Although the fiber in grapefruit undoubtedly aids your digestion by moving things along and by helping to keep you regular, promising evidence reveals that other nutrients in grapefruit could also optimize your digestion. This is particularly true if you have type-2 diabetes or are at risk for getting type-2 diabetes, as grapefruit improves the digestive hormone insulin. Make sure your doctor says it is OK before you add grapefruit in any form to your diet, though, since grapefruit can interact with many different medications.
May Improve Insulin Levels in Your Blood
Researchers who published an article on nutrition errors and myths in 2013 in the journal "Nutricion Hospitalara" concluded that evidence tends to support grapefruit as a weight-loss food. This could likely be accredited to how grapefruit extract may block the digestion and absorption of some of the carbohydrates you eat. One study published in 2013 in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" showed that frapefruit extract given to laboratory rats did just that. This led to lower blood sugars after eating, and improved insulin levels in the blood. Insulin is a digestive hormone that plays a key role in blood sugar metabolism, so proper insulin levels in your body are important for your digestive health.
May Help Metabolism
Metabolic syndrome consists of a number of conditions, including abdominal obesity, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and elevated blood sugar. Combined, these conditions lead to a risk for type-2 diabetes. Researchers of a study on grapefruit and metabolic syndrome published in "Journal of Medicinal Food" in 2006 found that consumption of grapefruit, whether eaten as half the whole fruit or in juice or capsule form, led to more weight loss and lower blood sugar in 91 obese people.
How Grapefruit Works on Your Metabolism
A flavonoid is an antioxidant compound found in many foods. A majority of the flavonoid content in grapefruits are hesperidin and naringin, according to researchers of a review article published in 2010 in "Cardiovascular Journal of Africa." The researchers explain that naringin has been shown to act somewhat like insulin and may be involved in fat metabolism. Researchers of this review also explain that vitamin C, another nutrient found in high quantities in grapefruit, naringin and hesperidin, may improve type-2 diabetes and metabolic system measurements by regulating and affecting several digestive enzymes.
Grapefruit Gets Things Moving
Grapefruit is a good source of fiber, and it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber -- both of which can help improve digestion. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugars, which are metabolic syndrome parameters, while insoluble fiber prevents constipation, thus improving digestion. One medium grapefruit has about 3.2 grams of fiber. Of these 3.2 grams of fiber, 2.2 grams is soluble fiber and 1 gram is insoluble fiber.
- Nutricion Hospitalaria: Errors and Myths in Feeding and Nutrition: Impact on the Problems of Obesity
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Helichrysum and Grapefruit Extracts Inhibit Carbohydrate Digestion and Absorption, Improving Postprandial Glucose Levels and Hyperinsulinemia in Rats
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Human Digestive System: Individual Hormones
- Cardiovascular Journal of Africa: The Grapefruit: An Old Wine in a New Glass? Metabolic and Cardiovascular Perspectives
- Journal of Medicinal Food: The Effects of Grapefruit on Weight and Insulin Resistance: Relationship to the Metabolic Syndrome
- Harvard University Health Services: Fiber Content of Foods in Common Portions
- Linus Pauling Institute: Flavonoids
- Clemson University: Nutrient Claims on Food Labels