Grapefruit: Properties and Benefits


Grapefruit is a tropical citrus with many therapeutic properties supported by scientific research. Let’s see what its health benefits are

The grapefruit  belongs to the Rutaceae family. The 3 main varieties are represented by the Citrus decumanaCitrus grandis and Citrus maxima.

Grapefruit: properties and benefits
Grapefruit: properties and benefits

The grapefruit is rich in nutrients, antioxidants and fiber that make it one of the healthiest citrus for our body.

The plant is an evergreen native to China. Its stem can reach a height of 15 meters and is cultivated a bit all over the world.


The flowers are white, composed of four petals, while the fruit, yellow, has a diameter that normally measures from 10 to 15 cm and slightly yellow segments, almost colorless.

To date, grapefruit is grown all over the world, the major producing countries are the United States. Also in our country this citrus is grown, exactly in some areas of southern Italy.

The fruit contains phytochemicals which are very beneficial for health such as lycopene and beta-carotene, flavonoids and limonoids. Thanks to its properties, the American Institute for Cancer Research has included it in the list of foods useful for fighting tumors. ( 1 )

Additionally, there are several studies that suggest that grapefruit is a smart choice if you are trying to lose weight. Only half a citrus fruit per day has a significant impact on weight loss. ( 2 )

Not only does the fruit itself bring health benefits but also its juice, essential oil and seed extract can be used for therapeutic purposes.

Chemical Composition

Chemical composition per 100 grams of white grapefruit
Water g 90,5
Protein g 0,7
Carbohydrates g 8,4
Fibers g 1,1
Sugars g 7,3
Ashes g 0,3
Phytosterols g 17
Omega 3 mg 5
Omega 6 mg 19
Calcium mg 12
Iron mg 0,1
Magnesium mg 9
Potassium mg 8
Zinc mg 0,1
Copper mg 0,1
Selenium mcg 1,4
Vitamin A IU 33
B3 mg 0,3
B5 mg 0,3
Vitamin C mg 33
Vitamin E mg 0,1
Vitamin J mg 7,7
Folate mcg 10
Beta Carotene mcg 553

Source: Nutritiondata

The most abundant flavonoid present in grapefruit is naringenin which has antioxidant and antitumor activity.

In addition to naringeningrapefruit also contains a substance called limonene, responsible for the acid taste, but also with anticancer properties.

The peel contains essential oils such as limonenecitral and pinene which perform an antidepressant action. 


100 grams of edible pulp have 33 kcal.  

Grapefruit: Properties and Benefits

Immune System

Its regular intake can be beneficial for the immune system. The fruit is rich in vitamin C whose antioxidant properties, according to studies, are known to protect the body from viruses and bacteria. ( 3 )

There are also numerous studies showing that vitamin C is helpful in helping people recover from colds more quickly. ( 4 )

Other studies instead suggest that the vitamins and minerals present in the fruit are good for the immune system. Vitamin A for example, during many tests has been shown to protect against inflammation and infectious diseases. ( 5 )

Grapefruits: properties and benefits

Weight Loss

According to scientific research this citrus promotes weight loss in an important way. The culprit behind these benefits appears to be an enzyme called AMPK which appears to be activated by a compound found in grapefruit called nootkatone. When this enzyme is activated, it promotes the body’s energy processes and helps increase metabolism. ( 6 )

An animal study has shown that long-term intake of nootkatone has significantly reduced weight gain and abdominal fat accumulation. The researchers concluded that nootkatone is not only beneficial for weight loss but can also improve physical performance. ( 7 )

Other animal studies have shown that the juice of this fruit has better effects than drugs for weight loss. In studies, juice, unlike drugs, has shown to have no side effects. ( 8 )

As evidence of its effectiveness for weight loss there are also some studies on humans. One of these was published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. The researchers looked at the effects of grapefruit on 91 obese people. In addition to supplements and juice, it was the fresh fruit that provided the best results. Half a fresh grapefruit before meals has been associated with weight loss and improved insulin resistance. ( 2 )

Among its properties there is also that of lowering insulin levels in our body. Insulin is a hormone that, in excess, can increase not only the risk of weight gain but also to heart-related problems.

These are the reasons why, who regularly includes it in the diet, in addition to the benefits that derive for the line, can also benefit in terms of health.

Digestive System

It represents a precious disinfectant and stimulating food of the digestive system. For this reason it is recommended to take it at the end of the meal, especially if abundant.

