Lemons are versatile fruits that are a storehouse of vitamin C and are also loaded with vitamin B6 and other essential nutrients. Whether it is the summer season or not, a small quantity of lemon juice can instantly make your day refreshing.
Moreover, lemons provide a wide variety of health benefits, ranging from boosting immunity to aiding in digestion, promoting hydration, aiding in weight loss, detoxification, reducing certain types of cancer, and much more.
In this article, we will learn more about the health benefits of this popular citrus fruit.
Lemons are a type of citrus fruit, a group that also includes oranges, limes, and grapefruits. Lemons, scientifically known as Citrus Limon, belong to the Rutaceae family.
They are oval-shaped, with a vibrant yellow colour, a thin outer peel, and a juicy, acidic pulp inside. Lemons are commonly used for their juice, which has a sour and tangy taste due to the presence of citric acid. They are a rich source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, and various other beneficial plant compounds. Lemons are widely used in cooking and baking to add flavour to dishes and provide a sour balance to sweet foods. They are also used in a variety of household and beauty applications due to their antiseptic and astringent properties.
Lemons are usually grown in warm climates around the world. You can easily find them in grocery stores and markets all around the year.
Health benefits of lemons
Lemons are citrus fruits that offer a wide range of health benefits. Some of the health benefits of lemons may include, but are not limited to,
High in Vitamin C: Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps boost the immune system, fight infections, and protect against the damaging effects of free radicals. According to a study, lemons are rich in vitamin C which aids in enhancing various health benefits including fatigue and lowering cholesterol.1
Promotes Digestive Health: The citric acid in lemons helps to stimulate the production of digestive juices, which can aid in digestion and alleviate symptoms of indigestion.
Supports Heart Health: The potassium in lemons can help control blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve cardiovascular health.
Anti-inflammatory Properties: Lemons contain flavonoids and other compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Good for Skin Health: The vitamin C and antioxidants in lemons help to reduce the signs of ageing, promote healthy skin, and protect against damage caused by free radicals.
Helps to Detoxify the Body: Lemon juice has a natural water-balancing effect, which can help flush out toxins from the body and promote healthy liver function.
Controls weight gain: Small amounts of lemon juice mixed in a glass of lukewarm water can work wonders in helping you lose a few pounds. Lemons can aid in controlling weight loss because they contain a compound called pectin. Pectin is a type of fibre that helps keep you full for a long period of time and prevents you from unhealthy snacking. Some animal studies showed that lemon polyphenols can have an effect on suppressing diet-induced obesity and improving insulin resistance and lipid metabolism. Though these studies were only conducted on animals, clinical trials are still required to acquire more information related to their effectiveness in humans.2
Nutrients we can get from lemons
Lemons are an excellent source of several vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds. Here are some of the nutrients found in lemons:
Vitamin C: Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that plays a vital role in immune function, skin health, and wound healing.
Fibre: Lemons contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which can help to regulate digestion, reduce cholesterol levels, and promote feelings of fullness.
Potassium: Lemons are a good source of potassium, an essential mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure, support heart health, and maintain healthy kidney function.
Calcium: Lemons contain small amounts of calcium, a mineral that is essential for bone health, muscle function, and nerve transmission.
Iron: Lemons contain small amounts of iron, a mineral that is necessary for the production of red blood cells, which conduct the transport of oxygen throughout the body.
Flavonoids: Lemons contain several beneficial plant compounds, including flavonoids like hesperidin and diosmin, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A study showed that citrus flavonoids can lower cholesterol levels.3
A half-cup of lemon contains the following nutrients:
- Total calories: 31
- Fat: 0 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 10 grams
- Sugar: 3 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Ways to use lemons for our health
With lemon's citrusy taste, it is popularly known to enhance the flavours of many dishes around the world. Interestingly, you can use almost every part of this citrus fruit in your cooking and baking. You can include lemon in your diet in a variety of ways, including:
- Lemon water: A simple squeeze of lemon juice can add a refreshing edge to your water or tea. You can drink lemon water on an empty stomach to give a jump start to your metabolism first thing in the morning
- Classic lemonade: Make a perfect ice-cold lemonade to have a delightful feel
- Make hummus: A popular Middle Eastern recipe that is consumed worldwide is traditionally made with lemon juice along with garlic, chickpeas, and tahini
- Salad dressing: Mix lemon juice into your favourite type of salad to give it a bold flavour
- Marinade: Add lemon as a marinade to your vegetables or fish
- Lemon desserts: Enjoy healthy desserts by making healthy lemon bars, lemon meringue pie, or lemon coconut energy balls
- Flu remedy: Having a cold? Mixing lemon juice with a spoonful of honey in hot water can aid in alleviating the symptoms of a cough and cold
How much is enough?
Side effects and how much to consume or other information you can add
Lemons are generally considered safe for consumption and have very few side effects when consumed in moderation. However, excessive consumption of lemons or lemon juice may lead to some potential side effects, which may include:
Tooth erosion: Lemons are highly acidic, and frequent consumption of lemon juice can erode tooth enamel (a thin outer layer that lines the tooth). Excessive intake may cause tooth sensitivity and decay. To prevent tooth erosion, doctors recommend limiting the amounts of acid-containing foods and beverages and waiting at least an hour before brushing your teeth, so the enamel can re-harden.
Gastrointestinal issues: In some individuals, consuming large amounts of lemon juice can cause gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux, heartburn, and stomach cramps.
Skin irritation: Since the nature of lemon juice is acidic, it may cause skin irritation and dryness in some people.
Kidney stones: Consuming excessive amounts of lemon juice may increase the risk of developing kidney stones, especially in individuals who are prone to developing them.
Allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to citrus fruits such as lemons. Consuming them may trigger allergic reactions in them like hives, itching, and sometimes swelling.
May trigger headaches: Lemon juice is considered to contain high amounts of tyramine. It is best to limit lemon juice consumption if you are sensitive to tyramine, as drinking lemon juice may trigger migraines and headaches.
Lemons, or Citrus Limon, are one of the citrus fruits that belong to the Rutaceae family. These oval-shaped, vibrantly coloured fruits contain rich sources of vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, dietary fibres, calcium, potassium, and much more. Lemons offer a wide range of health benefits, including boosting immunity, improving digestion, warding off diseases, and controlling weight. Lemons are considered versatile and can be added to your diet to obtain their benefits and brighten up your recipes. However, it is advised to consume lemons in moderation and follow a healthy diet plan to avoid any potential side effects on the body.
- Shimizu C, Wakita Y, Inoue T, Hiramitsu M, Okada M, Mitani Y, et al. Effects of lifelong intake of lemon polyphenols on aging and intestinal microbiome in the senescence-accelerated mouse prone 1 (SAMP1). Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2019 Mar 6 [cited 2020 Aug 20];9. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6403313/
- Fukuchi Y, Hiramitsu M, Okada M, Hayashi S, Nabeno Y, Osawa T, et al. Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in β-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition [Internet]. 2008 Nov 1;43(3):201–9. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2581754/
- Srinivasan S, Pari L. Antihyperlipidemic effect of diosmin: A citrus flavonoid on lipid metabolism in experimental diabetic rats. Journal of Functional Foods. 2013 Jan;5(1):484–92.