Superfood's dark side
The grapefruit is more than just a superfood. But despite all of the known benefits of grapefruit, there are still some looming cautions.
The scientific classification given to grapefruit, Citrus paradisi, loosely translates as citrus fruit from paradise. Although papayas and mangos are better known as fruits of paradise, grapefruits outdo them with over 300 known therapeutic ingredients ranging from alpha-linolenic acid and limonene to calcium and phosphorus.
The grapefruit is more than just a superfood. It is commonly used as an additive for flavouring and as a base in many beverages. It also works as an essential oil to improve mood, revive the mind, and stimulate the digestive system. The grapefruit offers a number of medicinal benefits, acting as an acne remedy or antifungal when applied topically.
In order to get the attention of a nutritionist these days, a superfood has to be loaded with antioxidants. It must also have a high oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), which is the ability to absorb free radicals and dangerous disease-producing molecules, thus detoxifying the body. Grapefruits contain a very high ORAC value.
They also flaunt high levels of vitamin C, folic acid, and lycopene while containing few calories, no fat, and plenty of fibre.
Despite all of the known benefits of grapefruit, there are still some looming cautions. Unfortunately, the grapefruit and its juice have possible interactions with some prescription medications. These medications interact with grapefruit and grapefruit juice, causing the medication to become more intense.
Grapefruits contain chemicals that interfere with the enzymes that break down certain drugs in the digestive system. This can result in excessively high levels of these drugs in the blood and an increased risk of serious side effects. Check with your physician or pharmacist to make sure grapefruit will not affect your prescription medications.
Since we’re discussing the sour side of grapefruit, preliminary research suggests that consuming grapefruit every day may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This is a very preliminary study and more research is clearly needed.
Despite this caution and some possible interactions with prescription drugs, grapefruit offers vitamins, minerals, fibre, flavonoids, and antioxidants that benefit us in a multitude of ways.
Research shows that people with diets rich in the antioxidants found in grapefruit did better on standardized tests measuring brain function. This included language skills, logic, and memory. While caution is advised, the advantages outweigh the risks. Think pink!