The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Integrating Lemons into Your Diet

While lemons might not be the most delicious fruit, they are still favored by many people looking to add flavor to food. Lemons give flavor to baked goods, drinks, and even desserts. 

In addition to bringing flavor to your food, lemon is highly touted for numerous health benefits. In fact, this fruit was used by early sailors to prevent and treat scurvy. However, lemon’s health benefit goes beyond scurvy treatment. Follow through as we discuss the health benefits of this citrus fruit.

Nutritional Composition of Lemon

Lemon's health benefits are due to its nourishing content. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, lemon contains the following nutrients:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Fiber

In addition to the nutrients listed above, lemon is a rich source of vitamin C. Its high vitamin C content has been linked to the majority of the fruit’s health benefits. Lemon also contains a small amount of several other vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins- niacin, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, as well as zinc, potassium, and magnesium.

Health Benefits of Lemon

Lemon packs several antioxidants which prevent the activity of free radicals in the body. Here are some of the benefits of integrating the citrus fruit into your diet:

Improved Heart Health

Eating lemon enhances heart performance and improves heart health. Lemons are rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. One lemon contains around 31 mg of vitamin C, about 51% of your recommended daily intake.

Experts state that eating fruits rich in vitamin C can reduce your chances of suffering cardiovascular diseases and stroke. In addition to vitamin C, lemon’s high fiber can lower the risk of heart disease.

One study found that eating 24 grams of citrus fiber daily for a month reduces cholesterol levels in the blood. Lemon contains hesperidin and diosmin, two compounds that have been found to lower cholesterol levels.

Prevent Kidney Stones

Integrating lemon into your diet can help prevent kidney stones. Kidney stones are lumps that build up in your kidney when waste products crystallize. This occurrence is quite common and people who experience it once are likely to get it repeatedly.

The citric acid in lemon may help prevent kidney stones by increasing urine volume, while also raising pH. This creates an unfavorable environment for the formation of the lumps.

You can drink half a cup of lemon juice daily to up your intake of citric acid and prevent the formation of kidney stones. Some studies show that drinking lemonade may also prevent you from getting kidney stones if you’ve had it before.

Lessens Cancer Risk

Health experts have often suggested that a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables can help you reduce the risk of some cancers. Many observational studies indicate that people who eat more citrus fruits are less likely to suffer from cancer.

Furthermore, a test-tube study found that compounds in lemons kill cancerous cells. However, it is unclear if the compounds have the same effect on the human body.

Animal studies have shown that D-limonene, a compound found in lemon oil, has anti-cancer properties. This compound prevents hostile tumors from developing in the lungs, tongues, and colons of rodents.

Weight Loss and Control

In addition to its numerous health benefits, lemon is often touted as a great food for weight loss. Some experts believe that its weight loss benefit is due to its fiber content. Lemon packs soluble pectin fiber, which expands in your stomach, leaving you satisfied for longer.

However, you have to eat the lemon fruit whole to access its weight loss perks as lemon juice contains no pectin. Therefore, drinking the juice will not provide the same fullness you get from eating the fruit.

What’s more, research shows that plant compounds in lemon extract may prevent weight gain or even promote loss of weight. One study on rodents found that mice who consumed lemon polyphenols gained less weight and body fat.

Boosts Digestive Health

10% of lemon’s composition is carbs and it comes mostly in the form of soluble fiber and simple sugars. The main fiber in the citrus fruit is pectin and it is associated with various benefits for digestive health. 

Studies show that soluble fiber can slow the digestion of sugars and starches while improving gut health. This super effect on digestion also contributes to reduced blood sugar levels.

To get the full benefits of fiber, you need to eat the pulp of the fruit. Therefore, consider eating the fruit rather than drinking lemon juice.

Bottom Line

Lemon’s sour taste means that not everyone will enjoy eating the fruit whole. Thankfully, it can be consumed as a part of various diets. Grate lemon peels on your soups, salads, and pasta to enjoy its health benefits. You can also make some lemon pepper seasoning to add to your meals.