From the daily fortification provided by its vitamins to its effects on more serious illnesses, grapefruit juice is a nutrient-rich beverage that serves as a great supplement to any healthful diet. In its raw form, the juice carries all the vitamins and minerals found in the fruit itself. The dense concentrations of several of these nutrients make grapefruit juice an effective component of a healthful diet.
Pure grapefruit juice is packed with vitamin A and vitamin C as well as a healthy amount of folates. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, vitamin A has many health benefits, ranging from improved vision to the healthy development of soft tissue, skin and bones.
Vitamin C is found in most citrus fruits. One of its main benefits lies in its role in generating collagen, one of the main connective tissues in the body that forms the skin, ligaments, tendons and bones. Also, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron--an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen to the body's cells. The folates found in grapefruit juice help provide the building blocks for cells. This makes it necessary for the growth and maintenance of new cells in the body.
The main mineral provided by grapefruit juice is potassium. In order to properly function, the body must maintain certain levels of water within its cells. Potassium's main responsibility is to monitor fluid levels and keep them at a healthful level.
Grapefruit juice is a naturally low-fat food. However, the density of nutrients found in the juice makes it an easy way to consume vitamins and minerals while controlling one's fat intake. A moderate consumption of fat is vital to a balanced diet.
Effects on Certain Medication
One of the qualities that makes grapefruit juice a rare beverage is its interactions with the body after consumption, especially in regards to medications. While scientists have found that at times, these interactions can be dangerous, such as the mixture of grapefruit juice with certain heart medications, they've also discovered that it can act as a catalyst.
In 2009, scientists at the University of Chicago discovered that taking a certain cancer medicine weekly with a glass of grapefruit juice mimics the effect of taking the pill daily without the juice. However, the researchers noted that the juice must be fresh or fresh-frozen in order to provide the potency necessary for these results.
Other Possible Benefits
Because of its high levels of vitamin C, the benefits of grapefruit juice are often lumped in with the widespread (if not proven) benefits attributed to citrus fruits. First and foremost, there is the belief that consumption of juices high in this vitamin can help prevent the common cold.
There are also many unsubstantiated links between grapefruit juice and weight loss. Many claim that the juice and the fruit it originates from contain a certain enzyme that can prevent the body from absorbing fat and carbohydrates. It should be noted, however, that both of these theories still exist in the realm of the old wives' tale---neither have actually been proven by strong scientific evidence.
- Photo Credit Photo: Steven Fernandez http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevenfernandez/2272752165/
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