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Lemon – Health benefits, Nutrition, Side effects and more

LEMON

The round yellow fruit commonly noticed in every refrigerator cannot be ignored. It is named lemon and is used in many recipes.

Lemons are bright yellow and round citrus fruit with acidic juice inside them. They are well-known for their distinctive sour taste. Lemons are 90% water and have electrolytes in them.

Lemon

Summer without lemon is unimaginable. Lemon juice serves as a hydrating drink after a tiring outing in the scorching sun. Lemons are used to add brightness to a variety of sweet and savoury foods as well as beverages.

This tiny fruit grows on flowering evergreen trees and is grown commercially. Lemons are also cultivated in backyard gardens worldwide.

Lemons are harvested for their juice and peel. The peel oil can be used as an essential oil or in cleansing products.

History of lemon

The true origin of the lemon is unknown, though some believe it to have originated in northwestern India. Lemons are mostly grown in tropical and temperate climates.

It is thought to have been introduced into southern Italy around 200 A.D. and to have spread to Iraq and Egypt by 700 A.D.

It arrived in Sicily before 1000 A.D. and in China between 760 and 1297 A.D. Between 1000 and 1150 A.D., Arabs spread it throughout the Mediterranean region. It is believed that in 1493, Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola.

Lemon is a cross between a citron and a sour orange that grows on small evergreen trees native to subtropical Asia. These lemon trees have the capacity to produce a huge amount of lemons per year.

There are numerous varieties of lemons, but Meyer, Eureka and Lisbon are widely known classifications.

Lemons are native to the Asian continent, where they are predominantly grown.

Health benefits of Lemon

The health benefits of lemons are remarkable. Lemons are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, making them an appealing mid-day snack.

Including lemons in the everyday diet aids in weight loss, improves heart health, lowers blood sugar and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Support heart health

Being rich in antioxidants, lemons are responsible for keeping the arteries healthy and aiding in blood circulation

They reduce the buildup of plaque in the walls of the artery. This prevents the onset of blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

When it comes to maintaining overall heart health, lemon can be an amazing ingredient. Several components of lemon can be included in one’s daily diet for good health.

Boosts immunity

Lemon is one of the immune-boosting foods with high vitamin C content and antioxidants.

It aids in the immune system‘s defence against germs that cause the common cold and flu. Coughs and colds can be relieved by drinking a glass of hot water with lemon juice.

Wound healing

The citric acid in lemon adds to its healing properties along with vitamin C which is required for the production of collagen. All these works together to heal wounds and stop bleeding.

Lemon should never be applied directly to the wounds for it causes irritation. Lemon compresses can be used instead for better benefits.

Helps control weight

The fat-burning property of lemon is due to the presence of citric acid, vitamin C and antioxidants that help in digestion.

Recent research has revealed how lemon juice aids in weight loss. Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fibre that has been shown to help in weight loss.

Lemons also have diuretic properties, which assist in detoxification and fat burning. According to experts, this magical potion can significantly increase the body’s metabolism.

Prevent kidney stones

Kidney stones can be formed when a citric acid salt called citrate binds to calcium.  

According to research, consuming lemon juice or drinking lemon juice concentrate diluted in water every day can increase urine citrate and thus reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Prevents Anaemia

Anaemia is a blood disorder caused by iron deficiency. Lemons don’t have a direct effect on anaemia, but the vitamin C content in them can support the body absorb iron from vegetarian foods, lowering the risk of anaemia.

Treats Scurvy

Scurvy, a disease caused due to lack of vitamin C, is characterised by recurring coughs, cracked lips, swollen and bleeding gums, mouth and tongue ulcers, etc. Lemons are popularly known for their role in scurvy treatment.

Since the cause of scurvy is vitamin C deficiency, the only cure is adding vitamin C to the diet. There is no need to look for options when this vitamin is abundant in lime. Lime and lemon both belong to the same citrus fruits. Lemons are slightly sweet whereas limes are usually bitter.

Lime was once given to soldiers and sailors to keep them healthy and prevent scurvy.

Improve digestive health

Lime has an enticing fragrance that waters the mouth, secreting digestive saliva that helps with primary digestion. The acids in lemon then complete the digestion process.

There is a reason for serving lemon pickles with lunch, an age-old tradition in countries like India.

