Grapefruit juice has many health benefits for children of all ages, as it’s packed with compounds that support bone, muscle, and cognitive development, energy metabolism, boost immunity, help maintain normal body weight, relieve constipation, and improve learning abilities to name a few.
It supports normal childhood growth
Its role in bone health
Grapefruit juice is good for bone development.
Above all, grapefruit juice is one of the richest foods in vitamin C. A cup provides more than 100% of the Daily Value!
High vitamin C intakes are important for strong bones. It’s essential for the production of collagen in the bone. It also scavenges free radicals which may have detrimental effects on bone health. Thus, it may decrease the risk of hip fracture in parents.[1,2]
Lycopene in pink grapefruit has beneficial effects on bone health as well. This potent antioxidant carotenoid decreases oxidative stress in bones.
Only a few foods are naturally high in lycopene. Besides, pink grapefruit, tomato, watermelon, guava, and papaya are good dietary sources.
Raw pink grapefruit has about 1,420 mcg of lycopene per 100g. A whole fruit provides 1,750 mcg of lycopene.
Most people get high amounts of lycopene from tomato products, as it’s widely consumed.
Magnesium in grapefruit juice is also important for strong bones. It can significantly increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. Moreover, it enhances calcium absorption.
About 50-60% of magnesium in the body is present in the bones and most of the rest in soft tissues.
A cup provides 7% of the Daily Value of magnesium. It contains some calcium (2.2% DV) as well.
Many nutrients in grapefruit promote normal body development
Besides, strong bones, grapefruit juice is packed with many compounds that play a crucial role in the physical development of infants, toddlers, and older children.
For instance, potassium supports normal body growth. It’s required for muscle building and muscle contraction. A cup of grapefruit juice provides almost 11% of the DV.
Moreover, copper in grapefruit juice (9% DV) is involved in connective tissue synthesis, neurotransmitter synthesis, synthesis of various hormones, regulation of gene expression, and brain development.
Actually, almost two-thirds of the body’s copper is located in the skeleton and muscles of children!
Seeds and nuts are the richest foods in copper.
Grapefruit is an excellent dietary source of thiamine as well. A cup provides 8% of the DV. Thiamine plays a critical role in the growth, development, and function of cells.
Besides, bone development, magnesium is required for muscle and nerve function, as well as the synthesis of DNA and RNA.
Also, grapefruit juice contains decent amounts of folate (6% DV). Folate is necessary for the synthesis of DNA and RNA as well as the metabolism of amino acids.
Women who trying to get pregnant should be very cautious with their folate levels. Deficiencies increase the risk of birth defects. Pregnant women have 50% higher folate needs than the general population.
Iron is also necessary for physical growth, neurological development, and the synthesis of some hormones. It supports muscle metabolism, healthy connective tissue, and oxygen transfer to the lungs of children.
Grapefruit juice (3% DV) contributes to the daily intake, but other fruit juices like prune juice (16% DV) have much higher quantities. In fact, parents could mix up fruit juices for the kids to get various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
May improve learning abilities & brain development
Furthermore, drinking grapefruit juice as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet may have beneficial effects on your child’s brain development and cognitive functions.
High vitamin C intakes protect the sensitive to oxidative stress brain. Vitamin C deficiency may decrease spatial memory and even impair neuronal development.
Children born from mothers deficient in vitamin C are more likely to be affected. They may have an immature antioxidant system.
Potassium also supports proper nerve function and transmission in the brain and body.
Vitamin B6 in grapefruit juice (8% DV) also plays a crucial role in cognitive development. It’s required for the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters.
Folate is necessary for normal brain development as well.
Moreover, due to its antioxidant properties, lycopene protects the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation. It even has promising therapeutic benefits in neurological disorders!
Grapefruit juice has some vitamin E (3.5% DV per cup) as well. It protects the brain, as it’s one of the most powerful antioxidants! In fact, vitamin E is necessary for embryonic development, neurogenesis and cognition in embryos. Hence, future mothers should be very cautious with their vitamin E intake.
