All of us enjoy the refreshing taste of lemon water during the hot summer months. But do you know that there is much more to this tiny fruit other than its tangy taste and refreshing smell.
Drinking a glass of warm lemon water every morning can kick start your day, boost the digestion process, provide instant energy and start the detoxification process.
There are numerous health benefits of lemon that has been known to the world for centuries. It possesses strong antiviral, antibacterial and immune boosting properties that helps to fight infections.
Lemon is a powerful home remedy and liver cleanser that aids detoxification and its pectin content aids weight loss by enhancing satiety.
In this article, we have put together the potent health benefits of lemon along with the nutritional facts, possible side effects and guidelines to select and store lemons.
Nutrition Facts of Lemon
One ounce of pure lemon juice contains 7 calories, 0.1 gram of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, 2.1 gram of carbohydrate and 23% of daily vitamin C needs.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin found in abundant amounts in lemons. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body to maintain the connective tissues, bones, blood vessels and skin. It also decreases the total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in blood.
- Potassium – Potassium is an important electrolyte along with sodium, calcium and magnesium. Maintaining normal level of potassium is absolutely critical for life. A slight imbalance can be fatal and cause the heart and nervous system to shut down completely. Potassium is required to maintain blood pressure and maintain kidney health.
- Folate – Folate or folic acid is a B-complex vitamin that is required for DNA synthesis and repair. Folate promotes the growth of cells and tissues. Low levels of folate can lead to birth defects in children and cause blood diseases and cancer.
- Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is required for the production of brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine that transmit signals to the brain. Vitamin B6 deficiency can affect the nerves, skin, mucous membranes and circulatory system.
- Thiamin – Thiamin is a water-soluble B-vitamin that plays a crucial role in energy metabolism and supports growth, development and functioning of cells.
- Copper – Copper is an important trace element that performs several important functions in the human body. It promotes the production of red and white blood cells trigger the release of iron from hemoglobin and it is crucial for the growth of brain, immune system and bones in infants.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is yet another extremely important and valuable mineral for the human body. Almost all enzymatic reactions in the body require magnesium. Deficiency of magnesium can impair muscle contraction, cause anxiety hyperactivity, insomnia, panic attack and restlessness.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that possesses potent antioxidant properties. The antioxidants protect eh cells from free radical damage and provide protection against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
10 Effective Health Benefits of Lemons
1. Aids Digestion
Lemon juice flushes out the accumulated toxins from the digestive tract and helps to relieve digestive disorders such as bloating, flatulence, heartburn and acid reflux. The acidity of lemon juice aids the stomach acids to breakdown and digest the foods and it also makes the nutrient more readily available in the intestines so that they can be absorbed effectively. The antimicrobial properties of lemon juice along with the high vitamin C content reduce the incidence of infections in the gastrointestinal tract.
You can add the juice of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon of honey to a glass of mildly warm water and drink it before your meals. You can also add lemon juice to your teas.
2. Promotes Detoxification
Citric acid in Lemon juice enhances enzyme function and stimulates the functions of the liver that helps to flush out toxins that accumulate in the body over time and cleanses your system. Lemon is a natural diuretic that flushes out unwanted materials by increasing urination. Frequent urination releases toxins from the body at a faster rate and helps to keep your urinary tract healthy.
Add 1/2 of freshly squeezed lemon juice to 1 glass (8 oz.) of warm filtered water, stir and drink it every morning to promote healthy functioning of the liver.
3. Helps in Weight Loss
Pectin, a kind of soluble fiber found in lemon fights cravings and helps you to feel full for longer period of time. The feeling of satiety created by lemon prevents you from overeating throughout the day. Drinking lemon water boosts your metabolism so that your body burns calories at a faster pace. The polyphenols in lemon juice act as antioxidants that stimulate the liver to burn fat. Vitamin C in lemon juice also promotes the body to burn more fat.
Add the juice of half a lemon in 2 cups of water and drink it first thing in the morning. It is best to avoid honey and other sweeteners to keep number of calories as low as possible.
4. Boost Mood and Energy
Lemon juice provides an instant burst of energy to the body as soon as it enters the digestive and helps to reduce depression and anxiety. Even the refreshing aroma of lemon has a calming effect on the nervous system that reduces stress and clears the mind. Our body derives energy from the atoms and molecules in foods. The negative-charged ions of lemon increase energy levels naturally. Replacing coffee with a glass of warm lemon water can do wonders for your mood and health.
Add the juice of 1 lemon to a glass of warm water and sip it first thing in the morning. Giving up the habit of caffeine can be difficult at first but you will be able to tap into its health benefitting aspects if you stick to it in the long term.
