The 6 Proven Health Benefits of Lemon Juice

Here are 6 evidence-based health benefits of lemon juice.

1. Lemon Juice to Promote Heart Health

Lemons are a good source of vitamin C. One lemon provides about 31 mg of vitamin C, or 51% of the daily reference intake. Research shows that eating vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on the risk of coronary artery disease

But not only vitamin C is considered heart-healthy. The fiber and plant compounds in lemons can also significantly reduce certain risk factors for heart disease. For example, one study found that consuming 24 grams of citrus fiber extract daily for a month reduced total blood cholesterol levels. The plant compounds hesperidin and diosmin found in lemons have also been found to lower cholesterol levels.

2. Lemon juice for weight control

Lemon is often touted as a weight loss food, and there are a few theories as to why this is happening. A common theory is that the soluble pectin fibers it contains expand in your stomach and help you feel fuller for longer. However, few people eat whole lemons. And since lemon juice doesn’t contain pectin, drinks with lemon juice don’t particularly promote feelings of satiety. Another theory is that drinking hot water with lemon will help you lose weight. However, drinking water is known to temporarily increase the number of calories burned. So it may be the water itself that helps you lose weight and not the lemon. However, other more compelling elements suggest that there are many other botanicals found in lemons that aid in weight loss. Research shows that the plant compounds in lemon extracts, naringin and naringenin, can actually help prevent or reduce weight gain.

3. Lemon juice to prevent kidney stones

Kidney stones are small growths that form when waste crystallizes and builds up in the kidneys. They are fairly common and people who suffer from them often have them more than once. Citric acid can help prevent kidney stones by increasing the volume and pH of urine. This creates a less favorable environment for kidney stone formation. Half a cup (125 mL) of lemon juice a day can provide enough citric acid to prevent stones from forming in people who have had them. Some studies have also shown that soda pop is effective in preventing kidney stones.

4. Lemon juice to protect against anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is common. It occurs when the foods you eat don’t contain enough iron. Lemons contain some iron, but they primarily prevent anemia by improving the absorption of iron from plant foods. Iron from meat, chicken, and fish (called heme iron) is absorbed very easily by your gut, while iron from plants (non-heme iron) is not absorbed as quickly. However, this absorption can be enhanced by consuming vitamin C and citric acid. Because lemons contain both vitamin C and citric acid, they can protect against anemia by ensuring you’re getting as much iron as possible from your diet.

5. Lemon juice to reduce cancer risk

Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent certain types of cancer. Some observational studies have shown that people who consume the most citrus fruits have a lower risk of cancer. Some researchers believe that plant compounds found in lemons, such as limonene and naringenin, may have anti-cancer effects.

Animal studies show that d-limonene, a compound found in lemon oil, has anti-cancer properties. Another study used tangerine pulp, which contained the plant compounds beta-cryptoxanthin and hesperidin, also found in lemons. The study found that these compounds prevented the development of malignant tumors in the tongue, lungs and colon of rodents. However, it should be noted that the research team used a very high dose of these chemicals. Much more than you would get from eating lemons or oranges.

Certain botanicals from lemons and other citrus fruits have anti-cancer potential. But beware, there is no qualitative evidence that lemons can fight cancer in humans once it has started. Perfect for prevention, but from a therapeutic point of view: to be avoided.

6. Lemon Juice to Improve Digestive Health

Lemons contain about 10% carbohydrates, mostly in the form of soluble fiber and simple sugars. The main fiber in lemons is pectin, a form of soluble fiber associated with several health benefits. Soluble fiber can improve gut health and slow down the digestion of sugars and starches. These effects can lead to a reduction in blood sugar levels. However, to reap the fiber benefits of lemons, you must eat the pulp. People who drink lemon juice with no fiber in the pulp will miss out on the fiber benefits.

Sources

KJ Joshipura: The effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on the risk of coronary artery disease. Ann Intern Med 2001 Jun 19;134(12):1106-14. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-134-12-200106190-00010. Audrey Chanet: Citrus Flavanones: What Role Do They Play in Cardiovascular Protection? 2012 Sep 12;60(36):8809-22. doi:10.1021/jf300669s.Julia M Assini 1: Citrus flavonoids and lipid metabolism. Current opinion Lipidol. 2013 Feb;24(1):34-40. doi:10.1097/MOL.0b013e32835c07fd.Lemon polyphenols suppress diet-related obesity by upregulating mRNA levels of the enzymes involved in beta-oxidation in mouse white adipose tissue. J.Clin. biochem. nutr. 2008 Nov;43(3):201-9. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.2008066. Epub 2008 31 Oct.M Ashraful Alam: Effect of citrus flavonoids, naringin and naringenin, on the metabolic syndrome and their mechanisms of action. adult nutr. 2014 Jul 14;5(4):404-17. doi: 10.3945/an.113.005603. Print 2014 Jul Jong-Myon Bae: Citrus fruit intake and pancreatic cancer risk: a quantitative systematic review. Pancreas. 2009 Mar;38(2):168-74. doi:10.1097/MPA.0b013e318188c497 Jong-Myon Bae: Citrus fruit intake and gastric cancer risk: a quantitative systematic review. stomach cancer. 2008;11(1):23-32. doi: 10.1007/s10120-007-0447-2. Epub 2008 March 29. Saravana Kumar Jaganathan: Role of Pomegranate and Citrus Juices in Colon Cancer Prevention. J Gastroenterol. . 2014 Apr 28;20(16):4618-25. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i16.4618. * Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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