Lemons are a citrus fruit that people often use in traditional remedies because of their health benefits. Like other citrus fruits, they contain Vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Antioxidants are essential for human health. These compounds mop up free radicals in the body that can damage the body’s cells and lead to diseases, such as cancers.
Researchers believe that the flavonoids in lemon and other citrus fruits have antibacterial, anticancer, and antidiabetic properties.
Citrus fruits, including lemons, contain active components called phytochemicals that benefit health. These include:
- Vitamin C
- Folic Acid
The juice from one 48 g lemon contains the following nutrients in grams (g) or milligrams (mg):
- 11 Calories
- 3.31 g Carbohydrate
- 49 mg Potassium
- 18.6 mg Vitamin C
- 3 mg Calcium
- 0.1 g Fibre
Lemons also contain Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B-6, Folate and Vitamin A.
Here some of the possible benefits of consuming lemons.
1) Lowering stroke risk
According to a 2012 study, the flavonoids in citrus fruits may help lower the risk of ischemic stroke in women. Around 85% of all strokes are due to a blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain. This is called an ischaemic stroke.
A study of data from nearly 70,000 women over 14 years showed that those who ate the most citrus fruits had a 19% lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least.
A 2019 population study showed that long term, regular consumption of foods that contain flavonoids might help protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, the study indicated that people who smoked or consumed a lot of alcohol were less likely to benefit.
Potassium may help lower the risk of stroke.
2) Blood pressure
One 2014 study found that women in Japan who walked regularly and consumed lemon every day had lower blood pressure than those who did not.
More research is needed to identify the role of lemon in this improvement and to discover whether consuming lemon can help reduce blood pressure since walking daily can also lower blood pressure.
3) Cancer prevention
Lemons and lemon juice are an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C.
Antioxidants may help prevent free radicals from causing cell damage that can lead to cancer. However, exactly how antioxidants can help prevent cancer remains unclear.
4) Maintaining a healthy complexion
Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of Collagen, the support system of the skin.
Sun exposure, pollution, age, and other factors can result in skin damage. A 2014 mouse study suggested that either eating vitamin C in its natural form, or applying it topically, can help prevent this type of damage.
5) Preventing asthma
People with Asthma who consume higher amounts of vitamin C and other nutrients when they have a cold may experience fewer asthma attacks, according to one review. The authors found evidence that vitamin C also benefitted people with bronchial hypersensitivity when they had a common cold.
However, they called for more research.
6) Increasing iron absorption
Iron deficiency is a leading cause of Anaemia.
Pairing foods that are high in vitamin C with iron-rich foods maximises the body’s ability to absorb iron.
However, a high intake of vitamin C can trigger gastrointestinal problems in people who are taking iron supplements. For this reason, it is best to obtain iron from dietary sources, such as beef liver, lentils, raisins, dried beans, animal meats, and spinach.
Squeezing a little lemon juice onto a salad containing baby spinach leaves can help maximize the intake of both iron and vitamin C.
7) Boosting the immune system
Foods that are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants may help strengthen the immune system against the germs that cause the common cold and the flu.
One review found that, while vitamin C supplements do not appear to reduce the incidence of colds in a population, they may help reduce the length of time a cold lasts. Vitamin C may also help boost immunity in people who are undergoing extreme physical activity.
Squeezing a whole lemon into a glass of hot water with a large spoonful of honey makes a soothing drink for someone with a cough or cold.
8) Weight loss
In a 2008 study, rodents who consumed lemon peel phenols with a high fat diet for 12 weeks gained less weight than those who did not consume lemon.
In 2016, 84 premenopausal Korean women with a high body mass index (BMI) followed a lemon detox diet or another diet for 7 days. Those who followed the lemon detox diet experienced greater improvements in insulin resistance, body fat, BMI, bodyweight, and waist-hip ratio than those on the other diets.
Further research is needed to confirm whether lemon can contribute to weight loss, and if so, how.