This is because flavonoids, which are available in fragrant oils derived from lemon, stimulate the digestive system and induce the secretion of digestive juices and acids. They also break down molecules of the food and enhance the peristaltic movement.

Role in cancer

While some plant compounds found in lemons and other citrus fruits may have anti-cancer properties, there is no reliable evidence to prove that lemons can fight cancer in humans.

Nutrition in lemon

Lemons possess several vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the overall health of the body.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a vital vitamin and antioxidant that is essential for immune function, wound healing and skin health. It is abundant in lemons.

Due to the vitamin C content, lemons were given to sailors back in the 1700s to prevent scurvy.

Applying lemon juice to exposed surfaces of fruits and vegetables creates a barrier and prevents it from browning.

Lemon juice has also been shown to lower blood pressure due to its vitamin C content.

Dietary fibre

Lemon’s soluble dietary fibre promotes healthy digestion. It can aid in relieving constipation and various other gastrointestinal issues and discomfort.

The fibre content in lemons makes them a good source for reducing the risk of heart diseases by lowering LDL.

Lemon juice makes a person feel fuller for a longer period of time, which is beneficial for weight management.

Citric acid

It is without a doubt that lemons are the best source of citric acid. It is often used as a substitute for citric acid, the presence of which renders the sour flavour to the fruit.

It can keep some fresh-cut fruits from turning brown. The citric acid content in lemon can also thicken foods or add a slightly sour flavour to them.

Iron

Lemons are not a great source of iron on their own, but they do play an important role in iron metabolism.

Lemons are high in vitamin C. It is known that combining a high vitamin C food with an iron-rich plant-based food (e.g., grains, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds) will help in enhancing iron absorption.

Nutrients per serving

Indian lemon

1/2 cup (100 g) of lemon contains 6.97 g of Carbohydrates, 0.41 g of protein, 48.16 mg of vitamin C, 3490 mg of citric acid and about 90 % of water.

A lemon weighing 50 g may provide 18 calories. Lemons contain less fat and protein content. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals as well.

Nutrition facts

According to the Indian Food Composition Table (IFCT) by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), ICMR, the nutrients in 100g of lemon are

  • Calories: 36.56 Kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 6.97 g
  • Protein: 0.41 g
  • Fat: 0.75 g
  • Fibre: 2 g
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid): 48.16 mg 
  • Iron: 0.12 mg
  • Citric acid: 3490 mg
  • Potassium: 113 mg
  • Moisture: 91.59 %

How to prepare lemon water?

Lemon water preparation is not a herculean task. A glass of water and a lemon is all one requires to make this instant drink.

Ingredients:

  • Water – 1 glass
  • Lemon – 1 No

Method of preparation:

  • De-seed the lemon and squeeze it into a glass of lukewarm water.
  • Mix this to get the refreshing lemon water.
  • Salt or sweetness can be added if preferred. The lemon water works best when consumed as such.

Benefits of drinking lemon water

Isn’t it amazing that something as simple as lemon water holds many nutritional properties? On searching for the benefits of lemon water, we see a list of various health benefits that it provides. It is indeed a refreshing drink and here are a few advantages of drinking lemon water.

Promotes hydration

It goes without saying that lemon water is hydrating. No worries if one finds it hard to drink water. Adding lemon to hot or cold water can make it more flavoursome and enjoyable to consume.

The fact that lemons are 90% water adds to the hydrating effects.

Good source of vitamin C

Lemon is very well known as a good source of vitamin C. Drinking lemon water provides the body with vitamin C and thereby enhancing immunity.

Weight loss

Regular consumption of a glass of lemon water can help in weight loss and improve health by boosting metabolism.

An easy alternative to carbonated beverages

Why choose packed energy drinks and carbonated beverages when we have lemon water as a low-calorie replacement.

Lemon water is a natural energy drink with high electrolytes necessary for the cells to provide energy.

A study revealed that women who were mildly dehydrated and fatigued felt hydrated after drinking lemon water. Hydration is also important for mood enhancement.

Helps prevent kidney stones

Warm lemon water

The presence of citric acid in the lemon juice helps prevent kidney stones caused by calcium oxalate buildup. The additional fluid from the lemon water may help maintain hydration and flush out potential stones.

May aid digestion

Lemon is known for its role in digestion. It is believed that drinking a glass of lemon water, especially first thing in the morning, helps with digestive regularity.

Side effects of lemon water

Lemon water is praised for its long list of health benefits, which include preventing dehydration, promoting weight loss and aiding digestion.

