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Does Grapefruit Aid in Digestion?

author image Jamie Yacoub
Jamie Yacoub is a clinical outpatient Registered Dietitian, expert in nutrition and author of her cookbook "Modern Guide to Food and Eating: Low Glycemic Recipes". She obtained a Bachelor of Science in clinical nutrition from UC Davis and an MPH in nutrition from Loma Linda University. Yacoub then completed her dietetic internship as an intern for a Certified Specialist in sports nutrition and at a top-100 hospital.
Does Grapefruit Aid in Digestion?
A halved grapefruit with spices. Photo Credit: Anna Pustynnikova/iStock/Getty Images

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.

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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.

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