Since it was only just discovered around the 18th century in Barbados, grapefruit is a relative newcomer to the health food scene. In fact, Capt. Shaddock is credited with first farming seeds from the pomelo and the orange, which ultimately led to the grapefruit.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that the grapefruit made its way to the United States when some Florida farmers brought it over. It quickly became a popular commercial crop. Today, the grapefruit grows mainly in Florida, Texas, Arizona, California and countries such as South Africa, Brazil and Israel.
Other than the fact that it’s low in calories, the great thing about grapefruit, which is also known by its scientific name Citrus Paradise, is that one medium grapefruit contains more than 80 different vitamins and nutrients, including:
- Vitamin B1 (8.2% DV)
- Biotin (8.4% DV)
- Potassium (10% DV)
- Fiber (11.2% DV)
- Copper (13.2% DV)
- Pantothenic acid (14.4% DV)
- Vitamin A (79% DV)
- Vitamin C (107.4% DV)
The Many Health Benefits of Grapefruit
In addition to contributing to weight loss thanks to its enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which contributes to the burning of excess sugar, grapefruit is also effective at burning fat. In fact, the grapefruit engages the body’s fat burning capacity before the first bite is ever taken.
Japanese researchers looked at the effects of olfactory stimulation (smell factor) on autonomic nerves, appetite and lipolysis (fat metabolism). Here’s what they discovered:
- Grapefruit’s aromatherapy can stimulate weight loss by activating specific sympathetic nerves responsible for supplying the brown adipose tissue and adrenal glands.
- Ghrelin-induced feeding, a natural process that causes people to develop the munchies, can be slowed via the parasympathetic gastric nerve while smelling grapefruit oil.
- Essential oils must reach the brain in order to be effective. We know this because local anesthesia in the nose and nasal passages halted these changes.
- Researchers saw elevated plasma glycerol levels, another sign of weight loss since energy stores are metabolized into glucose.
- Lastly, lipolysis was boosted via what is known as a histaminergic response.
The unbelievable findings in this research show that even limited exposure (15 minutes a week) to grapefruit essential oil is effective at reducing appetite and weight loss.
It’s Not Just About Weight Loss: Other Grapefruit Benefits
Inhaling grapefruit extract stimulates the nervous system nearly two and a half times, which is the most effective way to reduce cellulite, according to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. Moreover, these two others forms of grapefruit have also been found to be beneficial:
Fresh Grapefruit Juice
Media reports show the grapefruit is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent as well as a skin cleanser mostly due to its significant levels of the enzyme bromelain, which is a known cellulite killer.
When attempting to get rid of unsightly cellulite, consider a one-day fast once a week consisting only of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and purified water. This process has two benefits: giving your digestive system a break and burning away cellulite.
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Grapefruit essential oil can be used topically with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or almond oil. This can help reduce cellulite by attacking the source directly and detoxifying the skin. Simply mix 10 drops of grapefruit essential oil with 1 ounce of pure almond or coconut oil and rub it directly onto the skin where rejuvenation is needed.
If you’ve ever shopped for any cosmetic or skin products, I am sure you’ve noticed that grapefruit is a common ingredient. In fact, this ad from Neutrogena says it all:
Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes – Pink Grapefruit
Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes feature soft, pre-moistened wipes that thoroughly cleanse skin of pore clogging impurities, all with an uplifting blast of pink grapefruit. Oil-free and ideal for acne-prone skin, the wipes sweep away pore-clogging dirt and oil in one simple step, leaving skin clean with no greasy residue, so there's no need to rinse!
Clearly, grapefruit's cleansing powers are well known in the mainstream cosmetics and anti-aging industry. The grouping of neurocognitive restorative, anti-inflammatory, and immunity boosting properties discussed above generate an influential dynamic recounting how grapefruit helps rid the body of poisons and excess waste.
Grapefruit is loaded with Vitamin C, so you probably won’t be able to find anyone who can argue against its powerful nutritional value. Especially the red and pink assortments, which are jam-packed with bioflavonoids for an added immune boost. And here’s something fascinating: Nigerian herbalists have used an alcohol concoction of grapefruit seed to fight diabetes and anemia for centuries.
American folklore is deeply rooted in evidence-based science, according to the Nigerian Quarterly of Hospital Medicine, which published a first-of-its-kind look in 2008. Not only did the study prove that oral treatments of methanol seed extract of Citrus paradisi Macfad (MECP) caused noteworthy drops in triglycerides and cholesterol, but that fasting plasma glucose levels fell to levels similar to metformin, a known prescription drug for diabetics.
The secret behind withdrawing such a diversity of risk factors for chronic disease could be the copious source of phytochemicals stored within MECP. According to the study, “Phytochemical results showed the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, tannins and saponin in varying concentrations. The biological effects recorded for the extract could be due to any or a combination of these phytochemical constituents.”
Grapefruit essential oil has widespread impacts on cognitive function, which is illustrated by a Japanese study published in the journal Natural Product Letters that uncovered how grapefruit impedes acetylcholinesterase (AChE) by up to 25 percent. The enzyme AChE helps to break down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and is used to treat the following conditions:
- Postural tachycardia syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Lucid dreaming
- Myathenia gravia
- Alzheimer's disease
It is thought provoking when we consider that the most shared side effects related to taking AChE inhibitors for these disorders are connected to gastrointestinal complaints and include loss of appetite and weight loss. This is where grapefruit essential oil stands out above all others. Can you envision a drug that helps reinstate neurocognitive function, contributes to weight loss and has virtually zero side effects? I can, it’s grapefruit!
- Miyazawa M, Tougo H, Ishihara M. Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity by essential oil from Citrus paradisi. Nat Prod Lett 2001; 15(3):205-10.
- Niijima A, Nagai K. Effect of olfactory stimulation with flavor of grapefruit oil and lemon oil on the activity of sympathetic branch in the white adipose tissue of the epididymis. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2003; 228(10):1190-2.
- Shen J, et al. Olfactory stimulation with scent of grapefruit oil affects autonomic nerves, lipolysis and appetite in rats. Neurosci Lett 2005; 380(3):289-94.
- Date Y, et al. The role of the gastric afferent vagal nerve in ghrelin-induced feeding and growth hormone secretion in rats. Gastroenterology 2002; 123(4):1120-8.
- Adeneye AA. Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of methanol seed extract of Citrus paradisi Macfad (Rutaceae) in alloxan-induced diabetic Wistar rats. Nig Q J Hosp Med 2008; 18(4):211-5.
- Rawlings AV. Cellulite and its treatment. Int J Cos Sci 2008; 28(3): 175-190.