Grapefruit juice refers to the liquid extracted from the grapefruit for human consumption. It is considered a healthy addition to most balanced diets as long as the juice is consumed in moderation. Grapefruit possesses many beneficial properties including high levels of vitamin C and the ability to lower cholesterol and remove toxins. The juice is also thought to aid the body in cancer prevention. Consumption of grapefruit juice should be limited in some cases, however, as it can reduce the absorption of certain man-made drugs and lead to an overdose.
The grapefruit is a member of the citrus fruit family. Its taste ranges from sweet and tart to bitter and acidic, as does the taste of its juice. These fruits are classified according to the color of their pulp, and the most popular colors are white, pink, and red. Juice is made by grinding or squeezing the pulp.
Studies have concluded that grapefruit juice provides many health benefits. Like most citrus fruits grapefruit is high in vitamin C, which is an essential part of the human diet. The vitamin C found in grapefruit juice functions as an antioxidant, aiding human cells that have been damaged by oxidation or, in some cases, preventing oxidative stress that can lead to such diseases as Alzheimer's disease, heart failure, and Parkinson's disease. Lycopene, another antioxidant found in grapefruit, can help reduce the risk of tumor development.
The juice derived from grapefruits also contains pectin, a dietary fiber. Pectin aids the human digestive system by altering the consistency of bowel movements. It has also been shown to potentially lower cholesterol. The juice also contains chemicals that promote low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, commonly referred to as good cholesterol.
Many scientific studies suggest that chemicals found in grapefruit juice can help reduce the risk of cancer. Grapefruit aids in bodily processes that remove toxins that may lead to cancer, especially in the liver. It is also thought to lessen the effect of the carcinogenic compounds found in cigarettes and causes the human body to metabolize naringenin, which may help repair cell deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damaged by prostate cancer.
Certain individuals should not consume grapefruit juice, as it can effect the absorption of some prescription medications. The naringin found in the fruit can prevent the body from absorbing certain chemicals found in pharmaceuticals. This process causes an accumulation of the chemical in the drug, which can cause some individuals to develop potentially toxic levels of the medication.
There are several medications that are affected by grapefruit juice. A medical professional, such as a doctor or pharmacist, will inform a patient if grapefruit juice should be omitted from his or her diet when taking certain prescribed medications. Several deaths occurred in the 1990s as a result of overconsumption of grapefruit juice while taking certain medications, but this has since been circumvented by more research.