Scientifically known as citrus limon, lemon is one of the most widely used fruits in the citrus family (Rutaceae). The fruit is considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the earth due to its large amounts of vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants.
Lemon is a bright yellow oval fruit roughly the same size of an orange. It has a strong tangy, sour taste and is used primarily for its juice, which contains high levels of citric acid that give it its strong sour taste. The lemon fruit is regularly served as lemonade by diluting the juice and adding sugar. Lemons are also used as garnishes or in cooked dishes.
Apart from adding taste to dishes, lemon also provides many health benefits. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and B-complex as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, potassium, and magnesium. They are also high in antioxidants, flavonoids, and pectin that help fight free radicals, prevent heart disease, and detoxify the entire body.
Lemon Nutrition Facts
Nutritional Value of Raw Lemons Without Peel (100g)
Health Benefits of Lemon
1. Reduce Cancer Risk
Some researchers have found that the plant compounds present in lemons, such as D-limonene and hesperidin, may help reduce the risk of many types of cancers, including skin cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer.
2. Supports Immune System
Lemons contain both vitamin C and E, two anti-oxidants that help fight free radicals and support a strong immune system. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells and may protect the integrity of immune cells.
3. Prevent Heart Disease
Lemon contains dietary flavonoids and research has shown that the flavonoids may prevent heart disease by helping to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels. The high vitamin C contained in lemons have also been shown to lower cholesterol.
4. Cleanse the Liver
Lemon is a great natural body cleanser. The alkaline effect of citric acid helps eliminate toxins such as uric acid. It also contains eriocitrin, a flavonoid that helps protect the liver against oxidative stress.
5. Reduce the Risk of Kidney stones
Lemon contains the most citric acid of any fruits, which makes them beneficial to those suffering from kidney stones. According to University of Wisconsin Health, citric acid inhibits stone formation and also breaks up small stones that are forming. Drink half a cup of pure lemon water every day or 32 ounces of lemonade has the same amount of citric acid as pharmacological therapy.
6. Prevent Asthma
Lemon has powerful antioxidant properties that helps fight against allergens that enter the body through the respiratory system and thus preventing the allergens to cause an asthma attack. Take one lemon and squeeze it in a glass of water. Consume this natural mixture daily as a replacement for regular water.
7. Prevent Anemia
Lemons are a great source of vitamin C and citric acid, which can increase the absorption of iron from other foods. Since lemon can increase the absorption of iron from foods, it may help in preventing anemia.
8. Lower Blood Sugar
Lemons contain pectin, a form of soluble fiber, that can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the digestion of sugar and starch. However, to get the benefits, you need to eat them along with their pulp and skin.
9. Treats Urinary Treat Infection
Citrus fruits like lemon are rich sources of vitamin C. This vitamin is very important for keeping the urinary tract healthy as it eliminates infection causing bacteria from the system.
10. Relieve Sore Throat
Lemon contains citrus acid which helps to break up the mucus that causes sore throat and also helps to relieve the soreness of the throat. Drink the juice from one lemon diluted with one cup of warm water. Alternatively, you can gargle with straight lemon juice. This will help relieve the sore throat too.
11. Improve Digestive Health
Lemon juice not only promotes healthy digestion by helping to remove toxins in your digestive tract, but it also helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, burping, and bloating.
12. Slows down the Aging Process
DNA damage is the primary cause of aging. Vitamin C in lemons prevent DNA damage. Also, lemons help to produce collagen, which reduce wrinkles.
When buying lemons, choose the ones that have a shiny, yellow-colored lemon and feel heavy for their size. Avoid very pale lemons and those with small pits as this indicates that they’re not fresh.
Side Effects of Lemon Juice
Lemon does provide many health benefits, but if consumed in excess, it can cause gastric reflux problems or heartburn. Additionally, the citric acid of lemon juice can cause damage to the tooth enamel, according to World’s Healthiest Foods, which encourages people to drink lemon water or juice through a straw.
Many people drink lemon water, either cold or hot, few times per day. The recipe is usually freshly squeezed juice from half or one lemon in a cup of water. Lemonade should have similar health benefits, except for the added sugar that is often added to it. Added sugar can be very harmful when consumed in excess.
Many of the plant compounds in lemons are not found in lemon juice, so it is recommended to eat the whole fruit for maximum benefit.