7 Healthy Reasons Why Lemon Should Be Part of Your Diet
For centuries, lemon fruit and its extracts have been used for a range of culinary, medicinal, and skincare purposes in various cultures around the world. A great source of micronutrients, this tiny citrus fruit offers wide-ranging health benefits that can supplement your diet in many ways.
Being high in plant fiber and extremely low in calories (one lemon contains about 17 calories), this fruit can easily fit into the daily calorie budget of weight watchers. In addition, it boosts your daily dose with plentiful amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. About 89% of lemon consists of mineral-rich water, which keeps your brain hydrated and helps flush out toxins from your system. Apart from micronutrients, this fruit also contains some plant flavonoids that are clinically proven to support heart health.
What is the health benefit of lemon?
1. Boosts immune function
Our body needs approx. 75-90 grams of vitamin C every day. Including varied sources of vitamin C in your diet is crucial for building a robust immune function, as this micronutrient supports multiple cellular functions of white blood cells. One tiny fruit contains about 31 grams of vitamin C, which can alone provide about a third of your daily requirement. Vitamin C also protects your cells against oxidative damage and reduces inflammatory responses when you get sick.
2. Protects your heart
Studies have linked increased consumption of vitamin C with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Along with vitamin C, this common fruit also contains some other antioxidants that can help protect your vital organs against free radical damage.
The hesperidin found in lemon strengthens blood vessels and prevents the buildup of fatty deposits inside arteries. Another flavonoid compound called diosmin strengthens your heart muscles, reduces chronic inflammation of arteries, and promotes blood circulation. Both hesperidin and diosmin are also known to lower cholesterol levels.
Eating lemon pulp is healthier than drinking only its juice. Its pulp contains fiber, and citrus fibers have been shown to help in lowering total cholesterol levels. According to a 2012 study, people who eat citrus fruits regularly have a 19% lower risk of stroke.
3. May help promote weight loss
Drinking lukewarm lemon water with honey in the morning has long been touted as a natural way to promote weight loss. But an equal number of people think that it is completely a myth, as there has not been any conclusive research to prove that. So, what’s the truth? Does lemon water really help with weight loss?
Well, that depends on how you drink it!
The pulp of this fruit contains a soluble fiber called pectin, which has been linked with many health benefits. Including soluble fibers in your diet can make you eat fewer calories throughout the day. Pectin expands inside the stomach, making you feel fuller and slowing down the digestion of sugars and starch. When taken with lukewarm water and honey, lemon may also boost metabolism. However, make sure you extract the juice along with its pulp.
In one animal study, polyphenolic compounds extracted from the peel were also shown to reduce body fat.
4. Supports digestive health
Drinking lemon water is a traditional home remedy to relieve digestive problems like constipation, gas, bloating, heartburn, and indigestion. Its citric acid content is believed to aid in the breakdown of food.
Soluble fibers found in lemon pulp may also help improve gut health in several ways. Fiber binds food in the stomach and adds bulk, facilitating its movement inside the GI tract. This promotes regular bowel movements and helps remove metabolic toxins trapped inside the intestinal walls. Keeping the digestive tract clean improves the absorption of nutrients from meals and provides a favorable condition for a healthy gut microbial community.
Lemon’s peel contains a compound called d-limonene, which is also known to help with digestive problems like acid reflux and heartburn. This compound is responsible for lemon’s distinctly refreshing aroma and constitutes the active compound of lemon essential oil.
5. Improves skin health
Lemon contains some powerful antioxidants that can do wonders for your skin health. Vitamin C is often used as an active ingredient in many anti-aging serums, creams, and lotions. Including good sources of vitamin C in your diet naturally boosts the production of collagen and elastin – proteins that make up 80% of the outermost layer of the skin.
These proteins are responsible for maintaining optimal hydration, healing wounds, promoting the regrowth of skin cells, smoothening texture, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and improving the elasticity of the skin. Drinking lemon water also keeps you hydrated, which can help soothe dry and dehydrated skin.
According to a 2016 study, citrus-based drinks may help prevent premature skin aging by reducing oxidative stress and boosting structural proteins.
6. Helps with hair problems
Nutritional deficiency of vitamin C and iron is known to weaken hair roots and cause hair fall problems – lemon can help with both. Our body uses vitamin C to make structural hair proteins like keratin and collagen. These proteins are important for repairing environmental wear and tear. Environmental damage may reduce hair elasticity over time and cause breakage. Making lemon a part of your regular diet may help improve moisture retention and support healthier hair growth. Lemon can also be directly applied to the scalp to soothe scalp infections. Due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, it is helpful in soothing dryness, itchiness, dandruff and helps reduce excess sebum production.
7. Prevents iron deficiency
Iron deficiency is particularly common in women, as women lose heavy amounts of blood during menstruation. Loss of iron causes weakness, dizziness, mental fatigue and may worsen PMS symptoms even more. Though lemon does not contain significant amounts of iron in itself, it may still help prevent iron deficiency.
Lemon contains good amounts of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and citric acid, both of which can increase the amount of iron you absorb from other plant sources. So, if you are eating loads of dark leafy vegetables, adding lemon to your diet may help absorb more nutrients from those sources. While women of childbearing age are at the highest risk of anemia, lemon is helpful for everyone as nutritional deficiencies are extremely common.
Safety and precautions
Lemon is generally regarded as well-tolerated by people of all age groups, except those who are allergic to citrus fruits.
Being mildly acidic, lemon can erode tooth enamel. Consider rinsing your mouth afterward to prevent damage.
Lemon is a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and flavonoids that can boost your overall health in many ways. Making lemon a part of your diet helps keep up the immune function, reduces the risk of heart disease, supports gut health, and pampers your skin with loads of nourishment. To reap maximum benefits of lemon, make sure you eat the whole fruit – except its peel, of course, though its peel can also be boiled with water to make a delicious and flavorful tea.
There are many natural health benefits when using this fruit. For example, the juice of one lemon is combine with the juice of one lime mixed with 8 once of water, about 5 – 20 drops of cayenne pepper extract and blended 1 min can used as tonic for cleansing the kidney of toxins. Nevertheless, the healing power of this amazing fruit is simply astounding.
Unless you are allergic to citrus fruits, you should definitely consider including this fruit into your diet for optimal health and healing, but as always use only non-GMO and organic or biodynamically grown lemons. Your body will thank you for it. Of course, the above example is not medical advice, so be sure to consult your health care practitioner before attempting any natural health remedy you read in this article or on this site.
To Your Health!