Health Benefits of Lemons: Weight Loss, Skin, Health, Detox
What are the Health Benefits of Lemons?
Lemons have been popular in countries all over the world for decades now. Not only do they serve as delicious garnishes for drinks and tangy ingredients for some dishes, but they are also capable of providing some great benefits to your health as well.
Lemons’ positive effects on the body have been well-known for centuries, but it is only during modern times that using lemons for their health benefits have been widely accepted and even recommended by medical professionals.
Here, we will be discussing exactly what these benefits are, and how consuming this little yellow fruit can help improve your general health and well-being. We will also discuss some side effects of lemons that you may want to be concerned about.
What is a Lemon?
Lemons, scientific name Citrus limon Osbeck, is a small, round fruit that can also resemble an ellipsoid. Originally from South Asia, primarily in India and China, the lemon was introduced to Europe around 700 AD, to the Middle East around 1,000 AD, and was introduced by Christopher Columbus to the Americas around the 15th century. In modern times, the states Florida and California in the United States have been known to cultivate high-quality lemons for both export and local consumption.
Other countries have their own variations of lemons. However, limes or other hybrids are not considered as lemons.
Benefits of Lemons to Your Health
Lemons are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that greatly benefit health. Lemons are almost 90% water and have only 29 calories per 100 grams. Lemons also have 2.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams but have a low glycemic index, which means that blood sugar levels do not rise as fast.
Listed below are just some of the benefits that you can get through regular consumption of this fruit.
It Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Regularly consuming lemons, along with regular exercise, have been shown to reduce high blood pressure among those suffering from hypertension. Several studies, including one held in 2014 with Japanese ladies as the test subjects, showed that regular walking along with lemon helped in improving their blood pressure.
However, the results were only evident for those who already have high blood pressure, though it can be inferred that those with regular blood pressure will get some benefits as well.
It Helps Lower the Risk of Cancer
Compounds found in lemons such as D-limonene as well as anti-oxidants can greatly help in preventing certain types of cancers. While research is not yet complete, these compounds have been shown to deliver very promising results in killing cancer cells and preventing the formation of free radicals.
Based on medical studies, risks of getting cancers of the tongue, colon, and lungs can be minimized through regular consumption of the fruit, although more research must be done in order to fully conclude the theory.
It Helps Boost the Immune System
Aside from cancer prevention, antioxidants have also been known to boost the immune system. Lemons are also known to contain loads of Vitamin C, 53 milligrams for every 100 grams to be exact, which can help the body fight off infections as well as shorten the recovery process in times of disease.
In fact, it was used by sailors to prevent the onset of scurvy over three centuries ago. Those afflicted with colds or flu are recommended a daily dose of lemons along with proper medication in order to help fight off viruses in the body. This is also recommended to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place.
It Helps in Promoting Weight Loss
Polyphenol antioxidants abundant in lemons have been shown to help reduce the risk of obesity by reducing the accumulation of fat. Studies on both rats and humans have proven that compound within lemons also makes you feel full for longer, and due to its low glycemic index, it takes less time for food to be absorbed by the body and turn into fat.
It should be noted, though, that most of the polyphenol can be found in the rinds, and while the skin of the fruit can be bitter in taste, some say that grating the rind and putting it on top of dishes as well as in your drink can reduce the flavor significantly and can even enhance other foods’ flavors.
It Helps Prevent Diabetes
Lemons have a sour flavor that borders on sweetness. As such, it can be used as a substitute sweetener in some cases. The fruit is low in sugar, can help control blood sugar levels, and improves insulin resistance.
This helps in the prevention of type 2 diabetes as well as other diseases related to the consumption of excess sugar. Of course, the benefit can only be felt through the reduction and substitution of sugar in your diets.
It Promotes Better Skin, Hair, and Nail Health
Consuming lemons in the form of lemon water can greatly improve skin, hair, and nail health. This is because Vitamin C is a nutrient responsible for the formation of collagen, which helps prevent damage due to aging and sun exposure.
Recovery from wounds and burns will also be faster with a healthy dose of Vitamin C. Those who consume lemon regularly will have less skin wrinkling, much smoother skin, healthier nails, and less hair fall.
Lemon is also known to be antiseptic and anti-bacterial, which means that squeezing them directly over wounds can help prevent infection and can even cool burns if other conventional items are not readily available.
It Helps Lower Risks of Stroke
Compounds found in lemons such as hesperidin and diosmin have been proven to help in lowering bad cholesterol levels. Lemons also contain potassium and flavonoids which help promote heart health.
