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Grapefruit Juice Reduces Bloat, Balances Blood Sugar and Speeds Fat Burn — Here’s How to Make It Delicious Too!

Harvard-trained MD reveals what else grapefruit juice can do for you + 3 delicious grapefruit juice mocktails

For so many women of a certain age, the word grapefruit sends us reeling back several decades in time, when the grapefruit diet was all the rage. As it turns out, the creators of the grapefruit diet were on to something. Research shows that the light, refreshingly tart fruit can help us slim down and enhance our health. Indeed, grapefruit can boost metabolism, stabilize blood sugar and more. But many women wonder: Does grapefruit help with bloating? We asked a top nutritionist and a Harvard-trained MD. Read on for their surprising answers, then find 3 delicious drink recipes to help you enjoy the slimming benefits of grapefruit.

What causes bloating?

It’s tough to ignore the gas, tightness or pressure and swollen belly that are hallmarks of bloat. And according to a review in Advances in Therapy, there’s no one singular cause of bloat. Most commonly, high-sodium foods, carbonated beverages and food sensitivities can cause a buildup of intestinal gas that we know as bloating, says New York-based registered dietitian Keri Gans, MS, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet.

Other causes can include swallowing excess air, which often occurs when we use straws, and intestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Plus, fluctuations in hormones can lead to water and gas retention that may cause bloating. But regardless of the cause, enjoying grapefruit can help with bloating. Read on to learn how.

How grapefruit helps with bloating

The main way grapefruit helps with bloating is by contributing high-quality fiber, which feeds good bacteria in your gut, says physician and nutrition expert William Li, MD, author of Eat To Beat Your Diet. “This is important for reducing harmful bacteria that can release toxins and cause gassiness or bloating.” These healthful gut bacteria can tame inflammation in the body, Dr. Li says. What’s more, Gans adds, “Fiber passes through our body undigested, helps keep our bowel movements regular and decreases the risk of constipation,” which can also lead to bloat. (Don’t like the bitterness of grapefruit? Click through for ways to make grapefruit taste less bitter.)

What’s more, grapefruit is 91% water. Not only can that keep you hydrated, but it can also help with bloating, since staying hydrated also keeps your digestive system moving to prevent constipation. And if a sodium-rich meal has you feeling bloated, grapefruit can be particularly effective. The water content helps to flush out excess sodium, and the fruit contains a fair amount of potassium, a nutrient that counteracts the water-retention effects of sodium, so you’ll feel less bloated post-meal. Grapefruit also brims with the healing antioxidant hesperidin. (Click through to learn about the health benefits of hesperidin.)

More slimming benefits of grapefruit

Grapefruit’s notable impact on bloating isn’t the only reason we love the citrus fruit. Read on to learn more of grapefruit’s powerful health benefits.

Grapefruit balances blood sugar

Studies in both humans and animals have proven grapefruit’s powerful impact on blood sugar and insulin levels — effects that speed fat-burning. In one study of mice, sipping the equivalent of 4 cups of grapefruit juice a day lowered blood sugar as effectively as the diabetes drug metformin. Another study conducted by scientists at the Scripps Clinic revealed that those who sipped 8 oz. of grapefruit juice before meals had significant improvements in insulin levels — an effect that helped people who regularly eat grapefruit lose up to 500% more weight than those who don’t eat it. “This effect is thought to be due to grapefruit’s effect on gut health,” explains Dr. Li. “Healthy gut bacteria help improve metabolic parameters such as insulin sensitivity, glucose utilization and lipid metabolism.”

Grapefruit blocks fat formation

Grapefruit brims with nobiletin, a compound Dr. Li says helps ward off weight gain by activating a fat-burning process called thermogenesis in brown fat. “Your brown fat is a healthy form of fat that acts as a space heater to burn off extra calories stored in harmful white visceral fat,” he explains. Indeed, Canadian researchers found that mice given a high-fat diet with nobiletin gained 71% less weight than mice not given the nutrient.