Digestive Properties

The grapefruit stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and increases intestinal motility in all benefit of digestion. This virtue Citrus is attributable to the good presence of fiber food.


If taken in correct doses together with caffeine, for example a spoonful of grapefruit juice in a cup of coffee, it becomes an excellent pain reliever with few contraindications.

Kidney stones

The most common type of kidney stones is calcium oxalate. Studies have shown that citric acid present in grapefruit can be effective in preventing them. The researchers found that the citric acid present in the fruit is able to bind with calcium in the kidneys and facilitate their expulsion. ( 910 )

In addition, according to other research, citric acid is able to increase the quantity and pH of the urine promoting a less favorable environment for the formation of kidney stones. ( 11 )

Crisis of Abstinence

The behavior regarding its use in detoxification therapies for heavy drugs is still not completely clear, but it seems that some active ingredients, including bergamottin and naringenin, would be able to partially calm the withdrawal symptoms, as if they were a sort of natural methadone.


They are a good source of tryptophan, drinking a glass of grapefruit juice before going to bed combines sleep.


Consuming grapefruits regularly can help prevent insulin resistance which is often the cause of diabetes. As is known, insulin resistance leads to higher insulin and blood sugar levels which are the two main risk factors for diabetes.

Studies suggest that consuming this citrus regularly helps control insulin levels and therefore prevents insulin resistance. ( 12 )

In one study, people who ate half a fresh grapefruit before meals experienced a decrease in insulin resistance. ( 13 ) Other scientific studies show that the consumption of fruit in general is associated with a better control of blood glucose and to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. ( 14 )

It Protects the Colon

It has a good content of pectin, a type of insoluble fiber that helps protect the mucous membrane of the colon. By binding to toxic substances it decreases the colon’s exposure times to the latter and protects it from tumors and other diseases.

It Reduces Cholesterol

Grapefruit pectin has also been shown to help keep blood cholesterol levels under control as it decreases reabsorption in the colon. The grapefruit is  therefore a good preventive method for the formation of plaques in the arteries and, consequently, for heart disease and arteriosclerosis.

Heart Health

Its regular consumption improves heart health by reducing risk factors for heart disease such as hypertension and the cholesterol mentioned above. One study found that people who ate grapefruit 3 times a day had reduced blood pressure and bad cholesterol. ( 15 )

According to scientific research, an adequate intake of potassium, of which the fruit is very rich, is associated with a reduction in blood pressure. Other research has shown that potassium properties are associated with a reduction in heart disease death.

The researchers also say that a high intake of dietary fiber reduces blood pressure and cholesterol. There are many scientific studies that claim that including antioxidantrich fiber and fruit in the diet helps prevent heart disease and stroke. ( 1617 )

Stroke Risk

According to a study by the American Heart Association, eating citrus fruit seems beneficial in reducing stroke risk. The researchers found that women who were taking large amounts of flavonoids derived from citrus fruits had a reduced risk of 19% of developing a stroke. ( 13 )

Eyes and Sight

The grapefruit contains a percentage of substances with antioxidant properties such as vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, the naringenin and naringin. All these components play a very important role for the health of our eyes and therefore for sight.


Another of the many benefits of this citrus fruit is its ability to help prevent the cellulite. The method of using this fruit to treat cellulite is suggested to us by a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. ( 18 )

According to the researchers, to combat cellulite, you must inhale the vapors produced by the grapefruit extract that would be able to increase the stimulation of the nervous system by 250%. A topical cream containing caffeine should be combined with this aromatherapy practice.


The lycopene, particularly abundant in the pink variety, is a flavonoid with properties  antioxidants. Recent studies have shown that this substance present in grapefruit protects the skin from UV rays and offers protection against prostate cancer.

Reduces Appetite

The grapefruit works as an appetite suppressant. It seems that only its smell reduces the desire to eat and it is for this reason that the fruit is often included in diets for weight loss.

It also has a good fiber content and studies show that a diet rich in fiber increases the sense of satiety naturally. Research has shown that fiber slows down time the speed at which the stomach empties thereby increasing digestion time. ( 1920 )

It has therefore been shown that consuming adequate amounts of fiber can help you consume fewer calories throughout the day and therefore keep your appetite at bay. ( 21 )


Its intake brings benefits in case of fatigue as it increases the body’s energy levels. The fruit contains a very rare aromatic compound called nootkatone. This compound improves the body’s energy metabolism, which leads to better endurance and greater energy.


