What is Lemon?
Lemons (Citrus limon) are among the most popular citrus fruits in the world. They are oval, with a pronounced protrusion at one end. They grow in lemon trees and are a hybrid of citron and lime. There are several ways to enjoy lemons. However, they are not eaten alone or as a whole fruit because of their sour taste. Instead, they are often enjoyed with meals and their juice is often used to give a sour flavor. They are a key ingredient of lemonade.
The ellipsoidal fruit is used all over the world for culinary and non-culinary purposes, mainly for its juice, which also has culinary and cleaning uses. Products from the fruit can also be used for cooking and baking.
Lemon juice contains about 5% to 6% citric acid, with a pH of about 2.2, which gives it a sour taste. The particularly distinguishing sour taste of lemon juice makes it an essential ingredient in beverages and foods such as lemonade and lemon meringue pie.
Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, which contains many plant compounds, minerals, and essential oils. These fruits also have many potential health benefits. Eating lemons can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and kidney stones.
In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about lemons.
Lemons contain very little fat and protein. They consist mainly of carbohydrates (10%) and water (88-89%).
An average lemon provides only about 20 calories.
The Nutritional value of lemon per 100 g (3.5 oz) are:
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||121 kJ (29 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.8 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||4%|
The carbohydrates contained in lemons are mainly composed of simple fibers and sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose.
The main fiber in lemon is pectin. Soluble fiber such as pectin can reduce blood sugar by slowing the digestion of sugar and starch. Again, dietary fiber plays an important role in a healthy diet.
Vitamins and Minerals
Lemons provide several vitamins and minerals. They contain Vitamin C which is an essential and antioxidant vitamin. Vitamin C is necessary for immune function and healthy skin. Also, they contain Potassium. A diet high in potassium can reduce blood pressure and have positive effects on heart health. Furthermore, Lemon contains vitamin B6 which participates in the conversion of food into energy.
Other plant compounds
Plant compounds are natural bioactive substances some of which have powerful health benefits.
Plant compounds found in lemons and other citrus fruit can have beneficial effects on cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation.
These are the main plant compounds in lemons:
- Citric acid is the most abundant organic acid in lemons. Citric acid can help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
- Hesperidin: This antioxidant can strengthen blood vessels and prevent atherosclerosis which is the accumulation of fatty deposits (plaque) in the arteries.
- Diosmin: An antioxidant used in certain drugs that affect the circulatory system, improves muscle tone and reduces inflammation in the blood vessels.
- Eriocitrin is an antioxidant is found in lemon juice and also in lemon peels.
- D-Limonene is mainly present in the peel. D-limonene is the main constituent of lemon essential oils and is responsible for the distinctive aroma of the lemons. In isolation, it can relieve heartburn and gastric reflux.
Many of the compounds listed above are not found in the lemon juice. Therefore, it is advisable to eat the whole fruit.
Benefits of Lemon
Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables seems to reduce the risk of many health problems related to lifestyle.
As stated earlier, lemons are a good source of vitamin C and flavonoids which are thought to improve health and well-being in many ways.
Let us consider some of the possible benefits of consuming lemons.
1. Reduced Risk of Stroke
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), citrus fruits can help reduce the risk of ischemic stroke in women.
For example, a study of data from almost 70,000 women over a period of 14 years indicated that those who ate the most citrus fruits had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least.
“Studies have shown higher fruit, vegetable, and specifically vitamin C intake is associated with reduced stroke risk. […] Flavonoids [present in certain fruits and vegetables] are thought to provide some of that protection through several mechanisms, including improved blood vessel function and an anti-inflammatory effect.”
Aedín Cassidy, Ph.D., Lead author of the study
Citrus fruits are a good source of flavonoids, which are thought to help protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease.
2. Helps Develop Healthy Heart
Heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes, is the leading cause of death in the world.
Moreover, the consumption of fruit rich in vitamin C lowers the risk of heart disease.
In fact, low levels of vitamin C in the blood are also associated with an increased risk of stroke, especially in people who are overweight or people with high blood pressure.
For Instance, It has been shown that the consumption of isolated citrus fibers lowers blood cholesterol levels and that lemon essential oils can prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol. And lemons are very rich in vitamin C.
Also, drinking lemon juice is helpful for people with heart problems because it contains potassium.
It controls high blood pressure, vertigo, and nausea, as it provides a soothing sensation to both body and mind. Furthermore, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, daily lemon consumption and walking (normal body movements) were effective in reducing high blood pressure.
3. Cancer Prevention
Lemons can help reduce the risk of many types of cancer, including breast cancer. This is because of some plant compounds such as Hesperidin and D-limonene.
Lemons and lemon juice are great sources of the antioxidant vitamin C.
Antioxidants can help prevent the formation of free radicals that are known to cause cancer, but the exact role that antioxidants play in preventing cancer remains unclear.
4. Maintain a Healthy Complexion
Lemon juice, as a natural antiseptic, can also cure skin problems because of the high level of Vitamin C it contains. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen which is the skin support system.
