Does Grapefruit Lower Blood Pressure?
The Pros (and Cons) of the Citrus Super Food
Do you often take note of grapefruit for sale online or at your grocery store? If grapefruit isn’t a regular part of your diet, it may seem at first like the orange’s larger, tarter cousin, mainstay of dieters everywhere. But don’t dismiss this citrus super food out of hand…apart from being listed among Health.com’s 20 best foods to eat for breakfast, a sweet grapefruit can add a crisp, refreshing grapefruit taste to many recipes (such as salsa and fish). And the fact that fresh grapefruit can add a lot of nutrition and hydration to your diet for very few calories makes it supremely good for you. But just how good for you is grapefruit? And do types of grapefruit help lower blood pressure?
Over 70 Million Americans Have High Blood Pressure
According to the Mayo Clinic, new cases of hypertension (blood pressure above 140/90) affect more than 3 million Americans each year. A common condition that develops over many years, nearly everyone will be affected by high blood pressure at some point – as well as the problems that go along with it, which can include heart disease and stroke.
The good news is that high blood pressure is easy to detect and, once detected, controllable with medical supervision. It’s also preventable, and that’s where Florida grapefruit comes in.
The Best Grapefruits’ Affect on Your Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that eating grapefruit every day can lower systolic blood pressure by as much as five points. This may be due to grapefruit’s high levels of potassium, which neutralize the negative effects of sodium (a common cause of hypertension). So when asking the question, “does grapefruit lower blood pressure,” the answer is “yes” – but those already taking blood pressure medication need to be wary before adding grapefruit to their diet.
White grapefruit, ruby red grapefruit, and other grapefruit varieties shouldn’t be used as a treatment for high blood pressure. According to the FDA, grapefruit can be dangerous to people taking medications to lower blood pressure. Because it can inhibit enzymes that help break down medications in the body, grapefruit and grapefruit juice can cause too much of certain medications to remain in the body, resulting in potentially dangerous levels of certain drugs in people who consume them at the same time.
Taking blood pressure lowering drugs doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up eating grapefruit entirely, though. Consult your health care provider or pharmacist about your concerns – they can advise you on when, how or how much grapefruit you can add to your diet.
If you’re not taking medication for high blood pressure, read on to learn how adding grapefruit to your diet can help keep you from developing hypertension in the first place.
Grapefruit as a Preventative for High Blood Pressure
- Grapefruit can help you maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases risk for high blood pressure. Grapefruit is low in calories (about 40 calories for half a medium grapefruit), and because it’s high in fiber and water content it’s very filling. Studies have shown that people who eat half a fresh grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice before each meal lose more weight than people who don’t, and the portability of the fruit makes it easy to take it along with you for when you’re in need of a snack.
- Grapefruit can help you stay hydrated. High blood pressure is common in people who are chronically dehydrated. Our bodies get 20% of our hydration from the food we eat. Grapefruit is 92% water, giving it one of the highest water contents of any fruit.
- Grapefruit pith is high in fiber. Don’t neglect to eat the pith of a grapefruit! A high-fiber diet is associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure levels among people with hypertension. The pith of a grapefruit (that white, papery membrane below the rind) is rich in dietary fiber.
- Grapefruit has high levels of antioxidants. There’s growing evidence that plant-based antioxidants, like those found in grapefruit (especially red grapefruit), have a slight blood-pressure lowering effect. Antioxidants in general may also play a key role in preventing cancer.
- Grapefruit packs a hefty dose of vitamin C in each serving. According to scientists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, high doses of vitamin C (about 500 mg per day) may produce small reductions in blood pressure. A single serving of flame grapefruit, yellow grapefruit and other types of grapefruit deliver 80% of your recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C for the day.
These are just a few of the many health benefits of eating grapefruit every day, making it an ideal addition to most any diet when grapefruit season comes around. While you should take some precautions with grapefruit if you’re on certain medications, those with a family history of hypertension can certainly benefit from enjoying this super fruit.