By Elizabeth Gonzalez Diaz
Tangy with an undeniable sweetness, the grapefruit has a certain juiciness that rivals even the orange and sparkles with the similar type of health benefits. Although the grapefruit is available through the year, it is also popular this season and at the very best in winter and early spring. Grapefruits usually range in diameter from four to six inches and including both seed to seedless and pink to white varieties.
The Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, a vitamin that supports the immune system. Grapefruit helps reduce cold symptoms and the severity of cold symptoms. The vitamin C in grapefruit also prevents free radical damage that enforces the inflammatory cascade, and is therefore associated with reducing the symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition to vitamin C, the rich pink and red colors of the grapefruit are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. Lycopene has an anti-tumor activity and has the highest capacity to kill off oxygen free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells. According to a study published by the Asia Pacific journal of Clinical Journal, men who mostly ate grapefruit daily were found to have at least reduced the risk of prostate cancer by almost 90 percent compared to those who didn’t.
Grapefruit also lowers cholesterol because of the stored pectin, a form of soluble fiber that slows down the progression of arthrosclerosis. In one study, animals that were fed a high-cholesterol diet with grapefruit pectin had a 20 percent narrowing their arteries, while animals fed the high cholesterol diet without grapefruit pectin had nearly a 50 percent narrowing of artieries.
Grapefruit juice significantly increases the production and activity of liver detoxification enzymes responsible for toxic compounds in the body. Grapefruit increases the activity not only of the Phase I enzyme CYP1A 1, but also the amount of NAD (P) H: quinine reductase 1, a phase II detoxicifcation enzyme that protects cells against oxidative stress and toxic quinines.
Furthermore, naringenin, a flavonoid concentrated in grapefruit, helps repair damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells. Naringenin helps restore health to damaged DNA by inducing two enzymes that repair DNA during the replication stage. These enzymes, 8-oxoguanime-DNA glycosylase 1 (hOGG1), and DNA polymerase beta (DNA poly beta) are both involved in the DNA base excision repair (BER) pathway.
Note: Elizabeth is a nutritionist who lives in Palm Coast, Florida. She wrote this piece especially for CSMS Magazine.
Also see Lemon and Lime: nature’s sour fruits