7 Surprising Benefits of Eating Grapefruit, According to Nutritionists

A cross between an orange and a pomelo, grapefruit is a sweet but sour citrus fruit with a somewhat complicated history. On the one hand, there are many science-based reasons to make grapefruit a regular part of your diet. This low-calorie subtropical fruit offers a smorgasbord of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are good for your body. High in fiber and large in size compared to other fruits, grapefruit can be a healthy option for satisfying your appetite, balancing your gut, controlling your weight, and supporting your metabolism.

On the other hand, grapefruit has been the focus of some controversial diet fads, and in some cases it’s known to have a potentially adverse effect when eaten in conjunction with certain prescription drugs. Do the benefits outweigh these risks? We spoke to nutritionists to better understand everything about this fruit. And before we can talk about the benefits, we need to understand why some say that grapefruit isn’t necessarily the power fruit it’s often portrayed as.

Are Grapefruits Really Healthy?


Although grapefruit is a low-calorie fruit that’s also incredibly nutrient-dense, virtually every food has at least some potential downsides. When it comes to products, it often depends on how they are preserved and prepared after they have been harvested. For example, many grapefruit cups and canned grapefruit products are flavored with added sugar, which can affect the nutritional value of the raw fruit.

The health benefits of certain foods can also be exploited via trending diets that promise near-instant weight-loss solutions that rarely provide meaningful, healthy long-term results. Such is the case with the Grapefruit Diet (aka Hollywood Diet), which became popular in the 1930’s and still has proponents today. The diet is largely based on the claim that grapefruit burns fat faster than other foods. But there’s little evidence to back this up, and while grapefruit is certainly nutritious, it’s not actually blessed with magical fat-burning properties.

Grapefruit can also have an effect on certain medications.

“Grapefruit interacts with many drugs, which can lead to over- or under-dosing of the drug in our bodies,” she says Nicole Lindel, RD, an ambulatory gastrointestinal nutritionist and consultant at Everly Health. “For example, grapefruit may block the action of enzymes needed to break down certain cholesterol-lowering drugs like Lipitor.”

Other drugs that may interact with grapefruit include statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs), anti-anxiety drugs, corticosteroids, and antihistamines. So if you love a good grapefruit but are also taking a prescription drug like any of the above, you should talk to your doctor about whether it’s safe to include in your diet.

The benefits of eating grapefruit

Despite the above disadvantages, the benefits of eating grapefruit are extensive. To help us identify some of the science-backed reasons for loving this fruit, we’ve delved deep into the research behind how eating grapefruit can affect your body, including reaching out to registered ones Nutritionists and other experts for more insight.

Read on to find out how this superfood can benefit your body — and for even more revelations about what could potentially happen if you add more citrus to your diet, be sure to read I Drank Lemon Water Every Morning For 30 Days & Noticed These 5 life-changing effects.


These tart pink delights provide a hefty dose of vitamin C. Just 100 grams of fresh red or pink grapefruit yield over 30 milligrams of this vitamin. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that “a whole, medium-sized grapefruit provides you with 100% of your daily requirement for vitamin C,” and this powerful antioxidant helps your immune system defend itself against harmful bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. Research published about nutrient Assessing the correlation between vitamin C and immune system function also shows that increased vitamin C intake can even help treat respiratory and systemic infections that affect your airways and bloodstream, respectively.

insulin resistance

Gabriela Barreto, MS, RD, CDN, a women’s sports nutritionist, points to research that suggests how eating grapefruit might help with insulin resistance. A study published in Medicinal Food Journal had shown that when participants consumed half a grapefruit before a meal, compared to grapefruit juice and a placebo, participants saw a reduction in two-hour post-meal postmeal blood glucose levels, as well as an overall reduction in insulin resistance.

Hold a grapefruit slice

A standard cup of grapefruit contains about 300 milligrams of potassium per serving, which is almost as much as the potassium in a banana, the poster child for high-potassium foods.

“Potassium’s roles in the body include acting as the main electrolyte for maintaining fluid balance and hydration, maintaining the heartbeat, muscle contraction, and nerve function, and transporting fluids in and out of cells such as waste products,” Barreto says.

Additionally, potassium may help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension, making it an even better choice.

eat grapefruit

As you already know, grapefruit contains a large amount of vitamin C per serving and therefore can help increase collagen production. Collagen production tends to decrease with age, so adding grapefruit to your diet can help your body produce more.

“Collagen makes up about 30% of bone structure, a large amount of tendon and ligament tissue, and is important for skin and blood vessel structure,” says Barreto.

heart disease

If you’re looking for foods that will keep your heart healthy, grapefruit is a great option. “Grapefruit supports heart health thanks to its high fiber, potassium, and antioxidant content,” she says Breanna Woods, MS RDRegistered Dietitian and Nutrition Director for Blogilates.

Barreto adds that studies like this one from the National Library of Medicine have found an association between grapefruit consumption and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, acute coronary events and ischemic stroke.

RELATED: 7 Best Dinner Recipes for Better Heart Health

grapefruit with meal

Well, we’ve already established that grapefruit isn’t proven to accelerate fat loss. But it’s a filling, low-calorie food, meaning it can help you maintain a calorie deficit, making it an excellent weight-loss tool. Woods points out that grapefruit is high in fiber, which can help keep you feeling full longer, which can be good for weight loss.


According to Barreto, a single grapefruit has nearly 64% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C for adults. However, vitamin C can help with iron absorption due to its high vitamin C concentration.

“Iron is important for carrying oxygen through the bloodstream via red blood cells to get oxygen to the cells,” says Barreto.

A previous version of this story was published on June 7, 2022. It has since been updated to include additional copies and proofreading, further research, and updated contextual links.

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