover, in some cases it can interact strongly and adversely with them. The effect can be different from one person to another, so it is hard to assess the impact of consuming grapefruit juice on the metabolism of the given drug. Therefore, if you are on prescription medication and you are not sure what their interaction with grapefruit products is, always consult with your physician.
The other controversy is related to grapefruit is related to the possible (indirect) role it may play in developing some hormone dependent cancers, especially breast cancer. The most recent 2008 study has shown that grapefruit does not increase the risk of breast cancer, and if fact, it significantly decreases the risk of breast cancer in women who never used hormone therapy (see http://www.drgourmet.com/bites/2008/072308.shtml). That said, grapefruit may indeed plays some role in the estrogen metabolism in the similar way it interacts with some drugs.
In addition, grapefruit should not be consumed during chemotherapy.
When You Might Want to Avoid Grapefruit and Especially Grapefruit Juice
The problem with grapefruit juice and especially with grapefruit juice is its high sugar content. Even though it tastes sour, it has a lot of sugar. In fact, an average grapefruit contains around 8 grams of fructose.
If you have high insulin levels (which is to say that you don’t have high blood pressure, obesity, or high cholesterol), you should avoid consuming grapefruit or its juice completely. Your main goal should be to prevent spikes in your insulin levels, which may lead to insulin resistance, and similar problems like premature aging and diabetes type 2.
You should limit other fruits in your diet as well and receive the necessary nutrients from vegetables and vegetable juices.
How to Prepare Grapefruit Juice
I personally, like to drink red grapefruit juice occasionally. I don’t ever use a juicer, to save me the trouble of washing it afterwards. I just cut it in half and use a spoon to squeeze the juice out of the two halves of the fruit. Here is the produce and the end result:
You would not get a lot of juice, but you can mix it with some spring water and there is your refreshing morning delight.
At the end, I find red grapefruit juice great and tasty and also very nutritive and healthy. Be moderate with caffeine when consuming grapefruits not to spoil the beneficial effect of the juice. Also pay attention to the possible side effects as explained above.