Everything You Need to Know About the Benefits of Lemon
“Despite being rather bitter, lemons are immensely popular by virtue of their health attributes.”
Lemon has been used since the time immemorial for its medicinal value. Remember when younger and you catch flu? The first thing prepared for you was warm water with lemon and honey. Now that we are a little older we learn that lemon is rich in antioxidants that fight against diseases and improve your immune system. Do you know what they say? When life gives you lemons make lemonades! It makes sense now that these lemonades are a more flavoured version of lemon juice metaphorically used but literally they are perfect and beneficial. Generally, you can’t get enough of the benefits of lemon.
Need to Know About the Benefits of Lemon
Although it is yet to be established where lemon originated from, it has been traced back to the regions in south Asia probably Assam in Northeast India or China. Lemons belong to the family of Rutaceae sisters with other tiny citrus fruit called lime. Lemons are juicy with a sour taste. This characteristic has made it popular in the culinary world where it is used to flavour and at times to garnish the foods.
Far from that, lemon is a complete citrus fruit loaded with nourishing nutrients that include; vitamin C, B1, B2, B5, B6, folate, flavonoids, potassium, calcium, copper and fibre etc. Also, lemon is low in calories. The whole of lemon is valuable as from its peels to its inner flesh as well as their seeds. However, you do not want to go around eating lemon seeds, right? Just stick to the fruit itself. Lemon is a major source of vitamin C and for its diverse uses, it stands out as the queen of citrus fruits.
For all the nutrients lemon bestows on your body, they bring along healthful benefits like protection against common diseases, weight management, promote digestion and builds healthy glowing skin among many others. In this article, we take you step by step into details of the benefits of lemon, its nutritional constitute and various ways to add it in your diet.
Benefits of Lemon; Nutrition Profile
Here is a profile of how much 100gm serving of lemon contains;
- 29Kcal of energy
- 88.98g of water
- 9.32g of carbohydrates
- 1.10g of protein
- 0.30g of fat
- 2.80g of fibre
- 11ug of folates
- 0.100mg of niacin
- 0.190mg of pantothenic acid
- 0.080mg of pyridoxine
- 0.020mg of riboflavin
- 0.040mg of thiamin
- 53mg of vitamin C
- 22IU of vitamin A
- 0.15mg of vitamin E
- 2mg of sodium
- 138mg of Potassium
- 26mg of calcium
- 37ug of copper
- 0.60mg of iron
- 8mg of magnesium
- 0.030mg of manganese
- 0.06mg of zinc
Lemon nutrients do not end there since there are phytonutrients. These phytonutrients include beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin whose roles range from being antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds to altering estrogen metabolism, repairing DNA damage and boosting immunity.
Health Benefits of Lemon
1. Helps Maintain Weight
You probably have been told that lemon intake is great for slimming down. It is somewhat true because research has shown that some compounds in lemon may help reduce weight or prevent weight gain. After an animal study of mice induced with a fattening diet and then given polyphenols extracted from lemon peels, they gained less weight than the control mice group. However, it is not quite clear if lemon really has the same effect on the human body. This is because even though individuals taking lemon water shows some positive weight loss, we cannot deduce what exactly is linked to it. It might be the warm water intake or some compounds in the lemon. More research has to be done to confirm the possibilities.
Nevertheless, you could use lemon water for your detoxification and may just help in controlling your weight. Besides, lemon is low in calories and fruits and vegetables with low calorie are known to help with weight maintenance.
2. Supports Heart Health
Lemon has many down to earth hearty health nutrients. Hesperidin, a compound known to reduce hypertension symptoms to people at risk of high blood pressure is one among the nutrients in lemon. If blood pressure is high, the blood vessels are at stake of being damaged. Arteries carrying blood to and from the heart may be at risk of hardening but thanks to limonoid and pectins in lemon they may slow atherosclerosis.
Other heart diseases like stroke and heart attacks may be fought by the presence of nutrients like vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant. This antioxidant can combat the presence and spread of free radicals which are the most harmful chemical compounds in body cells. The antioxidant eradicates free radicals hence promoting the wellbeing of the entire cardiovascular system. It has also been linked with the ability to lower bad LDL cholesterols which may build up causing blood pressure increase which further triggers heart attacks.
The increase of plasma homocysteine levels activates diseases like stroke which may be fatal or cause detrimental outcomes that no one would love. Good thing is that lemon contains folates that have been found capable to lower homocysteine levels. Save yourself from heart diseases by including lemon in your diet.
3. Helps Prevent Kidney Stones
Kidney stones form when the substances in the urine tract are more concentrated so they just crystallize forming ‘stones’ that may affect the kidney and bladder functioning. Lemon is highly acidic because of its citric nature thus the citrate in it works well in inhibiting the formation of kidney stones and breaking up the tiny ones that are in the process of forming.
Normally they say that prevention is better than cure hence you should drink a lot of water to dilute substances like excess minerals that may lead to kidney stone formation. However, some things end up happening without your consent. Make it a habit to snack up a lemon into your diet to control any risks of kidney formation. For those who have had kidney stones before, it is more likely that they may form again so to avoid that you need to make lemons your daily friend.