5. Regulate Blood Pressure
Vitamin C in Lemon juice prevents rigidity of the blood vessels and helps to keep the blood vessels soft and pliable which in turn help to lower blood pressure. Lemon juice is a rich source of potassium that balances out the negative effects of sodium. The kidney plays a key role in controlling blood pressure by balancing the amount of fluid stored in the body. The more amount of fluid in blood, the higher the blood pressure. The kidneys work by extracting extra fluid from the blood and storing it in the urinary bladder in the form of urine. But this procedure requires a delicate balance of sodium and potassium.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice in a glass of water and add some sweetener to it. Drink the lemon water for 3 to 4 days to notice significant decrease in blood pressure.
6. Reduce Gout Symptoms
Uric acid is a byproduct of protein consumption that accumulates in the body and causes the symptoms of gout. In normal people the uric acid is eliminated from the blood stream into the kidneys and then excreted through urine. If for any reason such as kidney dysfunction, the uric acid is not excreted from the body then it gets deposited in the joints, thus forming uric acid crystals. Lemon is a rich source of potassium that helps to maintain the acid-alkaline balance in the body and prevents the formation of urate crystals.
One of the best ways to use lemon water for relieving gout symptoms is to use consume it in the form of lemon water. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 or 1 lemon in 8 oz. of warm water and drink it approximately 30 minutes before breakfast.
7. Improve Oral Health
Lemon juice is frequently used to promote dental care and refresh the breath. Applying lemon juice to the area of toothache can help to get rid of the pain. You can also massage lemon juice on your gums to stop gum bleeding and eliminate bad breath that is caused due to various gum diseases and conditions. But be careful about the citric acid content of lemon juice that can erode the tooth enamel. So, don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking lemon water. Rinse your mouth with plain water after rinsing your mouth with lemon water.
Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon in a cup of water and use it to rinse your mouth once every day. You can also take a lemon wedge and rub it on your teeth and gums.
8. Soothe Sore Throat
Sore throat is caused by inflammation of the lining of the mucous membrane due to bacterial or viral infection. Citric acid in lemon helps to break up the mucus that causes sore throat and soothes inflammation and throat pain. Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants that boosts the immune system and prevents bacterial and viral infection that cause sore throat. It is a natural antiseptic agent that destroys bacteria and viruses in the throat. Lemon increase salivation and helps to keep the throat lubricated and prevents throat irritation.
Add 1 tablespoon of honey to a mug and pour hot water and a teaspoon of lemon juice to it and mix well. Place the concoction in a microwave and heat for a few minutes. Add a slice of fresh lemon to the drink and enjoy.
9. Anticancer Properties
Numerous studies support the anticancer activity of citrus liminoids, a particular compound in lemon juice that protects the healthy cells against damage that can lead to formation of cancerous cells. A 2001 culture study revealed that limonin at a concentration of 100 micrograms/mililiter is effective at partially preventing the growth of ovarian cancer cells and inducing the death of breast cancer cells.
Consuming approximately 150 grams of citrus 4 or more times a week has been proved effective in lowering the risk of cancer significantly. It is not enough to consume the juice, the pulp and seeds should be consumed when possible.
10. Improves Skin Health
Vitamin C and other potent antioxidants present in lemon juice helps to combat and neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals and reduces wrinkles and blemishes. The alkaline nature of lemon juice kills bacteria and fungus that causes acne and pimples. Lemon juice can be applied directly to the skin to reduce the pain of sunburn and sooth the sting. It is also beneficial for treating eczema and removing blackheads and whiteheads.
You can apply lemon juice diluted with water directly to your skin in order to lighten age spots and blemishes. You can also consume lemon water on a daily basis to purify the blood and keep your skin blemish free from inside out.
Possible Side Effects of Lemon
- Lemon water is probably the healthiest and safest of drinks after water but the citric acid in present in lemon juice can corrode the tooth enamel.
- Applying lemon juice to the skin makes to more sensitive and can increase the change of sunburn.
- Excessive consumption of lemon water can trigger heartburn and worsen acid reflux.
- In rare cases, lemon water can cause excessive dehydration because of its diuretic effect.
So, it is best not to drink lemon water to treat a serious medical condition without the advice of a doctor.
How Select and Buy Lemons?
- You need to keep a few things in mind before your start consuming lemon water for your health.
- When buying lemons in the super market or farmer’s market, opt for the organic varieties that a fully ripe and yellow. Green lemons are not fully ripe.
- Choose thin skinned lemons over thick-skinned ones because thin-skinned lemons tend to be juicier.
- Don’t buy lemons that look dull, are excessively hard or have a wrinkled skin surface.
- Softer lemons have less pith and more juice.
- Once you are home from the market store the lemons in sealed plastic bags to maintain their freshness for a longer period of time.
- It is best to add lemon juice to room temperature or slightly warm water.
The daily food choices you make either strengthen your body’s resistance power or break it down. Lemon is one such ingredient which is not a miracle cure for any disease, but incorporating it in your daily diet can help to improve overall health and cure and prevent a number of diseases and health conditions.