Again, the juice can be applied to reduce the pain caused by sunburn and also helps reduce the pain caused by bee stings. It is also a good cure for acne and eczema. Additionally, it acts as an anti-aging remedy and can eliminate wrinkles and blackheads. Furthermore, drinking the juice with honey gives the skin a glowing look.
For example, according to the results of a study in 2014, vitamin C, when consumed in its natural form or applied over the skin surface, can help combat sun damage and pollution, reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture.
The use of lemon juice over burns on the skin can help remove the scars. Above all, as a coolant, it reduces the burning sensation in the skin during irritating burns.
Lemon juice has proven useful in the large-scale treatment of damaged hair. Hence, when applied to the scalp, the juice can stop problems such as dandruff, hair loss, and other hair and scalp problems. In addition, If you apply this juice directly to the hair, it can also give your hair a natural shine.
6. Prevention of Kidney Stones.
The presence of citric acids in lemon can help reduce the risk of having kidney stones. Some studies have shown that lemon juice and lemonade can be effective in preventing kidney stones.
Lemon, whether it comes from the fresh fruit or the concentrated fruit juices, contains more citric acid than grapefruit juice and concentrated orange juice. For instance, a study confirmed that the high citric acid content of fruit contributes to increasing urinary citrate levels more than 2-fold without altering the total urinary volume. Therefore, lemonade therapy may be used as a secondary treatment for the treatment of hypocitraturic calcium nephrolithiasis (urinary stones formed due to low citrate intake). For example, another research conducted at the American Urological Association highlight the fact that lemonade or lemon juice can eliminate the appearance of kidney stones by urinary citrate formation, which prevents the formation of crystals.
7. Anemia Prevention
Anemia is often caused by iron deficiency and is more common in premenopausal women. Lemons contain little amounts of iron, but they are a great source of vitamin C and citric acid. Because lemons can improve iron absorption from food, they can help prevent anemia.
If a person drinks lemon juice mixed with warm water and honey, it can help reduce body weight in humans. A research study in mice confirmed that the polyphenols present in this product suppress weight gain and body fat accumulation. Hence, this could have positive consequences for lemon juice-based drinks on weight loss in humans.
9. Treats Indigestion
Lemon juice can help relieve indigestion and constipation. Add a few drops of this fruit juice to your plate to help digestion. Also, it acts as a blood purifier and a cleaning agent. The recipe includes lemon juice, cold water, soft drinks, salts (salt or salt rock) and sugar/honey to give it a sweet taste. Furthermore, you can also add mint leaves or crushed seeds to add flavor. Drink lemon juice every time you have a heavy lunch or dinner.
10. Dental Care
A study by Dr. Pirkko Pussinen of the University of Helsinki indicates that low levels of vitamin C can cause periodontitis (gum infection).
Therefore, if fresh lemon juice is applied to a toothache area, it may help relieve the bread because of its rich vitamin C content. Again, massaging the gums with the juice can stop bleeding gums and at the same time eliminate bad odors that can come from various gum diseases and other conditions. For any serious dental problem, it is best to consult a doctor for treatment.
Additionally, it can be used to clean your teeth. Look for a toothpaste containing lemon among the ingredients or add a drop of its juice to your normal toothpaste.
11. Relieves Respiratory Disorders
Lemon juice helps relieve respiratory and breathing problems, such as their ability to calm a person with an asthma attack.
The risk of developing asthma seems to be lower in people who take certain nutrients, which includes vitamin C.
For example, a review published in Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology found that vitamin C was beneficial for people with asthma and bronchial hypersensitivity when they also had a cold.
The study concluded:
“It may be reasonable for asthmatic patients to test vitamin C on an individual basis if they have exacerbations of asthma caused by respiratory infections. More research on the role of vitamin C on common cold-induced asthma is needed.”
12. Strengthen the Immune System
Foods rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants can help strengthen the immune system against the germs that cause colds and flu.
As an illustration, one study has indicated that although vitamin C supplements do not seem to reduce the incidence of colds in a population, they can help reduce the duration of colds. Also, vitamin C can help increase immunity in people who go through extreme physical activity.
Squeezing a whole lemon into a glass of hot water with a large spoonful of honey makes a relieving drink for someone with a cough or a cold.
Side Effects of Lemons
Lemons generally are tolerated well, but citrus fruits can cause allergic reactions in a small number of people. Therefore if you are allergic to citrus fruits please avoid lemon fruits.
Additionally, they can cause contact allergy and irritation of the skin to individuals who have dermatitis. Those with this condition are advised to avoid contact with lemon.
Lemons are quite acidic, so eating them often could be harmful to dental health if your tooth enamel becomes damaged.
Because of its acidic nature, it may cause ulcers of the mouth. Hence, it may cause a burning sensation.
Furthermore, it may worsen the symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), increasing symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation
Summary And Conclusion
Lemons are refreshing fruits that are not usually eaten whole but in garnishing or seasoning.
They are an excellent source of vitamin C, soluble fiber and plant compounds, all of which can be beneficial to your health.
If you want to try them, Lemons will surely boost your overall health.
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