Is grapefruit good for you?
Yes! Grapefruit is a tasty, tropical treat that’s renowned for its sweet yet tangy taste.
This citrus fruit is packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, making it one of the healthiest fruits you can enjoy.
There are lots of science-backed benefits of eating grapefruit, including weight loss, heart health and nourishing your body with essential nutrients. You can also enjoy some additional benefits by using it in skincare and aromatherapy.
We’ve found 11 of the best grapefruit benefits out there, but before we get into that, here’s some more info about this tasty treat.
There are five of the most common types of grapefruit you may come across:
If you love the tang of a grapefruit rather than the sweetness, then white grapefruit could be for you. Outside it has a creamy yellow skin and inside you will find a vibrant citrus aroma and a more sour than sweet taste.
The favourite – a hybrid of white and red grapefruit, pink grapefruit is the most palatable of all grapefruit varieties, with a deliciously mid tangy sweetness. It’s great for juicing.
Like it sweet? The redder the grapefruit flesh, the sweeter the favour and the higher concentration of antioxidant lycopene (one of the best benefits of red grapefruit). However, this fruit is the least complex in taste and still quite better.
Grapefruits are said to be hybrids of oranges and pomelos, and the combination is best seen in this variety. They are large, yellow or lime green in colour, with a mellow flesh and a thick, bitter pitch that is super easy to peel. Use their sturdy sections in salads.
One of the lesser known grapefruit varieties is called Oro Blanco – meaning white gold. This type of grapefruit has super sweet flesh with hardly any bitterness, protected by a thick green / lemon yellow skin.
There are 5 main types of grapefruit, each with different coloured skins and tastes:
The health benefits of grapefruit may surprise you. This tart-but-sweet savoury treat is full of nutrients that can help our bodies on the inside and out.
Here are the top 11 benefits of grapefruit backed up by science:
Let’s start with the way most people enjoy grapefruit – by eating it of course!
Although it is enjoyed by many simply for its taste, there are an impressive amount of nutrients packed into every grapefruit.
A single serving of half a fresh grapefruit or 150ml is enough to get your fix.
Here are the nutrients you will absorb from 1/2 fruit serving (123g):1
|of which sugars||8.5g|
|of which saturates||0g|
It also contains lots of vitamins and minerals, including:2
As you can see, grapefruits are:
Very low in calories
Contain moderate levels of sugar
High in fibre
Plenty of important micronutrients, with the most abundant grapefruit vitamins being C and A
Grapefruit vitamin C levels provide you with 64% of your daily recommendation per half of the fruit. And you know what vitamin C is good for? Supporting your immune system!
Vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid, is an essential vitamin that’s needed to support immune function in humans, especially during and after high-intensity exercise.3
Grapefruit also contains vitamin A, which has also been shown to support the immune system.4
Grapefruit is full of vitamin C, which can support the immune system
It contains vitamin A, which also supports immune function
Cholesterol and high blood pressure are the two major risk factors for heart disease, and grapefruit is believed to help tackle them.
The main reasons grapefruit is believed to be good for heart health are:
Potassium content: half a grapefruit contains about 5% of your daily potassium needs, an essential mineral essential for heart health. High-quality evidence shows that increased potassium intake helps maintain normal blood pressure levels.5
Fibre content: like most fruits, grapefruit is rich in dietary fibre, which is key for reducing cholesterol.6
One study on grapefruit and blood pressure found that participants who ate grapefruit every day for 6 weeks experienced better cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.7
Grapefruit has been seen to help maintain normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels
This is likely due to its potassium and fibre content
Each half a grapefruit contains 8% of your daily fibre needs, which may not seem like a lot, but is a great contribution to your daily fibre.
A high-fibre diet has been shown to help people feel fuller and more satisfied for longer.8 This is because dietary fibre increases digestion time by slowing the rate at which your stomach empties.9
If you feel fuller and less hungry than usual, you may be less likely to eat as many calories.10
Grapefruits contain dietary fibre that may help you feel more satisfied for longer
Eating fibre-rich grapefruit could help control your appetite by causing you to feel full
How is grapefruit good for weight loss?
Whether you simply enjoy half a grapefruit with your breakfast, as a snack or go for The Grapefruit Diet Plan, grapefruit has lots of ways it can help you lose weight.
First of all, grapefruit is one of the lowest calorie fruits (52kcal a serving) and the sugar in grapefruit is minimal, so if you replace your usually sugary snacks with a grapefruit you can still get your sweet fix with a lot.