What’s more, research in the journal Nutrition finds that lycopene — a pigment in pink and red grapefruit — raises levels of a belly-flattening hormone called adiponectin. (Click through to learn how the updated grapefruit diet can help you slim.)

Grapefruit speeds metabolism

Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C — one medium fruit contains nearly 100% of the recommended daily intake. That’s key, because having adequate levels of the nutrient can boost metabolism by 30%, helping you effortlessly burn more fat. Adds Dr. Li, “Grapefruit contains bioactive chemicals such as naringenin that can improve your metabolism by activating healthy brown fat to burn down unhealthy white fat.” Research in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism confirms it: A diet supplemented with naringenin led to a 50% reduction in body fat, particularly in the belly. (Click through to learn how the powerful nutrients in grapefruit can also help heal your skin.)

Does grapefruit interact with medications?

We’ve all heard the warning about grapefruit interacting with medications. And experts agree that if you’re taking medication, you should speak to your doctor before tucking into grapefruit. That’s because the fruit can block an enzyme in the gut (CYP3A4) that helps break down drugs and allows the right amount of the medication to enter the bloodstream, Dr. Li notes. This can affect medications like blood thinners, statins, blood pressure medications and antihistamines, leading to too high blood levels of the drugs — and a greater risk of side effects.

But on the flip side, Dr. Li notes that this effect can also enhance your health. When this absorption-blocking enzyme is less active, “It can also increase blood levels of healthy desirable bioactives [compounds found in certain plant-based foods] from food you eat, such as polyphenols,” he explains. That’s a good reason to enjoy other fruits and veggies alongside your grapefruit to make them even healthier.

3 grapefruit juice sips to help with bloating

The editors in our test kitchen created these refreshing sips packed with grapefruit juice to help you enjoy the slimming benefits of grapefruit. “Be aware that some commercial juices are heavily filtered, and this removes fiber and nutrients,” warns Dr. Li. His advice? Avoid juices with added sugars and opt for grapefruit juice with pulp, like Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit with Pulp, available at grocery stores. Even better: Try juicing grapefruit yourself and leaving the pulp in.

1. Grapefruit-Rosemary Sipper

grapefruit juice with rosemary sprigs: Does grapefruit help with bloating?
  • 2 cups grapefruit juice  
  • 2 sprigs rosemary  
  • 2 Tbsp. honey  
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice  

In pitcher, muddle all ingredients; add 1 cup ice cubes. Rim 2 glasses with salt, if desired. Divide drink between glasses. Makes 2 servings.

2. Citrusy-Peach Sparkler

grapefruit juice mocktail: does grapefruit help with bloating
Mizina/Getty Images
  • 1 cup grapefruit juice  
  • 1/4 cup orange juice  
  • 1 sprig rosemary 
  • 1/2 cup seltzer  
  • 1 Tbsp. peach nectar 

In cocktail shaker, muddle first 3 ingredients until flavors blend. Strain into 2 champagne flutes. Top with seltzer, then peach nectar. Garnish as desired. Makes 2 servings.

3. Pom-Grapefruit Refresher

grapefruit/pomegranate mocktail: does grapefruit help with bloating
iuliia_n/Getty Images
  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice 
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice  
  • 4 strips grapefruit zest  
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint  
  • 4 tsp. agave syrup  
  • Pomegranate arils 

In cocktail shaker, muddle first 5 ingredients, then strain into 2 ice-filled glasses. Top each with pomegranate arils. Garnish each with mint sprig, if desired. Makes 2 servings.

For more bloat remedies, keep reading:

Does Green Tea Help With Bloating? Yes! Plus, It Speeds Weight Loss + Helps Blood Sugar

If You Suffer From Bloating, Constipation and Blue Moods, This Yogurt May Be the Delicious Cure You’ve Been Waiting For

Sipping This Soothing Herbal Tea Nixes Bloating, Gas, and Stomach Cramps

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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