4 Possible Health Benefits Of Grapefruit For Your Baby

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Grapefruits are known for their peculiar bittersweet to sour taste. However, grapefruit for infants can greatly add to their diets due to its rich nutritional value. With the several varieties of this fruit available, you may add this fruit in various ways to a baby’s weaning diet. Some grapefruit varieties like the Marsh, Thompson, and the Ruby are considered suitable for babies as they are sweeter, seedless, and less acidic (1). Though the grapefruit is super nutritious, you may have to follow certain precautions while feeding it to your baby. Reading this post could help you understand the possible health advantages, side effects, and interesting ways to feed grapefruits to your baby.

Can Babies Eat Grapefruits?

Generally, babies are recommended to avoid citrus fruits before 12 months of age as they are acidic and may cause a rash. However, if you want to introduce grapefruit before 12 months of age.

Although it is best to encourage your toddler to consume whole fruit, you can occasionally give small amounts of grapefruit juice to your toddler.

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against the use of grapefruit juice if the infant is on certain drugs, such as calcium antagonists, cisapride, and ciclosporin, to name a few. Grapefruit juice alters drug absorption and bioavailability (2). If your infant is on any medication, then seek medical advice before feeding grapefruit and its products to the baby.

Nutritional Value Of Grapefruits

The juicy pulp of grapefruit is a good source of vital nutrients, like vitamins A and C, and potassium. Besides, it contains several phytochemicals, like lycopene and naringin (3). Therefore, grapefruit can be added to your baby’s balanced diet for adequate nourishment.

100 grams of grapefruit (whole fruit) can provide the following amounts of nutrients against the recommended intake of the nutrients per day (4) (5).

Fiber, total dietary1.1g
Sugars, total including NLEA7.31g
Calcium, Ca12mg270mg (7-12 months)
Magnesium, Mg9mg75mg (7-12 months)
Phosphorus, P8mg275mg (7-12 months)
Potassium, K148mg700mg (7-12 months)
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid33.3mg35mg (7-12 months)
Folate, total10µg32µg (7-12 months)

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture and World Health Organization

Possible Health Benefits Of Grapefruit For Infants

Here are a few benefits that babies and toddlers can have by consuming grapefruit regularly as a part of a well-balanced diet.

  1. Provides hydration: Grapefruit’s high water content and the presence of electrolytes, such as potassium, can provide adequate hydration. It may help protect the little one from dehydration.
  1. Supports gut health: The fruit contains a significant amount of water and dietary fiber that may help keep the baby’s bowel active. Besides, it contains bio active compounds, such as phenols and flavanones, that may help boost gut microbiota (6) (7).
  1. May boost immune health: Grapefruit contains several nutrients such as vitamins A and C that enhance immunity. It also contains active compounds, like flavonoids, that exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (8) (9).
  1. May support heart health: Certain observational studies demonstrated the cardio protective effects of grapefruit. Most of these effects are attributed to grapefruit pectin, a form of soluble dietary fiber, and some bioactive compounds, such as hesperidin and naringenin. These substances are reported to lower blood pressure and improve the lipid profile, thus improving heart health (10).

Grapefruit also contains compounds, such as lycopene and limonoids,that keep the skin healthy and contribute to the overall growth and development.

Possible SideEffects Of Grapefruit For Babies And Toddlers

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can have certain side effects (11) (12).

  1. Interaction with medicines: Grapefruit and its juice contain substances that inhibit the functioning of an enzyme the body uses to metabolize certain medications. Eating grapefruit while taking these medications could cause an overdose and other adverse effects. Drugs such as some antibiotics, cardiovascular drugs, central nervous system (CNS) drugs, gastrointestinal drugs, and immunosuppressants can interact with grapefruit.
  1. Tooth enamel damage or erosion: Excess consumption of grapefruit may lead to tooth enamel erosion due to the high amounts of citric acid in it. If your baby or toddler is getting new teeth and feels sensitive in the teeth, then stop giving grapefruit for a few days to see if there is any improvement.

Precautions To Take While Feeding Grapefruit To Infants

It is good to follow these precautionary steps to ensure the safe and effective consumption of grapefruit.

