Lemons are citrus fruits rich in flavonoids, folate, potassium, and vitamin C.
A quarter cup of fresh lemon juice provides 31 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C, three percent of the RDI for folate, two percent of the RDI for potassium, and only 13 calories.
One lemon offers a whopping 139 percent of the RDI for vitamin C and contains only 22 calories. Vitamin C boosts your immunity by protecting the integrity of immune cells. Additionally, vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells.
Detailed below are six of the health benefits of lemons.
Lemons contain about 10 percent carbs in the form of soluble fiber and simple sugars. Pectin, the main fiber in lemons, is a form of soluble fiber that's associated with several health benefits.
Soluble fiber improves gut health and slows the digestion of starches and sugars, reducing blood sugar levels. However, to reap benefits of fiber from lemons, you need to eat the pulp or drink lemon juice with pulp. (Related: A citrusy pick-me-up: The 15 health benefits of drinking lemon water in the morning.)
There are several reasons why lemons are considered a popular weight-loss food. The soluble pectin fiber in lemons expands in the stomach, making people feel full longer.
The active compounds in lemons are also believed to promote weight loss. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, researchers observed mice fed a fattening diet and found that those given polyphenols extracted from lemon peel gained less weight and body fat than mice who weren't.
Kidney stones are waste products that crystallize and build up in the kidneys. Citric acid in lemon can prevent kidney stones by increasing urine volume and urine pH. This results in a less favorable environment for kidney stone formation.
If you already have kidney stones, drink half a cup (four ounces or 125 milliliters) of lemon juice every day. This provides you with enough citric acid to prevent further stone formation.
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when a person doesn't get enough iron from their diet. While lemons contain only trace amounts of iron, they prevent anemia by improving iron absorption from plant foods.
The human gut absorbs heme iron from chicken, fish, and meat very easily but finds it difficult to absorb non-heme iron or iron from plant sources.
To improve iron absorption from vegetables, obtain citric acid from lemons.
Several studies suggest that eating vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Lemons contain fiber and plant compounds that help reduce some risk factors associated with heart disease. A study published in the journal Nutrition Research showed that consuming 24 grams of citrus fiber extract daily for one month lowers total blood cholesterol levels.
Diosmin and hesperidin, two plant compounds found in lemons, can also help decrease blood cholesterol.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent certain types of cancer. According to observational studies, individuals who consume large amounts of citrus fruits have a lower risk of cancer.
In one study, researchers used mandarin pulp which contains beta-cryptoxanthin and hesperidin, two plant compounds that are also found in lemons. They found that these compounds can prevent malignant tumors from developing in the colons, lungs, and tongues of rodents. D-limonene, a compound present in lemon oil, also has anticancer properties, according to animal studies.
Drink fresh lemonade or lemon water daily to boost your heart health and lower your risk of developing certain types of cancer.