Lemons: Nutrients and Health Benefits

Lemons

You most probably have used lemons in one way or the other, no matter which part of the world you are living in. But if you haven’t, let me guess, you are still familiar with this small fruit. But do you know about the nutrients and the health benefits that a lemon has to offer? Oh! I guess you must know about its popular benefits in weight loss and skincare etc. But that’s not all! Keep reading this article and I bet you will learn something new about lemons.

WHAT ARE LEMONS?

You already know “what are lemons” but everyone does not! So, please bear with me for a little while to introduce this fruit then we will proceed towards our main subject.

Lemon is a citrus fruit. In fact, it’s a hybrid citrus fruit (the original citrus fruits are only three i.e. mandarin orange, citron & pomelo). It was derived from a cross between citron and sour orange (itself a hybrid of mandarin and pomelo).

If I describe the physical features of lemon; it is an oval-shaped, yellow fruit, usually with thick skin. The thick, yellow skin covers the transparent, fibrous pulp that is very sour in taste. Of course, the pulp is very juicy because it consists of about 89% water. And people usually use its juice in their food from cooking and baking to drinks and desserts. There are a few tiny, white seeds inside the pulp that may not be there in some types of lemon.

Fresh nutritious lemon

NUTRIENTS IN LEMON:

What comes to your mind when you think of “nutrients in lemon”? Of course the vitamin C! Yes, it is an excellent source of vitamin C. But do you know about the other nutrients found in lemon?  Let me tell you…

According to the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), one lemon fruit (i.e. 65g) is composed of the following nutrients:

NameAmountUnit
Water57.8g
Energy18.8kcal
Protein0.715g
Total lipid (fat)0.195g
Carbohydrates6.06g
Fiber, total dietary1.82g
Sugars, total including NLEA1.62g
Calcium, Ca16.9mg
Iron, Fe0.39mg
Magnesium, Mg5.2mg
Phosphorus, P10.4mg
Potassium, K89.7mg
Sodium, Na1.3mg

Source: USDA

Know more about: Essential Nutrients in Pomegranate

Calories:

Lemons are low in calories. One whole lemon (65g) provides 18.8 Kcal of energy.

Carbs:

The carbohydrates content in lemon is 6g. The carbs are mainly fiber (1.8g) and sugar (1.6g). This shows that the nutritional value of sugar is low in lemons.

Likewise, lemon is a low glycemic food which means that it does not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar level because its glycemic load is low i.e. only 1.

Proteins:

The nutritional profile of lemon shows that lemon is not an excellent source of proteins because one whole lemon contains only about 0.7g of proteins which is even less than 1g.

Fats:

Similarly, the fat content is almost negligible in lemon. Hardly, it is about 0.2 g.

Vitamins:

If there is a vitamin that lemon and other citrus fruits are known for, it is vitamin C. Lemons are rich in vitamin C. Only one lemon contains almost half of the recommended daily value of vitamin C i.e. 30.7 mg (while the RDA of vitamin C ranges between 65 to 90 mg). Apart from this, they also contain traces of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and vitamin B9 (Folate).

Get to know about: 11 Essential Vitamins Found in Mango Fruit

Minerals:

Lemons contain a decent amount of some minerals i.e. Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium. They also contain some traces of Sodium and Iron.

Plant Compounds:

Lemon is rich in one of the essential organic acids i.e. citric acid. Other plant compounds found in lemon are antioxidants such as hesperidin, diosmin, and eriocitrin. In addition to that, there is another plant compound found in lemon peel i.e. D-limonene.

Fresh green lemon

8 Research-Based Health Benefits of Lemon:

Lemon is a nutritious fruit and it offers a lot of health benefits. Following are a few of the health benefits that a lemon has to offer.

Learn about:  10 Miraculous Health Benefits of Mango Fruit

  1. Prevents Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient in a healthy diet. Especially, the powerful antioxidant properties of vitamin C help in strengthening the body’s immunity.

Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, among which, I believe, lemon is the best. Although, there are some other fruits and vegetables that contain more vitamin C than lemon,, the reason I say the lemon is the best option is because of its availability all year round. Also, you can have vitamin C in your diet very easily if you just squeeze a lemon into your meal.