Iron deficiency in infancy may have negative effects on the learning ability of children. It may lead to delayed attention and social withdrawal.
In the United States, infants, young children, teenage girls, and pregnant women are at risk of obtaining insufficient amounts of iron.
So, it’s vital to consume a wide variety of foods rich in iron, including fortified cereals, beans, nuts, meat, or dark chocolate.
May prevent headaches
In addition, grapefruit juice can reduce the duration and severity of migraines, being a good natural source of magnesium.
Magnesium deficiency is a common cause of headaches, as it can lead to the narrowing of blood vessels or the release of certain neurotransmitters.
Parents could give their kids various foods with magnesium, including pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts, and beans.
It protects against obesity
Another reason why parents should give their children grapefruit juice is that it helps maintain a normal body weight.
For instance, vitamin C controls glucose status and stimulates fat burning. Also, lycopene may block the synthesis of new fat tissue.
Supports energy metabolism
Pantothenic acid in grapefruit juice (9% DV) is another B vitamin that helps turn the food you eat into the energy. It helps break down fats, improves glucose concentrations, and increases energy expenditure.
Copper, vitamin B6, thiamine, and magnesium in grapefruit juice are also involved in glucose, amino acid, and lipid metabolism.
In fact, grapefruit juice contains many B vitamins (e.g. riboflavin 4% DV, niacin 3% DV). All are implicated in energy metabolism.
Hence, one of the best times of the day to drink a serving of grapefruit juice is at breakfast. It helps children and adolescents stay energized and focused at school.
Boosts the immune system of children
As one of the richest foods in vitamin C, grapefruit juice substantially improves the immunity of children. High vitamin C intake, as part of a healthy diet, may reduce the incidence of coughing and antibiotic usage in children aged 3 to 10 years.
Vitamin C supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens!
Flavonoids in grapefruit juice also exhibit potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
In addition, grapefruit juice boosts the immune system due to its high copper and magnesium content. These minerals are the key structural components of two of the most powerful antioxidant compounds called superoxide dismutases and glutathione.
Lycopene also supports immunity. It improves the activity of various antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase. It increases the total antioxidant capacity of the body.
Vitamin E is also one of the most effective nutrients known to modulate immune function. Vitamin E deficiency is dangerous for the immune system. Grapefruit consumption contributes to the daily intake.
The importance of proper hydration
We have to replenish both lost fluids and electrolytes daily. Otherwise, electrolyte imbalances may occur, which can have detrimental effects on many body functions.
Grapefruit juice supports hydration, as it’s mainly highly purified water and contains decent amounts of electrolytes:
- potassium, 11% DV
- magnesium, 7% DV
- phosphorus, 5% DV
- calcium, 2.2% DV
Keep in mind that children and parents who follow the standard American diet are more likely to consume less potassium than recommended. Potassium is abundant in fruits, seeds, nuts, and beans.
A well-hydrated body keeps joints, bones and teeth healthy. Also, being well-hydrated improves mood, memory and attention in children. Additionally, it helps them maintain a healthy weight into adulthood.
Hydration may also affect cognitive performance, and learning abilities.
May relieve constipation
Constipation is another common issue in many children of all ages.
Stress, not drinking enough water, and the lack of fiber consumption are two of the most common reasons for constipation in children.
Moreover, constipated children are more likely to have certain micronutrient deficiencies including vitamin C, folate and magnesium.
Grapefruit juice provides high amounts of these nutrients. But, it’s poor in fiber. You could eat raw grapefruit, instead.
How much grapefruit juice can a child drink per day?
Although grapefruit juice is one of the lowest fruit juices in sugar, children should still drink small amounts. A cup has 22 grams of sugar!
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should limit added sugar consumption of their children to 25 grams a day. Keep in mind that, the sugar naturally occurring in fruit juices still counts as added sugar.
So, how much grapefruit juice can my kid drink per day? It depends on its age.
Infants shouldn’t drink any fruit juice. Even if it’s unsweetened and freshly squeezed.
