In this article, we will be looking at the properties, health benefits / medicinal uses of grapefruit.
Botanical name: Citrus paradisi Macfad.
Synonyms: Shaddock, Marsh grapefruit.
The grapefruit is a fruit of the grapefruit tree, ‘Citrus parasidi’ Macfad., a plant from the botanical family Rutaceae. The grapefruit is similar to orange and lemon in shape and color respectively. There are different varieties of grapefruit with orange, yellow, and even pink pulp. The latter grapefruit with the pink pulp is known for its preventive action against cancer due to its richness in carotenoids.
Properties of grapefruit
Below is the nutritive component of grapefruit:
● It contains carbohydrates in moderate amounts
● Grapefruit contains very low amounts of protein
● It also contains very few amounts of fats
● Minerals are present in grapefruit in significant amounts. It contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, and virtually no sodium.
● Vitamins are also present in significant quantities, among which vitamin C stands out. It contains high vitamin C content, although less than that of orange and lemon.
Below is the non-nutritive component of grapefruit. This component is attributed to most of grapefruit’s medicinal values.
● Carotenoids – Earlier in the description above, we learnt that the pinked-pulp grapefruit is a great source of carotenoids. This carotenoids are known for their preventive action against cancer.
● Pectin – pectin is a type of vegetable fiber which is soluble and found in many fruits. Grapefruit fruit pectin is found in the fiber forming its pulp and also in the whitish layer just below the skin and between the sections. This fiber, after some scientific experiments have been known to have anti-cholesterol effects as well as arterial protection property.
● Limonoids – grapefruit is rich in one of the limonoids that constitute its essence, limonene, which gives it some of its anti-carcinogenic property, ans also its characteristic bitter taste.
● Flavonoids – the presence of flavonoids in grapefruit helps improve blood flow, and also gives the fruit its anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant properties.
Health benefits / medicinal uses of grapefruit
The medicinal values /indications of grapefruit are explained by its nutritive and non-nutritive component. Below are some of its medicinal applications:
● Infections – the presence of high vitamin C content in grapefruit and also flavonoids, help stimulates the actions of the immune system and in turn preventing infections.
● Arteriosclerosis – this is a degenerative process that can affect all of the arteries of the body which begins with cholesterol deposition in the inner lining of the arteries. Here, the grapefruit serves to protect the arterial walls from hardening and thickening, and in turn preventing arteriosclerosis.
● Cancer – the presence of vitamin C, limonoids and pectin in grapefruit helps protect against cancer by stopping the activity of many carcinogenic (cancer causing) substances. Thus, the regular consumption of grapefruit is considered a good way to prevent cancer.
● Depurative treatments – grapefruit can be used as a depurant to cleanse the blood and eliminate unwanted toxins from the body. This can be done by drinking a glass of grapefruit juice on an empty stomach every morning.
● Cardiocirculatory disorders – the consumption of grapefruit is highly recommended for those with heart disease. This is due to the fact that it contains virtually no sodium and fat, as well as high potassium content.
For hypertension patients, they can also consume abundant amounts of grapefruit since it helps decongest the circulatory system.
● Grapefruit is also indicated in cases of excess uric acid which can be in form of gout, kidney stones, and uratic arthritis.