Skip to content

Grapefruit: The #1 Detox Food

This citrus fruit has countless health benefits. We break down every one.

Pomegranate was the magical fruit in Greek mythology, but today it's grapefruit that can work wonders on your body. The citrus fruit helps to detox your system and melts inches from your waist.

What is Detoxing?

First, let's redefine "detoxing." Don't think of it as something you do to repair your body from misbehavior or whenever you feel sluggish. ("The body does an amazing job all on its own and does not need silly detox programs to cleanse it," Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND tells us.)

Consider it more of a permanent process, one in which you consciously choose to eat the cleanest, least processed foods possible and swap sugary junk for healthy-but-still-satisfying treats. You'll have more energy, feel better overall and get a head start on weight loss. Then superfoods like grapefruit can supercharge your results.

How Does Grapefruit Help You Lose Weight?

And what can those be? Studies have found exciting evidence. Namely, the easiest thing you can do to trim your waist is to eat half a grapefruit before each meal. You could lose up to an inch in just six weeks! That's what happened in a study published in the journal Metabolism. According to the researchers, grapefruit's natural phytochemicals have fat-melting properties.

Another study in Japan found that the scent of grapefruit will turn on calorie-burning brown fat cells and reduce appetite.

"There are many foods that aid weight loss, but one that I often recommend to my clients and eat myself is grapefruit," says Patricia Bannon, MS, RDN, author of Eat Right When Time is Tight. "Researchers at Scripps Clinic in San Diego found that when obese people ate half a grapefruit before each meal, they dropped an average of 3.5 pounds over 12 weeks. Apparently, the tangy fruit can lower insulin, a fat-storage hormone, and that can lead to weight loss. Plus, since it's at least 90 percent water, it can fill you up so you eat less."

How Does Grapefruit Play a Role in Detoxing?

When it comes to detoxing in the classic sense, grapefruit is one of the best fruits to help your liver and kidneys clear your blood of impurities. Scientists attribute that to its high level of pectin, a gelatinous fiber that sticks to toxins in the blood and flushes them out of the body through the urine. In one study, citrus pectin increased mercury elimination by 150 percent within 24 hours. As a weight-loss bonus, research shows pectin can limit the amount of fat your cells can absorb.

Grapefruit Can Even Support Healthy Skin

A super-bonus: Grapefruit can even help you look younger. "Citrus fruits help provide vitamin C, which promotes collagen formation and slows the effects of free radicals, helping to maintain firm and youthful skin," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of Better Than Dieting and author of Read It Before You Eat It. "Pink grapefruits also provide lycopene, an antioxidant that helps skin stay resilient and smooth."

Grapefruit gives skin such a powerful assist that it can help guard against sun damage. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that foods rich in the antioxidant lycopene (such as tomatoes, papaya and grapefruit) protected the skin against severe photodamage, which can result in wrinkles and age spots.

(Just note that grapefruit or grapefruit juice can interact negatively with certain medications, so be sure to check in with your doctor before adding it to your diet.)

You'll be amazed how many ways you can work grapefruit into savory, satisfying meals and snacks! These 20 Grapefruit Recipes for Weight Loss will give you a head start.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a seasoned writer and editor with a passion for helping people make life-improving decisions. Read more about Michael