Grapefruits, which come from the citrus family (also consisting of oranges, tangerines, mandarins, lemons and limes), are packed with vitamin C and can give your immune system the boost that it needs. Along with vitamin C, it’s also rich in other nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, thiamine, folate, fibre and protein. Additionally, grapefruit also has the ability to reduce your risk of heart disease as well and can even help you maintain a healthy weight given that they are low in calories (a medium-sized grapefruit usually contains around 50 calories.) If you’re someone who is at risk of developing diabetes, then eating grapefruit regularly may help in preventing that – specifically type II diabetes. Aside from vitamin C, grapefruit is also rich in other antioxidants such as beta-carotene (which converts into vitamin A), lycopene, and flavanones. These antioxidants can help reduce the risk of developing various chronic conditions (like heart disease, eye disorders, and even cancer.)
There are many ways to enjoy grapefruit – either by consuming it on its own, mixing it into a kale and avocado salad, or by blending it into a smoothie with some of your other favourite fruits. It’s also a much healthier alternative to other unhealthy desserts like cakes, cookies or pastries – and given all of the benefits mentioned, it’s probably something you’re already considering adding to your diet – if not right away then in the near future. However, before doing so, you may want to stop and pause to consider the potential risks that can also come along with consuming this both sweet and sour fruit.
The number one reason why grapefruit is sometimes avoided is due to its potential interactions with medications. Because grapefruit contains certain substances that inhibit the enzyme known as cytochrome P450, your body may not be able to break down certain medications properly. This can then lead to adverse side effects and even a potential medication overdose. The following medications are some of the most common to interact with the consumption of grapefruit:
• Calcium channel blockers
When it comes to Indinavir and Carbamazepine specifically, it has been concluded that grapefruit juice can increase gastric pH, which can delay the absorption of the drug (Indinavir); or it can lead to an increase in the level of the drug in your system and enhance their effects (Carbamazepine and Oxycodone.) If this occurs, some signs that you should watch for and report to your doctor immediately include dizziness, nausea, visual disturbances and muscle weakness. Pharmacists will likely warn you about any risks associated with grapefruit and medications you take (and medications will also be appropriately labeled if grapefruit is something you should avoid while taking a specific medication), but if you have any questions or concerns then you also shouldn’t hesitate to bring them up as well.
Another reason that individuals may choose to stay away from grapefruit – though not a matter of life and death – is because, like other citrus fruits, grapefruit contains citrus acid which can lead to tooth enamel erosion – particularly if you consume citrus fruits in excess. If you’re someone who already has sensitive teeth then you may want to consider avoiding acidic fruits as much as possible. However, if you are going to be eating them, then you can prevent tooth enamel erosion by rinsing your mouth with water after eating grapefruit, as well as making sure you brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after eating it. You can also neutralize acidity in your mouth by eating cheese, which can also increase the production of saliva.