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6 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is a popular ingredient that many people add to their recipes to create salad dressings, sauces, beverages, desserts, and baked goods. Lemon juice is tangy and sour, making it perfect to mix with other ingredients that complement its citrus taste.
Lemons have a long history in the culinary world. Historians believe that some of the first records of citrus fruits come from China and Southeast Asia. Today, the United States produces 25% of the world’s lemons.1
Here are 6 health benefits of lemon juice, as well as some tips to help you enjoy more lemons today.
Lemon Juice Has Vitamin C
Lemons and other citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C, which is important for protecting your bones and teeth. Your body is incapable of naturally producing vitamin C yet it is important to have enough to stay healthy. A quarter cup of lemon juice is estimated to contain 31% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C.2
Vitamin C can help boost our collagen levels, which is a protein that builds your skin, bones, and cells. One way Vitamin C increases the amount of collagen in your body is it promotes the production of hyaluronic acid, a key component in making collagen. Collagen also assists your body when it comes to repairing wounds and keeping your skin healthy.3
Another benefit of vitamin C is it protects your cells against free radicals, which are molecules that are made when your body breaks down food. Free radicals are also created when you are exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation from the sun.4 Researchers believe free radicals might contribute to heart disease and cancer.
Enjoy some lemon juice in order to receive some of these vitamin C benefits.
Lemon Juice Helps Absorb Iron
When your body doesn’t get enough iron, you will experience anemia. This is when your body lacks the red blood cells it needs to carry oxygen throughout the body. As a result, you’ll feel tired and might experience shortness of breath.5
A study on Indian women found that lemons contributed to helping the body absorb iron more efficiently.6 The vitamin C found in citrus fruits captures iron and helps your body store it in a form that is more easily absorbed.7
Since lemon juice can help your body absorb iron from the foods that you eat every day, this is one way to help can prevent anemia. Women are especially at risk for iron deficiency because of their menstruation cycles. Vegetarians are also at risk for anemia because they usually don’t consume enough foods that can absorb iron.
Lemon Juice Can Lower Blood Pressure
Managing your blood pressure is important to protecting your body against heart attacks, strokes, kidney damage, and heart failure.
One study looked at women who ate lemons and took a walk every day to lower blood pressure. The result they found was that lemons have a positive impact on blood pressure levels, and the researchers believe that citric acid might play a role in this.8
Lemon juice might be able to lower blood pressure because it can make the blood vessels soft and flexible. Lemons are also known to lower cholesterol levels, which can narrow your blood vessels if too much of it builds up.9
Lemon juice can be one of the drinks that you incorporate into your diet to help maintain regular blood pressure levels.
Lemon Juice Might Prevent Kidney Stones
Kidney stones occur when minerals crystallize and cause pain as they pass through the urinary tract. Food, as well as certain medications, can cause kidney stones, and genetics can play a role in your likeliness to experience one.10
The citric acid found in lemons can help prevent kidney stones because it stops the crystals from forming. Lemon juice contains about 1.01g of citric acid, which can reduce the amount of calcium and other substances in the urinary tract system.11
Furthermore, a study found that drinking four ounces of lemonade can boost citric levels by 142-346mg daily. They found that this decreased the amount of calcium found in urine by 39 mg.12
If you’re looking to prevent kidney stones, try adding lemon juice to your diet.
Lemon Juice Might Lower Stroke Risk
Experts estimate that more than 795,000 people have strokes in the United States. About 87% of strokes happen when there is a lack of blood flow to the brain.13
One interesting health benefit of lemon juice is that it can help prevent strokes. A study that looked at the reported diets of over 69,622 people found that those who consumed citrus fruits and juices had the lowest risk of strokes. The researchers believe that the flavanones found in citrus fruits decreased the risk of strokes by 19%.14
One reason why the flavanones found in citrus fruits might protect against strokes is they can protect against inflammation and oxidative stress that can cause cardiovascular conditions and brain damage. Flavanones fight the free radicals that can cause this damage, which can help protect your blood vessels and your brain.15
Drinking lemon juice can be one way to protect your body against strokes and other harmful neurological issues.
