Lemon is a popular fruit that people use in small amounts to flavor food. However, they rarely consume them on their own due to their intense and sour taste. Lemons add flavor to baked goods, sauces, dressings, marinades, beverages and desserts, and they are also a good source of vitamin C. A 58 gram (g) lemon can provide more than 30 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is essential for good health, and a deficiency can lead to health problems. Early explorers knew this and carried lemons on their long voyages to prevent or treat scurvy, a fatal disease common among sailors. This article examines the nutritional content of lemons, their possible health benefits, ways to use them in the diet, and potential health risks.
Health benefits of lemons
Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants help eliminate free radicals that can damage cells in the body.
These nutrients can help prevent disease and improve health and well-being.
Here are some of the possible benefits of consuming lemons.
1) Decreased risk of stroke
According to a 2012 study, the flavonoids in citrus fruits may help reduce the risk of ischemic stroke in women. The 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 ate the least. Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. It can occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. A 2019 population study showed that regular, long-term consumption of foods containing flavonoids may 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 reduce the risk of stroke. What foods contain potassium?
2) Blood pressure
A 2014 study found that women in Japan who walked regularly and consumed lemon daily had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t. More research is needed to identify lemon’s role in this improvement and to find out if consuming lemon can help lower blood pressure, since daily walking can also lower blood pressure.
3) Cancer prevention
Lemons and lemon juice are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant. Antioxidants can help prevent free radicals from causing cell damage that can lead to cancer. However, it is unclear exactly how antioxidants may help prevent cancer.
4) Maintain a healthy complexion
Vitamin C plays an essential role in the formation of collagen, the skin’s support system. Sun exposure, pollution, age and other factors can lead to skin damage. A 2014 study in mice suggested that consuming vitamin C in its natural form or applying it topically can help prevent this type of damage.
5) Prevention of asthma
People with asthma who consume higher amounts of vitamin C and other nutrients when they have a cold may have fewer asthma attacks, a study has found. The authors found evidence that vitamin C was also beneficial for people with bronchial hypersensitivity when they also had a cold.
6) Increase Iron Absorption
Iron deficiency is one of the main causes of anemia. Combining vitamin C-rich foods with iron-rich foods maximizes the body’s ability to absorb iron. However, high vitamin C intake can trigger gastrointestinal issues in people who take iron supplements. That’s why it’s best to get iron from food sources, such as beef liver, lentils, raisins, dried beans, animal meats, and spinach. Adding a little lemon juice to a salad containing baby spinach can maximize iron and vitamin C intake.
7) Strengthen the immune system
Foods rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants can help strengthen the immune system against cold and flu-causing germs. One study found that while vitamin C supplements don’t appear to reduce the incidence of colds in a population, they may help shorten the duration of a cold. Vitamin C may also help boost immunity in people who engage in extreme physical activity. Squeezing a whole lemon into a glass of hot water with a large spoonful of honey makes a soothing drink for people with coughs or colds.
8) Weight loss
In a 2008 study, rodents that consumed lemon peel phenols along with a high-fat diet for 12 weeks gained less weight than those that 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, body weight, and waist-to-hip ratio than those who followed the other diets. .
More research is needed to confirm whether lemon can aid weight loss, and if so, how.
Nutritional value of lemon
A lemon weighing 58 grams (g) contains:
energy: 16.8 calories (kcal)
carbohydrates: 5.41 g, of which 1.45 g are sugars
calcium: 15.1 milligrams (mg)
phosphorus: 9.3 mg
selenium: 0.2 micrograms (mcg)
vitamin C: 30.7mg
folate: 6.4 mcg
vitamin A: 0.6 mcg
lutein + zeaxanthin: 6.4 mcg
Current dietary recommendations recommend an intake of 75 mg of vitamin C per day for women aged 19 and over and 90 mg per day for men.
Smokers need 35 mg per day more than non-smokers. Lemons also contain small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, copper, and manganese.
Unlike many fruits, lemons do not ripen and their quality does not improve after picking. It is recommended to harvest lemons when they are ripe and store them at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Lemons go well with savory and sweet dishes.
Lemons have a high acid content, so their juice may affect people with:
Mouth ulcers: It can cause a tingling sensation.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): This can make symptoms worse, such as heartburn and regurgitation.
The nutrients in lemons provide several health benefits. However, it is difficult to get all the necessary nutrients from lemon due to its sour taste and high acid content.
However, consuming lemon juice as part of a varied diet that includes many other fresh fruits and vegetables can make a person’s diet more nutritious and healthier.