Grapefruit is a healthy addition to any day. Red grapefruit is particularly beneficial because it is full of antioxidants like lycopene, vitamin C and beta-carotene. However, you may have noticed that grapefruit causes you more pain than it is worth. While most people can eat a grapefruit a day with no problems, several a day may cause a number of severe or chronic problems.
Although uncommon, grapefruit allergies do occur. Oftentimes, a grapefruit allergy causes mild and subtle reactions, making it difficult to determine whether an allergy exists. But symptoms will typically arise within a few minutes of eating a grapefruit, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Some common signs of an allergy include hives, stomach cramps, itchy mouth and even anaphylaxis. If you think you may have an allergy to grapefruit, it is important to get an allergy test to prevent any life-threatening complications that may result.
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Grapefruit interacts with many commonly used drugs, including cholesterol-lowering medications, blood pressure medicines, prescription vitamin supplements and many antidepressants. It is believed that the problem arises because a grapefruit has the ability to increase the potency of these drugs and supplements. This effect increases the likelihood of experiencing side effects from your prescriptions. Furthermore, large amounts of grapefruit can increase a woman's risk of developing blood clots while taking birth control pills. According to an article in the MailOnline, large amounts of grapefruit block an enzyme that digests the estrogen found in birth control pills. With estrogen levels increased, blood clots become more likely. If you are taking any of these medications, it is important to talk about all possible interactions with your doctor.
Dentist Daniel Ziskin of the Columbia University Dental College claims that the high concentration of citric acid in grapefruit can soften tooth enamel. This softening of the enamel leaves your teeth susceptible to cavities and erosion. To help prevent dental problems, avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating a grapefruit, and always brush with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Vigorous brushing may push the acids of the fruit further into your teeth, exacerbating the problem.
The citric acid in grapefruit can make stomach problems worse. If you have frequent stomach pains as the result of gastritis, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests limiting your intake of grapefruit and other citrus fruits. Citric acids may also worsen stomach problems caused by ulcers, heartburn or indigestion.
- "The New York Times"; The Dangers of Grapefruit Juice; Nicholas Bakalar; March 2006
- Mail Online; Grapefruit Diet Warning After Blood Clot Scare; Daniel Martin; April 2009
- "Time" Magazine: Lay That Lemon Down
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America; Food Allergies; 1995
- Ohio State University Extension; Chow Line: Grapefruit Offers More Than Vitamin C; Martha Filipic; January 2011
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gastritis