One Grapefruit A Day Helps Lowering Cholesterol, But...

March 8, 2012

A few days ago, the NYTimes health blog reported a pretty interesting news: the FDA acknowledged that cholesterol-lowering statins carry a risk of cognitive side effects.
If you’re not familiar with this drug, statins help people at high risk of cardiovascular problems, lowering cholesterol, risk of heart attack and stroke. They are one of the most prescribed drugs in the world.
For years doctors have been fielding reports from patients that the drugs leave them feeling “fuzzy,” and have been experiencing big memory problems. Finally the FDA has officially acknowledged that.
This news has raised concern because 21 million patients only in the US were prescribed statins during 2011. It's difficult to assess how many of them have experienced cognitive side effects.
So what’s the solution? Lowering cholesterol through a healthy diet and exercising, easy as that. You can get off statins and no more fear of “losing the mind”.
Among food that help with cholesterol issues one might be particulalry helpful: grapefruit!
A study conducted in Israel demonstrated that eating one ruby red grapefruit a day was as effective as taking statin drugs in the lowering of cholesterol. But beware, you cannot use the two together!

Lowering cholesterol properties

In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Israeli researchers from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem first tested the antioxidant potential of blond and red grapefruits, and then their cholesterol-lowering potential in humans.
The test tube research showed that red grapefruit contains more bioactive compounds and total polyphenols than blond, but both grapefruits are comparable in their content of fiber, phenolic acid, ascorbic acids, and naringinen (a flavonoid). Although, red grapefruit contains slightly more flavonoids and anthocyanins.
In this recent study, participants added either red grapefruit, blond grapefruit or no grapefruit to their daily diet. The results indicated that both types of grapefruit appeared to lower LDL cholesterol in just 30 days: total cholesterol by 15.5% in those eating red grapefruit and 7.6% in those eating blond grapefruit; LDL cholesterol by 20.3% and 10.7% respectively; and triglycerides by 17.2% and 5.6% respectively. No changes were seen in the group that didn't eat any grapefruit.

Both red and blond grapefruits both positively influenced cholesterol levels, but red grapefruit was more than twice as effective, especially in lowering triglycerides. In addition, both grapefruits significantly improved blood levels of protective antioxidants.
Red grapefruit's better performance may be due to an as yet unknown antioxidant compound or the synergistic effects of its phytonutrients, including lycopene.
In response to this rapid and very positive outcome, the researchers concluded that adding fresh red grapefruit to the diet could be beneficial for persons with high cholesterol, especially those who also have high triglycerides.


Grapefruit effects are pretty strong, in particular, compounds in this fruit are known to increase circulating levels of several prescription drugs, including statins. For this reason, the risk of muscle toxicity associated with statins may increase when grapefruit is consumed.
In other words before embarking on the “One Grapefruit A Day” journey it’s better to check up with your doctor and discuss with him the possibilities of switching from statins to grapefruit.


  1. I can relate to the memory problem using statins. I was on one for about 2 months and I can say it got rather scary. My doctor didn't believe me for some reason, but I went off of them anyway, and my memory became normal again. It also caused other side effects.
    I found out my low thyroid function caused my cholesterol to rise. Treated the thyroid and all is now well. diet and exercise also important.
    Sorry for the long comment!

    1. Hi Lynda,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I'm really happy that you got your cholesterol situation under control and that you were able to get off statins. The more I read about them the more skeptical I get...that's why I check daily with my parents : I want to know that they're eating properly and exercising so that they can take control of their cholesterol levels without the need to resort to medications.

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  3. it's always good to have a balanced diet and not exceed with anything!

  4. Plus grapefruit it's awesome for the skin!

  5. No doctor is ever going to do the right thing. They are going to tell you that you need to take their profit-generating drugs whether they are in your best interest or not. You do not need statins for cholesterol. High cholesterol is not caused by eating cholesterol. Quite the opposite. Eating cholesterol containing foods decreases the amount of cholesterol you make. Momentarily, when you make the move to cholesterol containing foods, it may rise but won't stay that way unless you are eating a lot of wheat and simple sugars with it.

    1. Your Right !!! Its the simple sugars..... bread

    2. Lower sugar and
      the rest will follow

  6. Well this is why several alternative (not a real doctor) nutrition therapist in my place use to recommend her patient to eat grape fruit every morning to help the cholesterol level.
    Sometimes he also give them the extract of grape fruit as I am not sure are the extract are better than the real grape fruit.
    But it seems grape fruit has started to gain the popularity as one of better solution to help balancing cholesterol level and at least it's natural.

  7. I love grapefruit. I eat it everyday and as a treat. Can too much be bad for you since it can actually affect drugs you are taking??!!

  8. You can make a grapefruit juice , I am doing an experiment before using drug to lower my cholesterol levels. 30 minutes walk daily and 1 big glass of juice which contains 1 red grapefruit, 1 green apple , 4 carrots , 2 oranges and piece of ginger , I will check after 20 if it make any change in levels.

  9. Eat the internal fibers of the grapefruit- not just the juice. There is a component in the fibers that are also responsible for the cholesterol lowering abilities

  10. I was on them for 15 years, kept my sugar levels up, was reading about grapefruits and tried them, i got more energy and sugar levels came down to normal been without statins for over 1 year and 4 months