So, adding lemon to your diet might help you prevent vitamin C deficiency that can lead to various health issues. For instance, lack of vitamin C in the body can cause bruising, skin and hair problems, gum bleeding, iron deficiency anemia, and in most severe cases it can even cause scurvy (this disease is very rare in today’s world).

  1. Weight Loss

When it comes to the health benefits of lemon, there are a few myths associated with this fruit regarding its weight loss properties. Though lemon does help in some ways to reduce weight, it’s not like you start using lemon or lemon water and you will automatically start losing weight (as some theories suggest).

Learn more: How can lemon water help with weight loss?

That being said, there are a few pieces of research that support the idea that lemon might be helpful in losing body weight. However, note that even those researches are animal studies and there isn’t sufficient information about human studies in this regard.

One animal study shows that the experimental mice/ rodents who were on a high-fat diet supplemented with lemon polyphenols (extracted from the lemon peel) for 12 weeks gained less weight and body fat than the mice who did not consume lemon extract.

Another research suggests that the plant compounds found in citrus fruits and lemon polyphenols (extracted from the peel) might be beneficial for the treatment of obesity.

Read more: Yes you can eat mango while on a weight loss diet

  1. Skincare

Lemon is one of the widely used ingredients in skin care products because of its detoxifying and antimicrobial effects. A research study suggests that this fruit has antibacterial properties.

Lemon is used as a natural treatment for various skin issues. Especially, it is the best remedy for preventing oily skin, blackheads, acne scars, skin tightening, and lightening of the skin. Additionally, the vitamin C in lemon can help increase collagen production in your body, and thus reducing skin aging/ wrinkles.

However, note that lemon is a highly acidic fruit, so it can cause skin irritation or any other skin problem if it’s used topically in excessive amounts. To avoid any side effects, use only a few drops of lemon juice in combination with any other skincare ingredient such as honey, aloe vera, coconut oil, rose water, etc. And to be on the safe side, do a patch test on your skin before applying lemon to your face.

Learn about: 5 Benefits of Mango For Skin

  1. Improves Digestion

When it comes to digestion, lemon water (lemon juice diluted with water) has a significant role in improving the digestive system. It’s a known remedy to start your day with lemon water just to keep your digestive system moving.

As we know that the gastric acids in the stomach help in the breakdown of food – digestion. And, we also know that lemon is a highly acidic fruit, so it can help improve the digestion process.

Also, lemon is rich in fibers that can help in the treatment of constipation.

  1. May Prevent Heart Diseases

As I mentioned earlier, lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C because it provides about 50% of the RDI of this vitamin. And different researches have shown that consumption of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables have a protective effect against heart diseases as well as stroke. (12)

In addition to this, some other studies suggest that the plant compounds i.e. citrus flavonoids including hesperidin and diosmin (that are present in lemon) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, insulin resistance, and obesity. (34)

Juicy lemons

  1. Strengthens the Immune System

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Foods that are rich in vitamin C or other antioxidants boost the immune system.

Squeezing a lemon in warm water mixed with a tablespoon of honey is a known remedy for flu and the common cold. The vitamin C in lemon strengthens the body’s defense mechanism against the common cold and flu.

  1. Eye Health

Now another benefit of vitamin C is here. The antioxidant role of vitamin C in the body can also help in improving vision and reducing the risk of a few eye diseases. For instance, the consumption of lemon might help in preventing macular degeneration and cataracts.

  1. Helps in preventing Kidney Stones

Lemons contain citrate – a chemical compound that is naturally present in citrus fruits. This compound prevents calcium stone formation (that usually occurs in the kidney) as well as it is also capable of breaking up small stones, allowing them to pass out of the body.

Learn: What are the Nutritional Benefits of Grapes?

CONCLUSION:

In brief, lemon is a small fruit, low in calories but rich in essential nutrients. Consuming lemon either in the form of lemon water or squeezing it in your food will provide you with a lot of health benefits.

Disclaimer:

All the health-related information/articles on bloggeristic.com are generic, provided only for the purpose of general knowledge, and should not be taken as a substitute for the medical advice of healthcare professionals. Please note that this information is based on research but if you have any serious health concerns do contact your doctor.

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