In general, toddlers and preschoolers can drink up to 1/2 cup a day and only school-age kids and adolescents can drink a cup of grapefruit juice per day.
You can dilute grapefruit juice with water to increase volume and reduce consumed sugar.
These quantities stand if your kid consumes no candy or any other food with added sugar, though.
Certainly, parents should encourage their toddlers to consume whole fruits. Kids could drink fruit juice only occasionally.
However, reasonable amounts of grapefruit juice support weight loss. Especially when consumed in the morning. Certain vitamins in it help burn belly fat. Most noteworthy, a cup has only 94 calories!
How to drink it?
Most children can drink grapefruit juice on an empty stomach. It’s rather unlikely to feel bloating or any other adverse effects.
With a meal
Children with a sensitive stomach could drink it with their breakfast cereal.
As fiber and protein delay digestion and prevent blood sugar levels from rising, they keep children and parents energized for many hours. They also support weight loss. Actually, one of the best meals you can have for weight loss is oats with Greek yogurt.
It’s important to eat whole-grain cereals like oatmeal. Most common commercial breakfast cereals are packed with added sugar, though.
Moreover, you could mix grapefruit juice with other fruit juices to get a wider variety of vitamins and antioxidants. Also, mix up grapefruit juice with other fruit juices for a sweeter and more balanced flavor. More kids can drink it this way.
Another great way to incorporate grapefruit juice into your family’s diet is by mixing it with vegetable juice. Vegetable juices are among the healthiest foods you can eat daily. They’re packed with antioxidants and health-promoting compounds including chlorophyll.
However, as they aren’t very tasty, most kids won’t drink them. Mixing them with grapefruit juice could make them more appealing.
Other ideas to include grapefruit juice in your kid’s diet routine
Certainly, you could add grapefruit juice to smoothies, salad sauces, homemade jams, or other recipes.
Use grapefruit juice as the base for a homemade vinaigrette dressing to enhance the flavor of salads. You could also use grapefruit juice as a marinade for chicken or fish dishes to infuse a zesty flavor.
My personal favorite is to freeze grapefruit juice into popsicles for a cool and healthy snack. Kids can enjoy grapefruit juice sorbet or granita as a healthy dessert.
What’s the best time for kids to drink grapefruit juice?
The best time for children to drink grapefruit juice is at breakfast. It provides steady levels of energy for hours. It helps kids stay focused at school.
Most noteworthy, drinking grapefruit juice in the morning protects the body from oxidative stress due to sunlight or air pollution. For instance, vitamin C protects the eyes and the skin against environmental oxidative stress.
Another excellent time to drink grapefruit juice is after strenuous exercise, though.
What’s healthier for children? Grapefruit juice or raw grapefruit?
As a rule of thumb, eating whole fruits is healthier than drinking fruit juice. You get less sugar and much more fiber.
But, drinking fruit juices is an easy way to fuel your body with vitamins and antioxidants. This can be important in times of illness, fatigue or poor diet.
Certainly, following a well-balanced diet with reasonable amounts of fruit juice is good for your family’s health.
Can grapefruit juice be dangerous for kids?
Firstly, excessive consumption of grapefruit or other fruit juices may increase the risk of dental cavities! The acidity in grapefruit juice contributes to tooth enamel erosion.
Encourage your child to rinse their mouth with water after consuming acidic beverages and maintain good dental hygiene.
While rare, some children may be allergic to citrus fruits, including grapefruits. Allergic reactions can range from mild symptoms like hives to more severe reactions like anaphylaxis.
If your child has a known citrus allergy, the consumption of grapefruit juice should be avoided. Parents should consult their pediatrician before giving grapefruit juice to their children.
Grapefruit juice can interact with various medications, affecting their effectiveness or causing adverse reactions.
It’s important to check with a healthcare provider if your child is taking any medications to ensure there are no potential interactions.
The acidity of grapefruit juice can sometimes cause gastrointestinal discomfort in children, such as heartburn or stomach upset. This is more likely if your child has a sensitive stomach.