Lemon's Natural Mood-Enhancing Qualities

  • Isha IshtiaqMaster of Science - MS, Biological sciences, University of Sialkot

Life is full of ups and downs, and our mood is no exception. One minute, we're on top of the world, and the next, we're feeling down and out. But there is a natural way to boost your mood and brighten your day: Lemons.

Lemons are small but mighty fruits with a variety of mood-boosting benefits. Their refreshing taste and citrusy aroma can instantly improve your mood and make you feel more alert and energized.

Curious to learn about the science behind lemon’s mood-boosting effect? Keep reading to study the amazing benefits of lemon and ways to incorporate it into your daily routine.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • Lemon and its nutritional components
  • Ways how lemon improves the mood
  • Practical tips to incorporate it in daily life

A lemon is a yellow fruit that belongs to the Rutaceae family, along with other citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, and grapefruits. Lemons are native to Asia but are now cultivated in many regions of the world, especially in warm and sunny climates.1 Lemon's use as a mood enhancer can be traced back to ancient times.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the scent of lemon could help ward off feelings of melancholy and sadness. Similarly, in Ayurvedic medicine, lemons were used for centuries to uplift the mood and calm the mind. These historical uses of lemons as a mood enhancer lay the foundation for its recognition in the modern healthcare industry.2

Nutritional composition of lemon

The nutritional composition of a lemon (100g) is given below:

Calories29 kcal
Water88.98 g
Protein1.1 g
Carbohydrates9.3 g
Sugar2.5 g
Fibre2.8 g
Fat0.3 g
Vitamin C53 mg

How lemons can enhance your mood

Lemons possess natural mood-enhancing qualities that have positive effects on mental well-being. These qualities are mainly derived from the nutritional components of lemons, which include vitamin C, antioxidants, fibres, and other essential nutrients. Here are some of the ways that lemons can enhance your mood:

Vitamin C and its impact on stress reduction

Lemons are rich in Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause inflammation and impair the immune system, which can lead to various diseases and affect one’s mood.3 Additionally, it helps synthesise neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for regulating mood and emotions.4

Studies have shown that vitamin C can reduce the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can cause anxiety and depression. Vitamin C can also lower blood pressure and heart rate, which are indicators of stress. By reducing stress and enhancing neurotransmitter production, vitamin C can improve one’s mood and mental health.5

Other antioxidants and their influence on mental health

Antioxidants neutralise free radicals and prevent damage to cells and tissues. They also help regenerate other antioxidants in the body, creating a synergistic effect. Lemons contain various antioxidants, such as flavonoids, limonene, hesperidin, and naringenin.6

  • Limonene is a chemical found in citrus peels that reduces stress and mood disorders by regulating the levels of neurotransmitters7
  • Flavonoids are plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective effects
  • Hesperidin and naringenin are flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and protect against neurodegenerative disorders8

Flavonoids can also modulate the activity of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in mood regulation.8 Research has indicated that flavonoids in citrus fruits lower depression and improve cognitive function.

The relationship between fibre and mood stability

Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which can prevent spikes and crashes that can affect one’s mood and energy levels. It maintains a healthy gut microbiome, which plays a vital role in the immune system, metabolism, and brain function.9 

The gut microbiome can also produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which can influence one’s mood and behaviour.9 Studies have shown that a high-fiber diet can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome, which can enhance one’s mood and mental health.10

Practical ways to incorporate lemon into daily life for mood enhancement

There are many practical ways to incorporate lemon into your daily life for mood enhancement. Here are some suggestions:

Lemon water and its benefits

One of the easiest ways to enjoy the benefits of lemons is to drink lemon water. Lemon water is simply water mixed with fresh lemon juice.

  • You can drink it cold or hot, depending on your preference
  • You can also add other ingredients such as honey, ginger, mint, or cucumber to enhance the flavour and benefits

Lemon water can help you stay hydrated, detoxify your body, boost your immune system, balance your pH levels, improve your digestion, aid your weight loss, clear your skin, freshen your breath, and enhance your mood.

To make lemon water, simply squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water (about 8 ounces) and drink it first thing in the morning or throughout the day.

Lemon in cooking and recipes

Another way to incorporate lemons into your daily life is to use them in cooking and recipes. Lemons can add a burst of flavour, colour, and nutrition to your dishes. Lemons are used in various cuisines, such as Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Latin American cuisine.

