When you hear about the benefits of grapefruit, it’s usually a part of a weight loss program. However, researchers are discovering that grapefruit may also be a heart-healthy fruit.
A study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has investigated the long-term vascular benefits of grapefruit juice consumption in otherwise healthy postmenopausal women.
A total of 48 women between the ages of 50 and 65 years were enrolled in the study. The women were all between 3-10 years postmenopausal, with a BMI or 19-30kg/m2. The participants were directed to drink 340ml of grapefruit juice per day for six months. After a two month break, the participants were then directed to drink 340ml of a control drink per day for six months. This control drink did not contain the flavanones that are found in grapefruit juice.
The study reported a significant reduction in arterial stiffness following the grapefruit juice portion of the study, compared with the control drink portion of the study. Other parameters that were measured included blood pressure, glucose metabolism, inflammatory biomarkers, and markers of oxidative stress. None of these measures were affected by grapefruit juice consumption.
The authors of the study conclude that drinking grapefruit juice has benefits for arterial stiffness in this population of women, which may be a result of the flavanones present in grapefruit juice. Stiffness, or hardening of the arteries (also called arteriosclerosis), makes it more difficult for the heart to pump and the blood to flow through the body, and can lead to cardiovascular complications. This study adds to the body of evidence demonstrating that lifestyle factors can greatly reduce the risk of diseases involving the cardiovascular system.
Habauzit V, Verny MA, Milenkovic D, Barber-Chamoux N, Mazur A, Dubray C, Morand C. “Flavanones protect from arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women consuming grapefruit juice for 6 mo: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jul;102(1):66-74. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.104646. Epub 2015 May 27.
Image courtesy of Keattikorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD