Why Is Grapefruit So Bad
Although grapefruit does have some health benefits, there are also risks to including it in your diet. Learn why grapefruit has developed a bad reputation

Although grapefruit does have some health benefits, there are also risks to including it in your diet. Grapefruit has developed a bad reputation due to the following:

  • Drug interactions: Grapefruit juice can affect drug metabolism and dampen their effects or even worsen side effects. Grapefruit can interfere with the enzyme and transporter mechanism involved in the breakdown or absorption of drugs from the gut, causing too high or too low amounts of drugs in the body. Avoid consuming grapefruit when taking medications such as statins, calcium channel blockers, blood pressure medications, and psychiatric drugs.
  • High in potassium: Grapefruit contains high levels of potassium, meaning people with kidney infections should approach with caution. Their kidneys may not be able to filter out excess potassium, which can be life-threatening for such individuals.
  • Highly acidic: As grapefruit is highly acidic, it can worsen symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What is the nutritional value of grapefruit?

Grapefruit has a low glycemic index and is commonly consumed as part of a balanced breakfast. The nutritional value of the fruit is as follows:

  • 60 calories
  • 100% or more of daily vitamin C requirements
  • Vitamin A
  • Potassium
  • Folate
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin 
  • Magnesium
  • Fiber
  • Phytochemicals such as lycopene
  • Calcium (especially in calcium-fortified grapefruit juice)

5 health benefits of grapefruit

Healthy people who are not taking medications may benefit from regular consumption of grapefruit, as it is rich in essential nutrients:

  1. Boosts immune system: Grapefruit is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, and copper, which help boost the immune system. Antioxidant properties protect cells from harmful bacteria and viruses and  may help prevent respiratory infections or reduce the duration of illness.
  2. Promotes heart health: Eating grapefruit regularly can help lower cholesterol levels, particularly serum triglycerides, which in turn can help prevent clogged arteries. Antioxidant properties of phenolics also inhibit the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and help prevent coronary atherosclerosis.
  3. Improves blood sugar levels: Since grapefruit has a low glycemic index, it is a safer carb option for people with diabetes. Moreover, the plant chemical Naringin present in grapefruit and grapefruit juice has the potential to improve insulin sensitivity. Consuming grapefruit can thus help better control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type II diabetes.
  4. Helps with weight loss: Grapefruit contains fiber, which helps you feel full for longer and reduce cravings. Fiber slows the rate at which the body digests food, thereby reducing the risk of overeating or snacking. 
  5. Reduces the risk of kidney stones: Eating grapefruit may help prevent calcium buildup and formation of kidney stones. Citric acid in grapefruit can bind with excess calcium and help flush it out of the body. Citric acid also increases the volume and pH of the urine, making the environment less favorable for kidney stones to form.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/12/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/grapefruit-juice-and-some-drugs-dont-mix

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/grapefruit-and-medication-a-cautionary-note

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30592894/