Health Benefits of Grapefruits


Grapefruit --- red, pink and white --- offer a number of health benefits. They contain a number of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus. Grapefruit are low in calories and fat, so you can easily add this fruit to your diet in different ways. Grapefruit are also high in lycopene and fiber and have been seen to help treat heart disease, lower insulin levels and even reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Consult your doctor before using grapefruit to self-treat any condition.

Heart Disease

Red grapefruit helps to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in individuals who suffer from heart disease, the Bastyr Center for Natural Health reports. Cholesterol and triglycerides cause a narrowing of the arteries, which leads researchers to believe that, due to its effects on those substances, grapefruit may also help to prevent other health problems that lead to heart disease. In fact, the Health Guidance website reports, eating grapefruit can reduce high blood pressure, another risk for heart disease. The site explains that high blood pressure occurs when fats and cholesterol from the foods you eat accumulate along your artery walls, narrowing your arteries and restricting your blood flow. The Happy Nutritionist website adds that red and white grapefruit contain powerful antioxidants --- which also help curb the risk of heart disease. Antioxidants help to oxygenate the blood and improve circulation throughout the body.

Lower Insulin

Grapefruit may help in reducing levels of insulin in the blood, the Happy Nutritionist reports, which can be helpful both for diabetics and those seeking to lose weight. Not only are grapefruit a safe addition to a diabetic's diet, the Organic Facts website adds, but the fruit can also help to reduce starch in the body and even lower blood sugar levels. Health Guidance reports that enzymes in grapefruit might also be able to help you control your insulin levels, which increase after you eat. These enzymes can help you digest food more efficiently, the site explains, which can lead to less fat accumulating in your body --- thus reducing the risk of diabetes.

Prostate Benefits

A study led by Dr. Le Jian and published in 2007 in the "Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that grapefruit reduced the risks of being diagnosed with prostate cancer by 82 percent. Researchers concluded that lycopene --- of which pink grapefruit are a rich source --- was the catalyst behind this improvement. The study further showed that regular consumption of pink grapefruit could actually produce a protective effect --- good news for those at risk of prostate cancer.