Grapefruit: what are its main nutrients?

Grapefruit is a citrus fruit that belongs to the rutáceas family and that comes from the Citrus paradisi tree . About 15 centimeters in size, it is covered with a thick and fleshy shell, yellow or pinkish . Its origin is not known, but as in the rest of citrus, it is believed that it may come from Asia. The Interprofessional Association of Lemon and Grapefruit ( Ailimpo ) and the Spanish Nutrition Foundation ( FEN ), point out that grapefruit occurs in tropical and subtropical climates around the world.

Although they occur in these climates, it can be consumed in the rest of the world. As this citrus -depending on the variety in question- ripens between autumn in winter, it is possible to ingest it in the months of October, November, December, January, February and March.


Although it is taken in all the countries of the world, it is not one of the most common citrus fruits, at least in Spain. As recalled by the Spanish Association of Juice Manufacturers ( Asozumos ), its consumption is markedly lower than that of orange, tangerine or lemon . Despite this, grapefruit is a different alternative that has numerous nutrients.

Ailimpo and FEN point out which are the main ones:

1) Carbohydrates

Water is the most abundant component, with just over 90 percent of grapefruit. It is, therefore, a good diuretic. In addition, it contains little caloric value (only 35 calories per 100 grams of fruit). The few calories in this fruit come from  carbohydrates  (7 grams per 100 grams of grapefruit).

2) Vitamin C

It is also rich in vitamin C . In fact, a grapefruit exceeds the recommended daily intake of this nutrient by approximately 30 milligrams. Vitamin C is important because it promotes the development of collagen and red blood cells and improves the absorption of iron from food.

The folic acid has some presence, although not as representative . Despite this, it should be noted that this acid influences the development of red blood cells and white blood cells, the formation of genetic material and the development of antibodies of the immune system.

3) Malic, oxalic, tartaric and citric acids

Other compounds in grapefruit are malic, oxalic, tartaric and citric acids, which give this fruit its characteristic flavor .

4) Flavonoids

Grapefruit juice contains flavonoids such as naringin, naringenin, and quercetin . The amounts of these compounds vary depending on the variety in question, the maturity of the fruit, the climatic conditions of the place where it is developed and the juice manufacturing procedure.

The most abundant of the three is naringin, an element that is not found in the rest of citrus and that gives this fruit its bitterness.

5) Minerals, fiber and carotenoids

In addition to these flavonoids, grapefruit contains two minerals : potassium and magnesium . Fiber has a little less presence , which contributes only 1.6 grams per 100 grams of citrus, less than in other fruits. This fiber is found mainly between the pulp and the rind, in the white part.

As for carotenoids, they only have a significant presence in the variety that has dark-colored pulp.

Grapefruit types

All these nutrients are common in all varieties, but there are four varieties of grapefruit that must be differentiated. The names of the different types change depending on the place of origin, size and color.

Ailimpo and FEN highlight that there are fundamentally four types and the essential characteristics of each one:

1) White grapefruit

This grapefruit is characterized by having a medium size and weighing about 300 grams. The pulp is light cream in color and the skin, smooth in texture, has a pale or soft yellow hue. A lot of juice is obtained from this variety and it is the most acidic and consumed in Spain. It is usually ingested in October.

2) pink grapefruit

Called pink grapefruit for the color of its flesh and skin, this type is an important source of lycopene . It is also collected in October.

3) Star Ruby

It stands out because its juice content is superior to other varieties. It is recognized for being a medium-sized fruit, lacking seeds. It has a thin skin, with a smell between tan yellow and red.

4) Red River

Rio Red is also known as Ray Ruby or Henderson. It has a less intense color than Star Ruby , a variety that it exceeds in size, although it does not contain as much juice as this one.

It is not common to take Río Red in Spain. This is corroborated by data from Ailimpo and FEN, which indicate that in this country only 16.4 percent of the population consumes it frequently, compared to 83.6 percent who do not usually take it. Another 39.2 percent of the population has tried it on occasion, but did not like it.

Drug interaction

Although one or the other variety is preferred, the juice of all these varieties is consumed by everyone. The Spanish Society of Hospital Pharmacy highlights its role as a protector against cardiovascular diseases and cancers .

Even so, for years the interaction of citrus fruits, especially grapefruit juice, with some medications has been studied.

This study indicates that grapefruit juice increases the plasma concentrations of different medications . This increase has been associated with increases in the frequency of adverse effects .

Some of the drugs in which this interaction occurs are:

  • Antimalarials(artemeter and halofantrine)
  • Antiarrhythmics(amiodarone and propafenone)
  • Antibiotics(erythromycin)
  • Anticonvulsants(carbamazepine)
  • Antihistamines(astemizole, terfenadine, and phenoxyphenadine)
  • Antineoplastics(etoposide)
  • Antiparasitic(praziquantel and albendazole)
  • Calcium channel blockers(amlodipine, felodipine, lacidipine, diltiazem, lercanidipine, nifedipine, nimodipine, nisoldipine, nitrendipine, barnidipine, and verapamil)
  • Oral contraceptives(ethinyl estradiol)
  • Benzodiapezines(diazepam, midazolam, and triazolam)
  • Beta-blockers(celiprolol)
  • Protease inhibitors(saquinavir)
  • Immunosuppressants(cyclosporine, sirolimus, and tacrolimus)
  • Other  psychiatric medications(buspirone, clomipramine, fluvoxamine, and sertraline)
  • Corticosteroids(budesodine, methylprednisolone, and prednisone)
  • Prokinetics(cisapride)
  • Others(sildenafil, vardenafil and ivabradine)

You can also consume grapefruit accompanied by other foods, if you want to get ideas you can read this news r ecetas with grapefruit .


Leave a Comment