As lemons have been shown to reduce plaque and clots in arteries, the risks of a person with a rich daily diet of lemons are significantly reduced as well. Studies have shown that those with lemons in their diets have around 20% less chance of having strokes than those who do not.
It Helps Prevent Kidney Stones
Drinking lemon water attacks kidney stones on two fronts. First, the citric acid in lemons helps in breaking up kidney stones. Secondly, drinking lemon water means that more fluids are taken in by the body.
As lemons are a natural diuretic, your kidneys will experience regular flushing and cleansing which can clear up and prevent the formation of crystals and stones within your organs.
It Helps Protect Against Anemia
Anemia is a disease that is caused by a lack of iron within the body. Fortunately, not only does lemon contain some iron, but the Vitamin C and citric acid contained within this food can help the body absorb more iron from foods that you consume.
Those who are pregnant or who have a family history of anemia are recommended to consume lemons to maximize the body’s ability to absorb this important nutrient and to prevent anemia from occurring.
It Helps Improve Your Digestion
Lemons assist in digestion through soluble fiber, which is found in the pulp itself. Soluble fiber is important in order to clean the good and to ensure solid and consistent bowel movements.
Lemon water, while not containing the soluble fiber, can help in promoting digestive health as well as water helps in excretion and prevents constipation. Consume lemons or drink lemon water to keep yourself regular and to have a healthy gut.
It Helps You Drink More Water
Admittedly, drinking water can be difficult due to its bland taste. Soft drinks and artificial fruit juices are no better as they are often loaded with chemicals and added sugar. However, adding lemon to regular water adds a refreshing zing which would allow you to drink more.
Humans have varying water needs in order for the body to function properly. Drinking enough water is also necessary to regulate body temperature and to control weight. As such, taking lemons along with water will be a great way to motivate you to drink more water.
It Helps Promote Good Oral Health
Vitamin C and citric acid in lemons can help in preventing gum diseases such as periodontitis. It can also relieve toothaches as well as remove bacteria, resulting in healthier gums and teeth as well as fresher breath.
Lemon stimulates the mouth to produce more saliva which helps prevent dry mouth. In addition, rubbing the inner side of lemon peels can help in cleaning and whitening your teeth.
It Helps Relieve Respiratory Problems
Lemon has anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it can help treat swelling of the throat, tonsils, and the airways. It is also anti-bacterial, so throat-related infections can be cured faster.
As lemons are also packed with Vitamin C, it can help alleviate both long term and short term respiratory problems. Having an asthma sufferer drink lemon water can also help the patient get soothed and relaxed allowing him to resume normal and regular breathing.
How to Prepare Lemon Water
Lemon water only has two ingredients – lemons and water. Half a lemon for every 500 ml of water is enough, although you can adjust quantities to suit your personal tastes. You can squeeze the juice directly into the water, or you can opt to include the entire fruit, sliced, into the liquid.
Of course, you should ensure that the lemons have been thoroughly washed, first. Also, take note that too many lemons can make the water very acidic, which can cause some digestive issues in the form of heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), among others.
You can spruce up your lemon water and make it healthier by adding other items such as cucumber, honey, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, or other citrus or non-citrus fruits. Others prefer to drink lemon water hot while others like it cold.
Both have beneficial effects and it does not have a significant difference whether you take lemon water hot or cold. Or, if you prefer, you can add lemon to your tea to give it additional flavor as well as a health boost.
Side Effects of Consuming Lemons
While it is obvious that lemons have tons of beneficial effects on the body when consumed regularly, you should still take caution as there are some minor side effects of consuming lemons. Some of the side effects of consuming too much lemons include ulcers in the mouth due to its high acidic content.
Its acidity may also cause heartburn in some cases. The citric acid can also cause some damage to the enamel. As such, you should make it a point to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water after brushing with lemons or drinking lemon water.
Lastly, drinking lemons may cause you to urinate more. However, this may be due to the increased water intake that comes with drinking water infused with the fruit.
The items displayed above shows that consuming lemons, either in its raw form or as lemon water, can provide some very beneficial effects on the body. What’s great is that it can even be added to dishes and desserts as either garnish or as part of the main ingredients. However, you should also take note that too much of anything is bad.
Consuming too much lemons can lead to many different complications and can do more harm than good. It is also quite important to ensure that your lemons are organic and that they do not contain or were treated with any harmful chemicals that may cause harm to your health.
It is also recommended that, while lemons are considered as a superfood, it does not contain everything that you will need to keep your body healthy. You should definitely eat foods that are nutritious and can supplement your daily nutrient requirements.
Taking vitamin supplements, engaging in regular exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle is also a must. Living healthy, along with a daily dose of lemons, can provide you with a much-improved state of life.