Lemons are high in vitamin C, fiber, and beneficial plant compounds. These nutrients have many benefits for your health. Specifically, they may support heart health, weight control, and digestive health. However, is lemon harmful if used too much? Let’s learn about the health benefits and side effects of lemon with easyhealthylive.com!
1. General introduction of lemons
Lemon is one of the most popular citrus fruits in the world. Lemons have a very sour taste and usually cannot be eaten alone or as a whole. But we can enjoy it in many ways, such as squeezing to drink water or to create a sour taste for dishes, cutting into slices to decorate meals.
An excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, lemons also contain many plant compounds, minerals, and essential oils. This sour fruit has many health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer and kidney stones.
2. Nutritional value
2.1. General nutritional information
Lemons contain very little fat and protein. They consist mainly of carbohydrates (10%) and water (88-89%). One medium lemon provides only about 20 calories. In 100 grams of fresh peeled fruit contains:
- Carbohydrates: 9.3 g
- Protein: 1.1 g
- Sugar: 2.5 g
- Fiber: 2.8 g
- Fat: 0.3 g
Lemons contain about 10% carbohydrates, mainly the soluble fiber pectin and simple sugars such as glucose, fructose and sucrose. Fiber is important in a healthy diet and offers many health benefits. Pectin can help lower blood sugar by slowing the digestion of sugars and starches.
2.3. Vitamins and minerals
Lemons are rich in vitamin C as well as potassium and vitamin B6:
- Vitamin C. An essential vitamin and antioxidant, important for the immune system and skin.
- Kali. A diet rich in potassium can lower blood pressure and have a positive effect on the heart.
- Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is involved in energy metabolism.
2.4. Other plant compounds
Plant compounds are biologically active substances found in natural plants that may provide health benefits. Lemon contains citric acid, hesperidin, diosmin, eriocitrin and d-limonene which may have beneficial effects on cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammation. Specifically:
- Citric Acid. Organic acids are most abundant in lemons, which can help prevent kidney stones.
- Hesperidin. This antioxidant helps to strengthen the walls of blood vessels and prevent atherosclerosis.
- Diosmin. An antioxidant that improves muscle tone, reduces chronic inflammation of blood vessels.
- Eriocitrin. Antioxidants are found in lemon peels and juices.
- D-limonene. Found mainly in the peel, d-limonene is the main component of the essential oil and gives the characteristic lemon aroma. This substance can relieve heartburn and acid reflux.
Many plant compounds in the fruit are found in low concentrations in lemon juice. Therefore, use the whole fruit to get the maximum benefit.
3. Health Benefits of Lemons
3.1. A rich source of vitamin C
Citrus fruits like lemons are high in vitamin C, a key antioxidant that protects cells from damaging free radicals. Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C. One lemon provides about 51% of the daily vitamin C requirement.
You probably already know that vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system, increase resistance, and help prevent the common cold. Vitamin C even reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, etc.
3.2. Support cardiovascular health
Research shows that eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C like lemons can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, the fiber and plant compounds in lemons, such as hesperidin and diosmin, can also significantly reduce some risk factors for heart disease.
Research shows that eating 24g of citrus fiber daily for a month reduces total blood cholesterol levels. The essential oil in lemons can protect LDL-cholesterol (bad) from oxidizing.
3.3. Lemon helps control weight
Lemon or salted lemonade is often advertised as having a weight loss effect with some theories as follows:
- Theory 1: Lemon contains soluble fiber pectin, which will expand in the stomach, creating a feeling of fullness for longer. However, not many people can eat the whole fruit. Lemon juice does not contain pectin. So, drinking lemon water will not make you feel full.
- Myth 2: Drinking hot lemon water will help you lose weight. However, hot water can temporarily burn calories. So it could be because water helps with weight loss – not lemons.
- Myth 3: plant compounds can help with weight loss. In one study, rats that were both fattened and given polyphenols extracted from lemon peels gained less weight and fat than those that did not. However, the effect in humans is unknown.
3.4. Citric acid in lemon can prevent kidney stones
Kidney stones are formed when deposits crystallize and accumulate in the kidneys. Kidney stones are quite common and are likely to return if you already have them. The citric acid in lemons can help prevent kidney stones by increasing urine volume and pH. Just 125 ml of lemon juice per day can provide enough citric acid to prevent stone formation in people who already have the disease.
However, there are also some studies that suggest that lemon does not have this effect. More research is needed in the future.
3.5. Prevention of anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is a fairly common cause and is common in premenopausal women. This condition occurs when you don’t get enough iron from food. Our bodies absorb iron from meat, chicken and fish very easily, but iron from plants is more difficult to absorb.
Lemons contain a small amount of iron. But more importantly, the vitamin C and citric acid in lemons facilitate better absorption of iron from plants. This can prevent anemia.
3.6. Reduce the risk of cancer
A healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits, can help prevent cancer. Laboratory and animal studies demonstrate that the plant compounds in lemons, such as limonene and naringenin, may prevent cancer.
Another study used tangerine powder containing beta-cryptoxanthin and hesperidin (also found in lemons) to prevent malignant tumors in the tongue, lungs and colon of rodents. However, the study used a very large amount of the substance compared to what can be eaten, and there are no human studies.
3.7. Lemon improves digestive health
Lemons contain about 10% carbohydrates, mainly in the form of soluble fiber pectin and simple sugars. Soluble fiber can improve gut health and slow the digestion of sugars and starches. This can lower blood sugar. However, to get the benefits of fiber is to eat the whole fruit, not just the juice, and this is not easy!