As with most things in life, there cannot be too much of a good thing. The following are some consequences of drinking too much lemon water.

Enamel erosion or tooth decay

With lemons being high in vitamin C, lemon juice tends to be acidic which can cause tooth enamel erosion over time. The risk of tooth decay is also increased when lemon water is sweetened with sugar.

Drinking lemon water with a straw can be an option to reduce direct acid exposure to the teeth. It is also advised to avoid brushing the teeth immediately after drinking lemon water.

Plenty of plain water can be taken in addition to consuming this citrus-infused drink.

Migraines

Migraines can occur in a few people after excessive lemon water intake. This is due to the component tyramine in this citrus fruit. Tyramine aggravates migraines.

Since vitamin C is essential to health, the quantity of intake can be reduced rather than avoiding it completely.

Stomach problems

A large quantity of lemon water can cause a burning sensation in the stomach. This can exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms.

Lemon, being an acidic food can trigger GERD and acid reflux, resulting in heartburn, nausea and vomiting.  

Frequent urination has been reported with lemon water intake due to its diuretic properties. Too much lemon water can cause stomach upset.

Host for harmful germs

Restaurants frequently use lemon wedges in lemon-based drinks. Studies show that there exist microorganisms in lemons that can cause harmful diseases. It is better to squeeze a lemon into the drink rather than adding lemon slices to reduce risks.

Worsen canker sores

Canker sores are painful mouth ulcers. It usually heals on its own within a week or two. American Dental Association warns that drinking a large amount of lemon water may aggravate canker sores.

Also, consuming a lot of citrus fruits may be the underlying cause of canker sores.

Conclusion

Lemons are a versatile and nutrient-dense fruit. It is both nutritional and medicinal in nature. It is a healthy appetiser that also aids in the treatment of diseases through digestive aids.

It is said that lemon has no negative effects. It is used as a traditional medicine all over the world. Too much of anything is bad, and so is the consumption of lemon water. Adequate intake serves to render health benefits.

FAQ’s

1.What happens if you drink lemon water every day?

Drinking lemon water every day is helpful. Warm lemon water in the morning is a wonderful drink to kick-start the digestive system.
 Due to the citrate content of this water, regular consumption of it may help promote oral health, strengthen bones and prevent anaemia and kidney stones.

2.Can drinking lemon juice be harmful?

While lemon juice has numerous health benefits, squeezing too much into the Water can have negative health consequences such as worsening ulcers, tooth decay, migraine and developing GERD and heartburn.

3.Why is lemon good for you?

Lemon juice is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown in studies to be an important nutrient in the prevention of many modern diseases.
 Vitamin C helps with bone formation, gum health, boosting immunity and wound healing

4.Is lemon good for daily use?

Lemon is good for daily use. Having juice of two lemons per day is considered to be adequate to keep a person hydrated in the summer. Drinking lemon water every day is absolutely healthy.

5.What is the nutritional value of lemons?

A lemon weighing 50 g contains around 18 calories, 3.5 g of carbohydrates, 0.2 g of protein, 0.37 g of fat, 1 g of fibre, 24 mg of vitamin C and 90 % of water.
 Lemons are rich in vitamin C, citric acid and other vitamins and minerals.

6.How should you store lemons?

Ways to store lemon are as follows:
1.Lemons are best preferred to be stored in a refrigerator. Fresh lemons can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
2. For lemons to last longer, they are to be stored in a sealed container or zip-lock covers. This will keep the lemons fresh for about a month and prevent them from drying out.  
3. Half-used lemons can be wrapped in a plastic cover and stored in an air-tight box. It is better to use half-cut lemons within a few days.
4. Yet another simple method to store lemons and keep them fresh is to put them in a glass jar filled with water. All the lemons can be placed in a jar covered with water and kept in the refrigerator.

7.Where do lemons come from originally?

The true origin of the lemon is unknown. It is believed to have originated in northwestern India. Lemons are grown primarily in tropical and temperate climates.

8.What’s the best way to squeeze a lemon?

The best way to squeeze lemon is by
1. Pressing the lemon firmly in back and forth motion on a countertop.
2. The pressed lemon is then cut in half crosswise.
3. The lemon is then placed skin-side down and squeezed with a citrus press.
4. The lemon juice concentrate is collected in a glass or bowl.

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