Lemons can also be used in various courses, such as salads, soups, sauces, marinades, dressings, desserts, and beverages. They can enhance the taste and aroma of your food, as well as provide vitamin C, antioxidants, and fibre.

Some examples of lemon recipes are

  • Lemon Garlic Shrimp
  • Lemon Chicken
  • Lemon Rice
  • Lemon Cake
  • Lemon Pie
  • Lemon Bars
  • Lemon Tea
  • Lemonade

To use lemons in cooking and recipes, simply wash and cut the lemons according to your preference. You can use the whole lemon or just the juice or zest. You can also store the leftover lemons in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

Aromatherapy and lemon scents

A third way to incorporate lemons into your daily life is to use them for aromatherapy and lemon scents. Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural plant extracts, such as essential oils, to promote physical and mental health.11

Lemon scents are one of the most popular and effective aromas for mood enhancement, as they can stimulate the senses, uplift the spirit, and energise the body. They can also improve memory, concentration, and alertness.11

You can use lemon scents in various ways, such as

  • Wearing a lemon perfume or cologne
  • Lighting a lemon-scented candle or incense
  • Applying a lemon balm cream or lotion on your skin
  • Diffusing lemon essential oil in a diffuser or humidifier
  • Spraying lemon water or vinegar in the air or on surfaces

You can also combine lemon scents with other scents that complement its mood-enhancing qualities, such as lavender, rosemary, peppermint, or orange.

Precautions and potential allergies

While lemons are generally safe and beneficial for most people, there are some precautions and potential allergies to be aware of before using them for mood enhancement. Here are some of the possible risks and side effects of lemons:

Allergies to citrus fruits

Some people may have an allergic reaction to citrus fruits, such as lemons, oranges, limes, or grapefruits. This can cause symptoms such as itching, swelling, hives, rash, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis.12

If you have a history of citrus allergies or experience any of these symptoms after consuming or using lemons, you should avoid them and seek medical attention immediately.

Precautions for sensitive skin when using lemon topically

Lemons can be harsh on sensitive skin, as they can cause irritation, dryness, redness, or burning sensations. If you have sensitive skin or any skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, you should be careful when using lemons topically.

You should always do a patch test before applying lemons onto your skin and dilute them with water or a carrier oil such as coconut oil or almond oil. You should also avoid applying lemons on open wounds or inflamed skin and rinse them off thoroughly after use.

Also, you should avoid exposing your skin to sunlight after using lemons, as they can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays and cause sunburns or hyperpigmentation.

Moderation in consumption

Lemons are acidic and can affect the pH balance of your body and your oral health.13

If you consume too many lemons, you may experience symptoms such as acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or stomach ulcers.

You may also damage your tooth enamel and increase the risk of cavities or tooth decay. To prevent these symptoms, you should consume lemons in moderation and drink plenty of water to flush out the excess acid.

You should also rinse your mouth with water after drinking or eating lemons and brush your teeth regularly to protect your enamel.


So, it is undeniable that lemons possess extraordinary mood-enhancing qualities. The science behind their impact on serotonin levels cannot be ignored. These bright citrus fruits have the power to boost your energy levels and uplift your spirits like no other. It's as if they are a ray of sunshine in fruit form, ready to infuse you with positivity and joy.

Not only do lemons work wonders on our mental well-being, but their antioxidant effects also aid in reducing stress. Incorporating lemons into your daily routine can be a game-changer when it comes to improving your overall mood and outlook on life. Whether it's starting your day with a refreshing glass of lemon water or adding zest to your favourite recipes, these vibrant yellow fruits can transform even the gloomiest days into ones filled with happiness and optimism.

So why not embrace the power of lemons? Let them become an integral part of your everyday life, and witness firsthand the incredible mood-enhancing qualities they possess. Get ready for a zestful journey towards a brighter, more positive existence!


