Grapefruit is one of the most beneficial foods we can add to our diet. This superfood is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, lycopene, beta-carotene and pectin, and is a soluble fiber that can help prevent certain cancers. Unfortunately many people are afraid to add it to their plate due to possible drug interactions with certain medications. Renowned physician, Dr. Donnica Moore joined me recently to dish on why we should be adding grapefruit to our diet, the health benefits of this superfood, and possible drug interactions.
Candace Rose: Why should we add grapefruit to our diet?
Dr. Donnica Moore: “Well, grapefruit is one of the foods known as the ‘superfoods.’ And superfoods are foods that are really jam packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, and then of course they are also very high in what I call, caloric value. You’re getting very high nutritional value for the number of calories that are in the food.”
Candace Rose: What are some of the health benefits of grapefruit?
Dr. Donnica Moore: “Well, the health benefits are numerous. The first is it when it’s eaten as part of a healthy well balanced diet, it can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. It can help support the immune system, it can help us with our weight management goals, which for half of adult Americans is extremely important. It can support skin health as well.”
Candace Rose: What do we need to know about grapefruit and drug interactions?
Dr. Donnica Moore: “One of the things we’ve been learning about grapefruit over the last few years is that grapefruit and grapefruit juice may have interactions with a list about 43 different medicines. And specifically there’s a compound called furanocoumarins that are in the grapefruit, and this can decrease the level of an enzyme that’s naturally present in the intestines that’s involved with the breakdown or metabolism of certain medicines, and therefore your blood level of those medicines can actually increase, being equivalent to taking a higher dose.
In some medicines that’s not a problem, but in other medicines that can increase the risk of side effects. And the medicines we’re most concerned about are a class of medicines called the statins, which are cholesterol lowering drugs and are taken by a lot of people. Some other heart medicines, particularly medicines to treat arrhythmias, which is an abnormal heart rhythm, some antidepressants, some anti-anxiety medicines, and even an allergy medicine.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information that you’d like to share with us?
Dr. Donnica Moore: “I think the most important thing for people who are taking medicines is to ask their doctor- first of all, do they still need to be on those medicines? Second of all, are they on the correct dosage? Third of all, do any of their medicines interact with each other, and I’m including over the counter products, vitamins and supplements here. And finally, should the medicines be taken or not taken with any foods or beverages. We’re very familiar that some medicines need to be taken on an empty stomach, some need to be taken with food, and now we’re getting much more sophisticated about how certain foods may interact positively or negatively with certain medications.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Dr. Donnica Moore: “For more information on grapefruit, you can go to Sunkist.com. But the most important place for people to go for more information about their own specific personalized medical questions is to their own personal physician or their local pharmacist.”