What grapefruit ‘lacks’ in calories, it makes up for in water. Its high-water content can definitely contribute to your daily water intake and help keep you hydrated, which is something else integral for weight loss.11
One we have already mentioned is grapefruit’s fibre content, which is linked to longer feelings of fullness, which may help you lose weight.12
There are several studies that show grapefruit as an effective weight loss aid including:
A study on the grapefruit intake of obese subjects found that those who ate half a grapefruit before their normal meals lost more than 2.5lbs on average over 12 weeks than those who did not13
Another study found that participants waist sizes decreased when they ate grapefruit with their meals14
Like any food, grapefruit cannot be held full responsible or even mostly responsible for your weight loss, but it has been seen to help for several reasons.
Grapefruit is good for weight loss for a variety of reasons, including its fibre content, water content and low-calorie count
Enjoying some grapefruit could help your body maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance can cause blood sugar levels to rocket, as insulin is needed to take glucose (sugar) out of the blood and into other cells so they can use it as fuel.
Grapefruit and other fruits have been seen to help control insulin levels and maintain better blood sugar control.15
Grapefruits are loved for their sheer juiciness, and where does that juiciness come from? Their high-water content of course.
A single serving of peeled grapefruit (half a fruit) contains about 108ml of water.16 While plain old regular water should be your main hydration source, water-rich foods can also help keep you topped up.
We’ve already raved about grapefruit’s vitamin C content and how it can help support your immune system, but did you also know vitamin C is an antioxidant?
Antioxidants protect the cells in your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Vitamin C, along with beta carotene, lycopene and flavanones make grapefruit a very potent antioxidant, as well as beneficial in other ways:
Not only does this tangy treat do wonders for the inside of your body, it can help look after the outside too.
Grapefruit benefits for skin include:
If you want to give it a try, look for grapefruit seed extract in your skincare products.
Handpicked content: Grapefruit's benefits for skin
Love that aroma that gets released when you slice into a fresh grapefruit? Well now you can enjoy it without a grapefruit to hand with grapefruit essential oil.
It is usually chosen for its cleansing and clarifying effects and is said to help improve mental clarity and self-confidence in some people.
Simply pop a few drops into your diffuser, vapouriser or bath. You can also use it as a massage oil when you blend it with a carrier oil like Sweet Almond Oil.
One of the best benefits of grapefruit is how easy it is to eat! Whether you slice half a grapefruit for breakfast, opt for juicing grapefruit or try your hand at grilled grapefruit, you’re never too long away from a tasty grapefruit fix.
Keep reading to find out all the delicious ways you can enjoy grapefruit.
So how do you eat a grapefruit?
Best and easiest way to eat a grapefruit? Take a room temp or chilled grapefruit, slice it in half, and get stuck in! Dust with a little sugar, honey or syrup if you want an extra sugar kick.
Slice it up, get that rind off and juice up your grapefruit to enjoy a hit of its vitamins and minerals without having to sit down and eat it.
The beauty of grapefruit juice is that you can enjoy it on the go or juice lots to keep in in the fridge so it’s ready to enjoy every morning.
Like any fruit juice, grapefruit juice benefits must be enjoyed in moderation as fresh juices can contain a ton of sugar and very little fibre when compared to their whole fruit past.
Handpicked content: The health benefits of grapefruit juice
Believe it or not, the sweet and sour grapefruit makes a perfect salad accompaniment. Try combining it with:
And other salad ingredients to see if it floats your boat – it’s sure to tantalise your taste buds in one way or another!
For a fancier way to enjoy grapefruit at breakfast or as an after-dinner dessert, then try grilling it with brown sugar, butter or honey for a rich yet healthy treat.
Yep, grapefruit is one of the only fruits considered suitable for the keto diet.
Not for most of us no – it’s very good for you!
However, there are a few people who shouldn’t eat grapefruit, which we will get on to next.
Research suggests that eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice may interact with certain medicines. For example, grapefruit and statins don’t tend to go together very well.22
This is because grapefruit contains compounds that inhibit an enzyme called cytochrome P450, which your body uses to metabolise some medications. The medications most likely to be affected by grapefruit include:23
If you eat grapefruit while on these medications, your body may not be able to break them down properly, which could cause adverse effects or even an overdose.24
If you are on any of these medications or similar, please consult your doctor before adding grapefruit into your diet.
Like any citrus fruit, eating too much grapefruit, especially grapefruit juice, could lead to the erosion of your tooth enamel.
This is because it contains citric acid, a compound that can cause enamel erosion if consumed in excess.25
However, there are some things you can do to protect your tooth enamel while enjoying grapefruit and other citrus fruits:
As with all foods, you may be allergic to grapefruit, so be mindful of that if you haven’t tried it before.
Last updated: 28 April 2021
Joined Holland & Barrett: Apr 2019
Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.
After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.