Can eating grapefruit stave off spinal fractures? That may be stretching it a bit, but according to some research, grapefruit lovers may have another reason to eat this powerhouse fruit.
Osteoporosis in the United States
Medical researchers are investigating a tough question: Why are osteoporosis rates in the United States soaring? Despite our population's high dairy consumption,1 almost half of all women in the United States over the age of 50 will suffer from a fracture due to osteoporosis in their lifetime.
In Eastern countries, osteoporosis is rare—and so is dairy consumption. Could this mean diets rich in vegetables and fruits (like the typical Japanese diet) are equally as important or more important than dairy-rich diets for bone health?
Emerging research suggests that antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables play an important role in the complex metabolism of bone structure.2
To gain understanding of the role of diet in osteoporosis, researchers at Texas A&M University studied the effects of grapefruit consumption on bone health. Grapefruit is naturally high in antioxidants.
They found that eating more grapefruit correlated with increased calcium and magnesium content in bones, leading to decreased rates of osteoporosis.3 Since this study was done on rats, more research needs to be done, but it is a step in addressing the metabolic effects of grapefruit on bone health.
Overall health benefits of eating more grapefruit
Don't wait for more research to add more grapefruit to your diet. The fruit has many far reaching health benefits, including minimizing risk factors for heart disease, boosting the immune system, increasing your overall fiber intake, and helping with insomnia.
If you are on medications, check with your doctor before adding grapefruit to you diet because it is known to interfere with how certain medications are metabolized.
- Milk Consumption - Excluding Butter (Total) (kg/capita/yr), FAO Statistics Division.
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source; Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype - What Should You Eat?
- Deyhim F, Mandadi K, Patil BS, et al. "Grapefruit pulp increases antioxidant status and improves bone quality in orchidectomized rats." Nutrition. 2008 Jun 30.