  1. If there is a history of citrus fruit allergy in your family, then consult a pediatrician before including grapefruit in your infant’s daily diet.
  1. Consult a doctor if your baby has gastric reflux. The high acidic content of grapefruit may aggravate the condition.
  1. Do not include any new food while introducing grapefruit. Follow a “three to five-day wait” rule to check for any signs of intolerance, sensitivity, or allergy.
  1. Introduce no more than a teaspoon or two of grapefruit puree or mash. Increase the amount gradually once your baby seems comfortable with the food.
  1. Prefer fresh grapefruit. Check the taste before serving since sometimes grapefruits can have an extremely bitter taste.
  1. Prepare age-appropriate recipes to feed grapefruit to your baby in several ways. For example, you may give a thick slice of seedless grapefruit to your toddler to suck on. However, when you do so, clean the fruit peel properly and ensure it is sweet to taste.
  1. For toddlers, prefer to use whole fruit in preparing several recipes like broiled grapefruit with yogurt.
  1. Always keep the intake of grapefruit and its products, like juice, in moderation. Excessive consumption of grapefruit might suppress appetite.
  1. Avoid feeding packaged or tinned grapefruit juice to your toddler as it has high amounts of added sugar, which is a source of empty calories.

How To Select And Store Grapefruits?

Steps to select grapefruits

  1. Prefer organic grapefruits from a certified organic store.
  2. Buy only ripened grapefruits as they do not ripen once harvested.
  3. Choose a fruit that has shiny skin and feels heavy for its size.
  4. Avoid grapefruits that have soft spots or look water-soaked.
  5. Mild bruising is okay. However, avoid grapefruits with several bruises, blemishes, or other visible damage on the skin.

Steps to store grapefruits

  1. After purchase, clean the grapefruit with a moist cotton cloth to remove the dust and dirt that might be present on the peel.
  2. You can store grapefruits at room temperature, away from sunlight, for a week.
  3. Store it in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator if you wish to store the fruit for longer.
  4. Do not store half-cut grapefruit in an open container in the refrigerator. Preferably use the whole fruit at once. However, if you intend to store it, then do so in a BPA-free plastic container for no longer than two days.

Delightful Grapefruit Recipes For Babies And Toddlers

The delicious fruit can be used to prepare several recipes. It will not only provide nutrients but will also add color to the meal. Here we give two basic recipes that you may try for your infant.

1. Grapefruit puree

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This is the most basic recipe to begin feeding grapefruit to your baby. You may enhance this recipe by adding yogurt and other fruit purees with dry fruit powder once your baby is about eight months old.

You will need:

  • 1 grapefruit (ripe and seedless)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½tsp honey (optional)

How to:

  1. Take a grapefruit and cut it into two halves.
  2. Remove the peel carefully so that only the pulp is left behind.
  3. Now cut the grapefruit halves into small pieces and put those pieces into a blender.
  4. Blend until you get a smooth paste. Add water to adjust consistency.
  5. Transfer the puree into a bowl. Remove any lumps or thick pieces that might be present.
  6. Serve it immediately. You may add honey if you feel that the puree is a bit tart for your baby.

2. Grapefruit and strawberry smoothie

Image: Shutterstock

The delectable recipe includes a blend of fruits and coconut water. This combination of ingredients makes the recipe versatile and nutritionally wholesome.

You will need:

  • 1 grapefruit (peeled, de-seeded)
  • 2 cups strawberries (chopped)
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • ½ in piece fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)

How to: 

  1. Take the grapefruit and chop it into small pieces.
  2. Now put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until you get a smoothie of smooth flowy consistency.
  3. Serve it to your baby immediately or store it in the refrigerator and let it chill before serving.

There are many different ways in which you can serve grapefruit to your baby. Hereare some tips to help you prepare an age-appropriate recipe.

  1. 100% real grapefruit juice is tart, and you can mix it with other fruit juices, such as orange juice or apple juice. This will help add natural sweetness to the juice, making it palatable.
  1. Grapefruit shake, ice cream, and sorbet are some of the high-calorie recipes that can be added to bring in more flavor and textures to your baby or toddler’s diet.
  1. Add some grapefruit slices to a vegetable or fruit salad. Sprinkle finely chopped walnuts or crumbled cheese before serving. This is an ideal way to develop healthy eating habits in your toddler.
  1. You may also try recipes by baking, roasting, and broiling grapefruit. These recipes can be a part of your baby’s diet once they are around ten months of age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against giving grapefruit juice to babies on drugs such as cyclosporin or calcium antagonists since the fruits may interact with the drug and cause unpleasant side effects. However, on the other hand, grapefruit for infants, is a rich source of vitamins, nutrients, and fibers. Therefore, it is advised to consult your doctor before giving grapefruit to your child to understand if there are cases of citrus fruit allergy in the family or your baby has signs of gastric reflux.


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Swati Patwal

Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children. Then she worked as a nutrition faculty and clinical nutrition coach in different... more

Dr. Orlena Kerek

Dr. Orlena Kerek pursued Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees from the University of Bristol, the UK in 2001 and is trained as a pediatric doctor. She is now a family health advocate, empowerment mentor, pioneer, author, educator, and mother. She helps families create healthy habits they love so they can all feel fit and fabulous without having... more