Health Benefits of Grapefruits

By Amy Ahrim Lee; First Year Project Manager


It’s almost winter and you’ve been exposed to the sweetness of pumpkin-flavored food, crème brulee, and vanilla-flavored desserts. Now you want a change—something juicy, tangy, sweet, and tarty. What else can satisfy this craving other than citrus fruits? There are varieties of citrus fruits, including lemons, oranges, tangerines, and limes. However,
many people forget about grapefruits.

Grapefruits are available throughout the year but are at their best during winter and early spring. They provide a rich source of minerals, daily fiber, and most importantly vitamins. Half of a grapefruit (about 128g) is known to have 73% daily value of vitamin C which greatly supports your immune system. Moreover, Vitamin C is also known to reduce inflammatory conditions, such as osteoarthritis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. Consumption of large amounts of vitamin C can reduce the risk of death from heart disease and stroke.

Grapefruits can also help in reducing the risk of cancer. Pink and red grapefruits have carotenoids, called lycopene. Researchers have shown that lycopene has anti-tumor activity, reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer in men. Lycopene has the ability to fight oxygen free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells and potentially cause cancer.

Grapefruits are packed with minerals and vitamins and are perfect for a low-calorie diet but, it should not be consumed by patients taking certain high cholesterol medications, heart and cardiovascular disease medications, painkillers, and antibiotics. Furanocoumarins, an active ingredient in grapefruits, inhibits an enzyme that breaks down certain medications. This inhibition causes a higher dose of the medication to be in the bloodstream, potentially causing hazardous effects. Thus, if you are taking any medications, it is important to consult a doctor or pharmacist about which food you can eat and can’t eat.

Aside from the interactions with certain medications, grapefruits have so many health benefits and can be a nice addition to your diet. For an interesting change, you might want to try broiling your grapefruit by following the recipe below. It’s perfect on a cold day!


  • 1 grapefruit
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon butter


  1. Preheat an oven broiler.
  2. Cut grapefruit in half.
  3. Using a small, sharp knife, loosen the grapefruit segments in each half by cutting between the fruit and the peel. Leave the segments in their peels and place the halves upright in a baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle cut sides with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  5. Dot with butter.
  6. Place the baking dish in the oven broiler for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sugar beginning to brown.
  7. Serves 2.



“Grapefruit, Raw, Pink and Red, All Areas Nutrition Facts & Calories.” Grapefruit, Raw, Pink, and Red, All Areas Nutrition Facts & Calories. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

“GRAPEFRUIT: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, and Warnings – WebMD.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Sturt, Kristen Swensson. “Healthy & Delicious: Broiled Grapefruit Recipe.” Serious Eats. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

“Who Knew? Grapefruit Mixed With Medications Can Be Deadly.” One Green Planet. N.p., 27 Nov 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.


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