Also, some people drink warm lemon water every morning as a laxative to prevent constipation. They promote peristalsis of the digestive system and the sour taste stimulates appetite and hunger. Besides, the active ingredients in lemon can help you digest food more easily and help prevent the accumulation of toxins.
3.8. Freshen your breath
Have you ever rubbed lemon on your hands to get rid of garlic or some other strong smell? The same folk remedy can also be applied to bad breath caused by eating foods with strong odors such as garlic, onions or fish. Lemon can reduce bad breath caused by bacteria. You can avoid bad breath by drinking a glass of lemon water every morning and after meals. Lemon is said to stimulate saliva production and prevent dry mouth.
3.9. Skin health support
The vitamin C in lemons can help reduce wrinkles, dry skin caused by aging, and sun damage. If your skin loses moisture, it becomes dry and prone to wrinkles. One laboratory study found that drinking citrus juice prevented the development of wrinkles in rats.
4. How to make delicious lemonade and keep nutrition
Many people drink hot or cold lemonade early in the morning and during the day. The aroma from essential oils can reduce stress and improve mood. When making lemonade, use fresh organic lemons instead of canned or pre-mixed ones. Spice up the taste or boost your health by adding:
- A few mint leaves.
- One teaspoon of raw honey.
- A few slices of fresh ginger.
- A little cinnamon.
- Sprinkle a little turmeric.
- Some sugar.
The best way is to cook the sugar syrup first, then mix it with lemon juice to prevent the sugar from sinking to the bottom. The proportions will vary depending on your sweet and bold preferences.
- 1 cup granulated sugar (can be reduced to 3/4 cup if you want it less sweet) or 1 cup honey.
- 1 cup water (for syrup).
- 2 to 3 cups cold water (for dilution).
1. Make syrup. Boil sugar and water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved, then turn off the heat. For a more intense lemon flavor, grate the zest from a fresh lemon and add it to the syrup when it’s freshly removed. Soak for a few minutes and strain off the skins. If the syrup is left over, it can be refrigerated and used slowly. In the street, many people like to use honey syrup. Dissolve honey and water in 2 equal parts in a saucepan and cook over medium to high heat.
2. Squeeze lime juice. If you have too much lemon, you can make lemon ice cubes by placing the juice in an ice tray and freezing. Just drop a few tablets into a glass of cold or hot water if needed.
3. Mix drinking water: Put lemon juice and syrup in a glass. Add 2 to 3 cups of cold water to taste and to taste, season with lime juice and ready-made syrup.
4. Enjoy: you can chill in the refrigerator and use after 30 to 40 minutes. Can be used immediately with ice. Add a few slices of lemon, cucumber or a few mint leaves to make the drink more attractive.
5. Side effects of lemon when used too much
Although it has benefits, if you drink too much lemon water can also occur side effects
5.1. May cause sunburn
Lemons are generally well tolerated, but citrus fruits can also cause allergic reactions. They can also cause contact allergies and skin irritation in people with dermatitis. Some studies show that going out in the sun after applying lemon juice to the skin can cause blisters and dark spots. This condition is called dermatitis and is a severe form of sunburn.
The culprit is believed to be psoralens present in most citrus fruits. This substance interacts with sunlight to cause burns and increase the risk of skin cancer. However, more research is needed.
5.2. Can erode tooth enamel
Drinking too much lemon juice can lead to acidic demineralization of tooth enamel. Lemon juice has the same corrosive effect on teeth as soft drinks. All are equally acidic. Brushing your teeth right after drinking lemonade and using a straw can help prevent enamel wear.
5.3. Lemon can make mouth sores worse
Some studies indicate that citric acid can cause mouth ulcers and worsen existing ulcers. Therefore, make sure that you do not use any citrus fruit if you have a sore until it has completely healed.
5.4. May worsen heartburn
Some studies suggest that citrus fruits can cause heartburn or acid reflux, especially when drinking lemon water on an empty stomach. However, this aspect has mixed information.
There is evidence that lemon juice can both relieve pain and relieve heartburn symptoms. If you have symptoms of heartburn, it’s best to see your doctor.
5.5. May cause migraines
There is some research that suggests citrus fruits can trigger migraines due to an allergic reaction. And the culprit is believed to be tyramine in citrus fruits.
5.6. May cause frequent urination
There are no studies to prove that drinking a lot of lemon water causes increased urination. If you have the same problem, it’s probably the water, not the lemon. However, some people believe that acidic fruits like lemons can have a diuretic effect by increasing urine output and causing bladder irritation. But if this condition occurs excessively, dehydration and electrolytes too much will have bad consequences.
5.7. Causes an excess of iron
Lemon juice is also thought to cause excess iron in the blood. It is possible that vitamin C increases iron absorption, but this has only been found to help with iron deficiency anemia.
5.8. Causes nausea, vomiting
It is also believed that lemon juice can cause nausea or vomiting due to its high vitamin C content. Theories are that it is caused by the body excreting excess vitamin C.
6. Does lemon interact with drugs?
Although lemon does not seriously interact with any medication, there have been interactions of other citrus fruits (grapefruit juice) with medications (such as calcium channel blockers that treat high blood pressure). Citrus juice may increase drug bioavailability. A Japanese study recommends avoiding citrus juice while taking medication.
Lemons contain high amounts of vitamin C, soluble fiber, and plant compounds that offer a number of health benefits. They can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of heart disease, anemia, kidney stones, digestive problems, and cancer. Lemons are not only a very healthy fruit, but they also have a characteristic, pleasant taste that makes them a great addition to food and drinks.
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.