Lemon Juice Improves Digestion
Lemons contain carbohydrates that consist mainly of fibers and the simple sugars glucose, fructose, and sucrose. The main fiber found inside lemon is pectin, which can lower your blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion.15
One benefit of eating foods with pectin is it is a soluble fiber, which can help remove cholesterol build-up. Pectin can also help prevent diarrhea because it assists with food passing through the digestive system by creating a soothing coating on the walls of the intestines.16
However, in order to get the benefit of fiber from lemons, you need to drink lemon juice that contains the pulp. That means a homemade lemon juice or one that leaves some of the pulp in it is best for reaping the digestive benefits of lemons.17
How to Add More Lemon Juice to Your Diet
Here are a few ways you can add more lemon juice into your diet:
- Drink lemonade
- Add lemon juice to your tuna salad
- Drink lemon water
- Make a salad dressing with lemon as one of your ingredients
- Add lemon juice to your soups
- Squeeze lemon juice into your yogurt
- Top your desserts with lemon juice
- Bake lemon bars with lemon juice inside
- Add lemon juice to your pasta
- Top your meat or seafood meal with lemon juice
- Make a fruit smoothie with lemon juice as an ingredient
- Drink tea with lemon juice mixed in
Enjoy the Health Benefits of Lemon Juice!
Adding more lemon juice into your recipes and drinks is a great way to enjoy the health benefits of lemons. If you’re able to, support your community’s farms by purchasing locally grown lemons.
Here at Saber Healthcare, our dietary team works to create menus that help our residents achieve their nutritional goals. We focus on meeting the daily recommended vitamins and nutrients while making our food taste great.
To learn more about Saber Healthcare and what we offer, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Sebastian Wagner (Author). “The Lemon. The History and Effects of this Citrus Fruit.” Munich, GRIN Verlag. 2002. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.grin.com/document/7962
- Szalay, Jessie. “Lemons: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts.” Future U.S., Live Science. 23 August 2018. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.livescience.com/54282-lemon-nutrition.html
- “5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Vitamin C.” Saber Healthcare Group. 4 September 2020. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/5-vitamin-c-benefits
- “Vitamin C.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 17 November 2020. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932#:~:text=Vitamin%20C%20is%20an%20antioxidant,disease%2C%20cancer%20and%20other%20diseases.
- “Iron Deficiency Anemia.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 18 October 2019. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355034#:~:text=Iron%20deficiency%20anemia%20is%20a,is%20due%20to%20insufficient%20iron.
- Ballot, D et al. “The effects of fruit juices and fruits on the absorption of iron from a rice meal.” The British journal of nutrition vol. 57,3 (1987): 331-43. doi:10.1079/bjn19870041. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3593665/
- Tan, Verena. “How to Increase the Absorption of Iron From Foods.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. 3 June 2017. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/iron-deficiency-inadequate-dietary-iron#complications
- Kato, Yoji et al. “Effect on blood pressure of daily lemon ingestion and walking.” Journal of nutrition and metabolism vol. 2014 (2014): 912684. doi:10.1155/2014/912684. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003767/
- Rao, Preeti. “Control High Blood Pressure With These 5 Everyday Foods.” NDTV Convergence, NDTV Food. 27 November 2020. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://food.ndtv.com/health/control-high-blood-pressure-with-these-5-everyday-foods-1625645
- Wheeler, Regina Boyle. Pathak, Neha, ed. “Kidney Stone Causes.” WebMD. 10 August 2020. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.webmd.com/kidney-stones/kidney-stone-causes
- Penniston, Kristina L et al. “Quantitative assessment of citric acid in lemon juice, lime juice, and commercially-available fruit juice products.” Journal of endourology vol. 22,3 (2008): 567-70. doi:10.1089/end.2007.0304. 26 August 2021. Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18290732/
- Seltzer, M A et al. “Dietary manipulation with lemonade to treat hypocitraturic calcium nephrolithiasis.” The Journal of urology vol. 156,3 (1996): 907-9. 26 August 2021. Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8709360/
- “Stroke Facts.” U.S. Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 25 May 2021. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts.htm
- Cassidy, Aedin et. all. “Dietary Flavonoids and Risk of Stroke in Women.” StrokeAHA 43,946–951. 2012. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.637835
- “What are Flavanones?” Cibdol. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.cibdol.com/cbd-encyclopedia/what-are-flavanones#nl-subscribe-popup
- Bjarnadottir, Adda. “Lemons 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. 22 March 2019. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/lemons
- Callahan, Christy. “Pectin & Digestion.” Healthfully. 14 August 2017. Accessed 26 August 2021. Link: https://healthfully.com/178846-pectin-digestion.html