For many years, grapefruit has been a staple for people looking to lose weight. It’s satisfying, low in calories, and full of nutrients like vitamins. Known to be extremely acidic, grapefruits contain furanocoumarins that actually keep your stomach from performing some of its regular functions. That doesn’t sound like a good thing! So is this sour fruit a good thing to keep on your countertop? Or should you ditch the grapefruits for other options in the Paleo lifestyle?
What is Grapefruit?
Originally a sub-tropical fruit; Grapefruits are the product of natural hybridization; When the two species of plants are crossed and create a new sub-species. In this case, the grapefruit’s parents were from Asia: the pomelo and the sweet orange. The new species took up residence in Barbados and the surrounding area. Branching into the multiple varieties we know today (Ruby Red, Star Ruby, etc).
What are the Health Benefits of Grapefruit
Grapefruits have been shown to have numerous health benefits.
Grapefruit may help heart health
Eating grapefruit may improve heart health by improving blood pressure and reducing cholesterol. Postmenopausal women who consumed grapefruit juice for 6 months showed reduce arterial stiffness, and improved blood pressure.
Grapefruit may help with weight loss and metabolic syndrome
Grapefruit has several components which aid in weight loss including fiber and high water content.
Research has shown grapefruit may have a positive effect on weight loss and metabolic syndrome. This study with 91 obese participants consumed grapefruit prior to a meal and lost significantly more weight loss than the participants who did not consume the grapefruit.
Grapefruit is high in antioxidants
Grapefruit is high in a number of vitamins and antioxidants that help to promote free radical damage. Grapefruit is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber, beta-carotene, lycopene, biotin and flavanones.
What do the Paleo Experts Think About Grapefruit?
Alison Ver Halen says: “You can…obtain benefits from eating grapefruit. It is low in sugar and high in anti-oxidants, both of which are beneficial. Just don’t go eating piles of them on a daily basis. Always go for the whole fruit instead of the juice whenever possible. The fruit has beneficial fiber to lower blood sugar and feed your gut bacteria, whereas store-bought juice is likely to have added sugar.”
Loren Cordain says: “Given…the possibility of increased sugar in juices, my suggestion instead would be to eat grapefruit whole instead. As we recommend with other fruit and vegetables when following a Paleo diet. Moreover, careful chewing has been shown to stimulate the release of 2 intestinal peptides; Which decrease appetite and food intake. This indicates more benefits for you to actually eat a grapefruit, instead of drinking the juice.”
Is grapefruit Paleo?
Yes, but be cautious.
Why Grapefruit might be bad for you?
As mentioned previously, the chemicals in grapefruit inhibit stomach acid from doing its job. Does that mean that grapefruits are really great or not so much? It can be hard to tell.
Grapefruit may reduce stomach health
The reason that grapefruits are sometimes considered “dangerous” is because of the furanocoumarins that inhibit gut function. This doesn’t affect your day-to-day stomach health; the only time this will really be important is if you are taking medications.
Grapefruit may interact with medication
Grapefruit is known to interact with a large number of medications. So, always check to be sure that you can consume grapefruit if you are taking any medicines, either prescribed, over-the-counter, or herbal. You can find a rather extensive list of medicines that interact with grapefruit here. Do some research and ask your doctor before adding grapefruit to your diet; otherwise, you may be neutralizing your medicine.
From the Archives, Issue No. 55