In case of insomnia, a glass of grapefruit juice before going to bed can promote sleep. This property is attributable to the presence of tryptophan, an amino acid that intervenes positively in the sleep process.


Two fingers of grapefruit juice before beach meal can have the same behavior as a digestive enzyme. In this way, the juice can bring benefits for the prevention of flatulence.

Urinary disorders

Its juice has a good content of vitamin C and potassium. For this reason, grapefruit represents one of the best allies for the treatment of urinal disorders.

Other Properties

Its intake  is suggested in cases of loss of appetite, nutrition of the elderly, difficult digestion, liver disorders, renal failure, fragile capillaries, and lung infections.

Due to its propertiesgrapefruit is a food recommended for overweight people at the end of a meal, as it accelerates the transformation of fats into energy. Its juice is also recommended for treating flatulence problems.

Grapefruit Seeds

In 1964, an American immunologist named Harich Jacob, noticed in his garden that in a pile of decomposing composting material, the grapefruit seeds present were not subject to any mutation, in practice they did not decompose like all the other material.

He thus realized that inside the grapefruit seeds there was a substance with antibiotic properties but at the same time not harmful.

After several studies of seeds of grapefruit were confirmed their properties antibacterial and according to accredited herbalists, the seeds can be considered real natural antibiotics without any side effects.

Gastric Ulcer

The use of grapefruit seeds in cases of gastric ulcer has been confirmed. A recent study in Krakow demonstrated the effectiveness of grapefruit seed powder in reducing gastric ulcer on laboratory rats.

Pink Grapefruit

Grapefruit: properties and benefits

Among the many varieties of grapefruit on the market, the pink one is becoming increasingly important.

It is a hybrid, derived from the fusion of the traditional grapefruit with the orange, it has a slightly less bitter taste and a slightly thinner skin, but the one that differentiates it most from the original yellow is the fact of containing less vitamin C and more fructose.

With this characteristic, pink grapefruit stands at the top of the food preferences of those who do a lot of sport and need energy immediately available.


It is good to be careful in case of ongoing medical therapies, in case you want to take grapefruit. In fact, it seems that it may represent an obstacle to the proper functioning of some families of drugs, including the birth control pill.

Cases of unwanted pregnancies due to the consumption of grapefruit in combination with the birth control pill are not uncommon. It is always good, in case of doubt, to consult a doctor or authorized personnel.

Grapefruit Seed Extract (Esp)

The grapefruit seed extract  contains naringin, camphorol, hesperidin, nobiletine, and parucirin. It also contains some types of bioflavonoids, among the most effective among the 20.000 existing types.

Extract of seeds, thanks to its properties, is used mainly to treat the infection by fungi, molds, and even viruses. Its specific use is aimed at treating the infection caused by the fungus Candida Albicans which normally spreads when our body is subjected to heavy stress, damage to the bacterial flora or prolonged use of antibiotics.

The seed extract strengthens the immune system, attacks the parasites of the intestine and is used for internal infections of the skin, eye and mouth.

The toxicological research in the field have confirmed that the extracted from seeds of grapefruit has no toxicity and can be hired for a longer period only for preventive purposes, exploiting its properties.

The seed extract is commercially available in powder and liquid form. The powder one is preferable, as the liquid one has an extremely bitter and unpleasant taste.


A Japanese study dating back to 1995 and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology  claims that breathing the scent of citrus fruits has beneficial effects on depressive states, anxiety and stress.

Its scent seems to reduce the feeling of hunger. Together with the good fiber content, this citrus fruit is particularly suitable for all those who are willing to lose weight.

Eating grapefruit regularly reduces gingival bleeding in people suffering from gum disease. This was supported by a 2005 study published in the  British Dental Journal.

Grapefruit: Properties and Benefits

Italian language version


This is not a medical publication, the information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is general in nature, they cannot in any way replace the prescriptions of a doctor or other health professionals authorized by law. The notions on the posology, the medical procedures and the description of the products on this site have an illustrative purpose and do not allow to acquire the necessary experience and manual skills for their practice or their use. If you have been prescribed medical treatment, I invite you not to interrupt or modify it, because all the suggestions you find on  must always and in any case be compared with the opinion of your doctor.

Pulsante per tornare all'inizio