Lemons are one of Mother Nature’s powerful superfoods. No need to search high and low for an exotic “superfood” you can’t spell, much less pronounce. Although the new superfood de jour is exciting to learn about, you can boost your health with zesty, fresh lemons any time, any season.
In addition to being one of the most nutritious foods on earth, lemons have a multitude of uses you might not know about. When life gives you lemons, use them to boost your health.
Here are eight fabulous benefits of lemons for your health:
Water is the most important nutrient in your body. Cells need water in order to function properly. Not only that, but water is also required to remove toxins from every organ, and every body system. That’s why health professionals recommend drinking at least 8-10, 8-ounce glasses of water every day.
Since you’re already drinking plenty of water daily, why not take things to the next level, and add lemon? Lemon water provides additional vitamins and nutrients, including Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and magnesium to help you stay hydrated – even if you aren’t getting enough water every day.1 Squeeze a spritz of lemon juice into your water bottle, or add extra slices of fresh lemon to that tall glass of ice water for a burst of beneficial flavor.
2. Immunity Boost
Oranges aren’t the only citrus fruit packed with Vitamin C. Lemons are packed with this immune-boosting nutrient, too. How much? A medium-sized lemon contains about 40 grams of Vitamin C. This yellow fruit might just be your ticket to fighting off infections and maintaining a healthy immune system. 2
3. Digestive Health
Lemons contain the phytochemical compound D-limonene, known to offer many different benefits for digestion. Studies have shown that this compound, found mainly in the peel or in the essential oil of lemons, was able to relieve heartburn and help to neutralize gastric acid.3
4. Clear Skin
Both internally and topically, lemons are a best-kept beauty secret for clearer skin. When consumed, lemons’ natural ability to detoxify may help to eliminate lingering waste in your GI tract, reducing the risk of acne breakouts.
Lemons also offer a natural source of AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) that work in a similar way to a professional chemical peel. As an exfoliant, lemon juice can clear away dead skin cells and lingering sebum for a more even skin tone, and a dewy complexion.
Additionally, studies have shown the ability of lemons to help protect healthy skin cells. This is due to the content of a unique class of antioxidants they contain called flavonoids.4 These powerful antioxidant compounds are known to slow abnormal cell division and also provide antibiotic properties to boost resistance against common skin infections.5
5. Fewer Kidney Stones
Your kidneys work hard to filter out toxins and pollutants from your body. However, over time, they can become congested with buildup. This could result in painful kidney stones.
Research suggests that a chemical compound in lemons called oxalates may be beneficial for kidney stones. One study revealed that lemon juice was able to increase levels of citrate in urine, and potentially inhibit kidney stone formation.6
6. Cardiovascular Health
Lemons contain a flavonoid called hesperidin. This compound is shown in clinical studies to support a healthy cardiovascular system. The hesperidin in lemons may help to strengthen blood vessels, helping to reduce your risk of developing atherosclerosis – a hardening or narrowing of the arteries.7
7. Weight Loss
Lemons are a naturally low-fat, low-calorie food. They are also an excellent source of pectin, a type of soluble fiber. When consumed, soluble fibers are known to lower blood sugar levels, as they aid in slowing the digestive process.8,9 As this fiber slows digestion, it works to increase feelings of fullness (satiety) to support weight loss.
8. Reduced Risk of Anemia
Iron deficiency can cause anemia. Because lemons contain a good source of Vitamin C and citric acid, they aid in the absorption of iron from other foods you eat. For this reason, adding lemons to your diet may help to improve nutrient absorption, reducing your risk of developing anemia.10,11
The Not So Bitter End
You’ve seen it in your water at restaurants or at a high-end spa, and now it’s time to incorporate them in your own diet at home. For a delicious alternative to sugary soda, try it out in Dr. Gundry’s healthy “diet” soda recipe! There is little doubt that lemons are one of nature’s top superfood. With so many potential health benefits, how could it not be?
Make lemons a part of your regular diet. Add juice to your water. Add a squeeze of the citrus over fresh veggies and fish. You’ll be adding flavor, sure, but you’ll also be adding immunity boosting vitamins and other health benefits that come with this power-packed fruit and its juices.
For more superfoods you should incorporate in your diet, keep reading here:
1. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Raw Fruits Poster (Text Version/Accessible Version). Nutrition Information on Raw Fruits for Restaurants & Retail Establishments.
2. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Raw Fruits Poster (Text Version/Accessible Version). Nutrition Information on Raw Fruits for Restaurants & Retail Establishments.
3. Sun J. D-Limonene: safety and clinical applications. Altern Med Rev. 2007 Sep;12(3):259-64.
4. J.A. Del Rı́oa, M.D. Fustera. Citrus limon: a source of flavonoids of pharmaceutical interest. Food Chemistry. Volume 84, Issue 3, February 2004, Pages 457–461.
5. Oussama A, Touhami M. In vitro and in vivo study of effect of lemon juice on urinary lithogenesis. Arch Esp Urol. 2005 Dec;58(10):1087-92.
6. Shashank Kumar, Abhay K. Pandey. Chemistry and Biological Activities of Flavonoids: An Overview. The Scientific World Journal. Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 162750, 16 pages.
7. Antiatherogenic Properties of Naringenin, a Citrus Flavonoid. Lisa J. Wilcox, Nica M. Borradaile.
8. Lemon/Limes. The World’s Healthiest Foods.http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=27
9. Joanne Slavin. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients. 2013 Apr; 5(4): 1417–1435.
10. Ballot D, Baynes RD. The effects of fruit juices and fruits on the absorption of iron from a rice meal. Br J Nutr. 1987 May;57(3):331-43.
11. Péneau S, Dauchet L. Relationship between iron status and dietary fruit and vegetables based on their vitamin C and fiber content. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1298-305.