5 surprising health benefits of eating grapefruit

While avocados continue to be all the rage on the breakfast scene, there’s a far superior fruit we reckon deserves its time in the spotlight. It’s pink, it’s sour and looks a bit like an overgrown orange; we’re talking, of course, about the majestic grapefruit.

When the British first found grapefruits in Barbados they were christened ‘forbidden fruit’, but there’s no evil behind these spheres of Caribbean sunshine. Dubbed one of the Seven Wonders of Barbados, the underrated and understated grapefruit is one of the most nutritionally beneficial fruits around.

Considering we’re now in the middle of February aka National Grapefruit Month (who knew?), there’s really no better time to find out just what makes them so good for you.

We’ve found five of the most surprising health benefits to sink your teeth into.

1. They boost your immune system

Constantly getting colds? You might want to head to the citrus fruits aisle. Grapefruits are packed with flu-busting vitamin C, which many of lack in our diets. Micronutrient deficiencies of this crucial vitamin have been found to alter immune responses in animals and are thought to have a similar effect on the human immune response.  Studies have also found that maintaining good levels of vitamin C in the body can reduce the severity of cold symptoms. So next time you’re feeling under the weather, avoid the soft drinks and fill your cup with a grapefruit smoothie.

2. They keep your skin healthy

Not only are grapefruits high in vitamin C, they also pack a powerful vitamin A punch. These two wonder vitamins combined are the perfect formula for healthy skin. Grapefruit extract applied topically has been found to have some pretty potent anti-ageing benefits, and it can even fight off free radicals. If you don’t fancy smearing it on your face, a grapefruit a day will provide the body with all important nutrients essential for clear, glowy and blemish-free skin.

3. It can reduce gum disease

Nobody wants to look down in the sink after brushing their teeth and see blood, but if you do find yourself in this unlucky scenario, perhaps another red liquid is the answer. Studies have found that those suffering from gum disease greatly benefit from eating two grapefruits per day, thanks to the fruit’s high levels of vitamin C, which promote wound healing and cut damage by unstable free radical molecules.

4. It lowers cholesterol

While doctors aren’t quite sure how grapefruits interact with cholesterol, though antioxidants may be the answer, studies have shown they can lower LDLs – lower density lipoprotein or ‘bad cholesterol’. In particular, red grapefruits appear to lower cholesterol more effectively than their white counterparts. However, if you’re already on medication for cholesterol – or anything else for that matter – you may want to consult your doctor before adding grapefruit to your diet.

5. It may help you lose weight.

It’s long been rumoured that grapefruit has a mythic quality that can help with weight loss. Variations of the ‘grapefruit diet’ have been used since the 1920s, but the most consistent theme is the idea that eating grapefruit before a meal can kick-start your metabolism. While the legends of extreme weight loss results should be taken with a pinch of salt, a study has shown that eating half a grapefruit before a meal may actually help with appetite control. Even if adopting a ‘grapefruit diet’ doesn’t do much for your weight, at the very worst, you’re still getting one of your five-a-day before each meal.

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