4. It Promotes Skin Health
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in lemon are a good pack for healthy anti-ageing skin. They may help clear the skin, remove blackheads and all other skin blemishes that may either be as a result of acne or skin rash. Vitamin C is a multipurpose nutrient, it acts as an antioxidant to prevent skin cells damage by protecting them from oxidation that arises due to environmental factors like sun rays and weather. In addition, it promotes the generation of collagen which helps in the repair and growth of newer and strong skin cells. Collagen makes the skin stronger and inelastic.
The anti-inflammatory properties in vitamin E, a nutrient found in traces in lemon reduces inflammation on skin cells thus preventing wrinkles and fine lines from forming making you look younger. More to the skin health-promoting vitamins is vitamin A which is also found in lemon. This vitamin ensures the growth of newer cells, more like exfoliating the skin to remove dead cells giving you a healthy skin glow.
5. Good for Protection against Anemia
You might be eating food rich in iron and still not meeting the daily iron requirement, rather the daily recommended amount of iron. Why? Because the iron does not get absorbed or just a little of it is. It’s not easy for the body to absorb iron from most iron-rich foods. Lack of iron in the body causes diseases like anaemia but because we all want to live healthy lives free from diseases, we have to do our best to reach optimal body health. Pairing vitamin C foods with iron-rich foods will help maximize the iron absorption ensuring that you don’t suffer from iron deficit. Vitamin C helps the body get the most iron as possible from iron-rich foods.
6. Helps in Preventing Asthma
A review indicated that people with asthma who consumed high amounts of vitamin C were less likely to have attacks when they caught flu or cold. That also, those with bronchial hypersensitivity were advantaged by vitamin C consumption. Vitamin C in lemon is a healthy immune booster, an antioxidant that fights any irritant and allergen agent that may trigger asthma attacks. Strong immunity means stable white blood cells hence minor bacteria will be destroyed. Fewer asthma attacks to the asthmatics is a relief, but do we say! To all asthmatics and bronchitis spasms victims out there, lemon is ready to help you. Just prepare lemon juice every day. Lemon water is also effective in fighting viral infections and sore throats.
7. A Good Immunity Booster
Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C which has multiple uses. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes a healthy system. It fights free radicals on the body and eliminates oxidative stress which is a major factor in immune deterioration. Vitamin C protects leukocytes and stimulates its production. These are the cells responsible for fighting off diseases and infections thus keeping you strong and healthy. It basically means that if vitamin C protects the only cells that keep you from getting sick and more to prevents cell oxidation then you can’t afford to miss it. It is because of this antioxidant property that lemon is able to fight diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
8. Aids in Digestion
Lemon juice has been linked with promoting healthy digestion. It enhances enzyme action which eliminates toxins from the body lessening symptoms of indigestion like bloating and burping. Also, lemon is low in carbs and high in pectins which reduce risks of constipation. Constipation can be so uncomfortable. Lemon can help prevent it.
Is there a way to tell if lemon is ready to consume? The answer is yes, ready lemons are yellow or yellow-green in colour and range between size 2-3 inches. Now we are ready to eat our lemons but we cannot always employ the same eating style, right? Besides, creativity makes the same foods more interesting.
Here are some ways you can reap the benefits of lemon when you feel you need one;
Lemon water– boil clean water added with droplets of honey. Squeeze lemon juice into your mix to make a detox concoction. Drink first thing in the morning.
Pickles– make lemon pickles
In vegetables– when preparing vegetables or fruits to eat and you peel them but you get held up in something urgent, just spray lemon juices on them to help them retain their original colour until you are ready to eat them.
In desserts– add lemon juices in your desserts to give it a more enticing flavour.
Lemonades– a glass of lemon juice or the same mixed with your favourite fizzy drink to refresh your evening during summer is not only relaxing but nutritious. Lemon slices can also be used to decorate the drinks and still add nutrients to them.
In salads– whether it’s a veggie salad or a fruit salad, sprinkle a fair enough amount of lemon juices to dress your salad. Enjoy a healthy and tasty salad with lemon.
As a base– lemony flavour base for your chicken or fish, perfect!
As a dip– might not sound like the best idea but if you can’t use lemon as a dressing for your salads, why not use it as a dip for crudités
Pasta– toss your cooked pasta with lemon zest or lemon juice, its super delicious. Besides, lemon juice in cooking rice prevents it from sticking
Risks and Precautions
Too much lemon intake may be harmful, take just enough amounts so as not to undo the many benefits of lemon.
Irritations – A lot of lemons may cause stomach pains and nausea due to its acidic nature. May worsen ulcers and heartburns
Tooth Damage – Excess acids on tooth enamel may erode the teeth enamel. Brush your teeth right after taking lemon water
Why We Recommend
Lemons are everything you would wish for when seeking a healthier life. The benefits of lemon include reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, lowered blood pressure, low risks of rheumatoid arthritis, healthy anti-ageing skin, fewer bronchial respiratory attacks, and a healthy digestive system.
Lemons are packed vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This just qualifies it as one of the healthiest fruits in the world. With vitamin C which is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient, lemon can help fight so many diseases and promote a generally healthy body when you reap the long list of benefits of lemon.