  1. Park YS, Kim I doo, Dhungana SK, Park EJ, Park JJ, Kim JH, et al. Quality characteristics and antioxidant potential of lemon (Citrus limon Burm. f.) seed oil extracted by different methods. Frontiers in Nutrition [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2023 Oct 20];8. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.644406
  2. Klimek-Szczykutowicz M, Szopa A, Ekiert H. Citrus limon (Lemon) phenomenon—a review of the chemistry, pharmacological properties, applications in the modern pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetics industries, and biotechnological studies. Plants (Basel) [Internet]. 2020 Jan 17 [cited 2023 Oct 20];9(1):119. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7020168/
  3. Popovic LM, Mitic NR, Miric D, Bisevac B, Miric M, Popovic B. Influence of vitamin c supplementation on oxidative stress and neutrophil inflammatory response in acute and regular exercise. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2023 Oct 19];2015:1–7. Available from: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2015/295497/
  4. Pullar JM, Carr AC, Bozonet SM, Vissers MCM. High vitamin c status is associated with elevated mood in male tertiary students. Antioxidants (Basel) [Internet]. 2018 Jul 16 [cited 2023 Oct 19];7(7):91. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6071228/
  5. Moritz B, Schmitz AE, Rodrigues ALS, Dafre AL, Cunha MP. The role of vitamin C in stress-related disorders. J Nutr Biochem. 2020 Nov;85:108459.
  6. Saini RK, Ranjit A, Sharma K, Prasad P, Shang X, Gowda KGM, et al. Bioactive compounds of citrus fruits: a review of composition and health benefits of carotenoids, flavonoids, limonoids, and terpenes. Antioxidants (Basel) [Internet]. 2022 Jan 26 [cited 2023 Oct 19];11(2):239. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8868476/
  7. Song Y, Seo S, Lamichhane S, Seo J, Hong JT, Cha HJ, et al. Limonene has anti-anxiety activity via adenosine A2A receptor-mediated regulation of dopaminergic and GABAergic neuronal function in the striatum. Phytomedicine. 2021 Mar;83:153474.
  8. Melrose J. The potential of flavonoids and flavonoid metabolites in the treatment of neurodegenerative pathology in disorders of cognitive decline. Antioxidants [Internet]. 2023 Mar [cited 2023 Oct 19];12(3):663. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/12/3/663
  9. Saghafian F, Sharif N, Saneei P, Keshteli AH, Hosseinzadeh-Attar MJ, Afshar H, et al. Consumption of dietary fiber in relation to psychological disorders in adults. Front Psychiatry [Internet]. 2021 Jun 24 [cited 2023 Oct 19];12:587468. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8264187/
  10. Chen L, Liu B, Ren L, Du H, Fei C, Qian C, et al. High-fiber diet ameliorates gut microbiota, serum metabolism and emotional mood in type 2 diabetes patients. Front Cell Infect Microbiol [Internet]. 2023 Jan 30 [cited 2023 Oct 19];13:1069954. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9922700/
  11. Agarwal P, Sebghatollahi Z, Kamal M, Dhyani A, Shrivastava A, Singh KK, et al. Citrus essential oils in aromatherapy: therapeutic effects and mechanisms. Antioxidants (Basel) [Internet]. 2022 Nov 30 [cited 2023 Oct 19];11(12):2374. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9774566/
  12. Iorio RA, Del Duca S, Calamelli E, Pula C, Lodolini M, Scamardella F, et al. Citrus allergy from pollen to clinical symptoms. PLoS One [Internet]. 2013 Jan 4 [cited 2023 Oct 19];8(1):e53680. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3537725/
  13. Maladkar SR, Yadav P, Muniraja ANA, Uchil GS, George LV, Augustine D, et al. Erosive effect of acidic beverages and dietary preservatives on extracted human teeth—an in vitro analysis. Eur J Dent [Internet]. 2022 Oct [cited 2023 Oct 20];16(04):919–29. Available from: http://www.thieme-connect.de/DOI/DOI?10.1055/s-0041-1742131
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Isha Ishtiaq

Master of Science - MS, Biological sciences, University of Sialkot

Isha Ishtiaq is a versatile medical writer and storyteller who brings the world of medicine to life. With her deep understanding of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences, she crafts content that’s not only informative but also engaging. Over the years, she has honed her skills by crafting diverse content, including blogs, research papers, and review articles, catering to clients worldwide. Her goal is clear: to be at the forefront of technological advancements in the industry, ensuring that her audience receives top-notch, up-to-date content. Her writing is a blend of precision and passion, reflecting her commitment to educating and inspiring her readers. When you engage with her work, you can be confident that you're in the hands of a writer who is not just skilled but driven by a profound passion for her craft.

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