7 Health Benefits Of Lemons: Reasons To Zest Up Your Diet

When life hands you lemons, add them to a marinade for lamb, swirl them into a pie, bake them into cookies, or the classic, squeeze them into a lemonade. And while its zesty, citrus flavor can elevate the taste of most dishes, lemons are more than just that. Experts have found that these citrus fruits pack in the nutrition as well. Here’s a reckoner of health benefits that they provide:

1. Lowers The Risk Of Stroke And Heart Disease

Adding lemon to your diet may lower your risk of ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot blocking the flow of blood to the brain. Recent studies have found that women who ate the most citrus fruits over 14 years had a lower risk of ischemic stroke as opposed to women who ate the least.1 This could be attributed to the vitamin C (one lemon provides 31 mg of vitamin C, which is 51% DV) and flavonoid (antioxidant) content of the fruit which improves blood vessel function and reduces inflammation.2 3


In addition to this, fiber and plant compounds in lemons such as hesperidin and diosmin have been found to lower cholesterol after consuming lemons regularly for 4 weeks.4 5

2. Boosts Immunity And Reduces Duration Of Colds

[pullquote]Studies suggest that vitamin C decreases the risk of developing asthma and benefits people with asthma and bronchial hypersensitivity when they also have a common cold.6[/pullquote]


Stock up on those lemons when you feel under the weather. One study has found that vitamin C supplementation can reduce the symptoms of a cold and, in turn, its duration. In addition to this, the vitamin may also boost immunity in people who engage in an extreme physical activity. Squeeze half a lemon in some warm water and add honey for some relief from the sniffles.7 8

3. Fights Iron-Deficiency Anemia

If you’ve got iron-deficiency anemia, add lemons to your diet. Not only do lemons contain some iron, they improve the absorption of iron from plant foods. This is important for vegetarians and vegans since plant sources of iron (non-heme iron) are not as well absorbed as meat sources (heme-iron).9 10


4. May Keep Skin Healthy

Vitamin C is known for its skin-friendly nature. One study has found that consuming vitamin C boosts collagen and, in turn, reduces wrinkles and improves overall skin texture. Besides this, it may even reduce damage caused due to the sun and pollution.11

5. May Aid Weight Loss

Lemon water is a popular early morning drink in most weight loss diets. One reason why it’s believed to help with this is because it contains plant compounds, such as polyphenols, which are linked to lowered weight and body fat. However, further research is needed to fully back this benefit.12 13 14


6. Prevents Kidney Stones

If you’ve been diagnosed kidney stones and suffer from them repeatedly, citric acid in lemons might help.15 Studies have found that citric acid in lemons increase urine volume and its pH, creating an unfavorable environment for the formation of kidney stones.16 17 If you’ve already had kidney stones, the ideal way to do this is by consuming 1/2 a cup of lemon juice per day. Some studies have found that lemonade might also prevent stone formation but there isn’t enough research to back this.18 19

7. May Prevent Cancer

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is known to prevent some types of cancers. A few studies have found that people who eat the most amount of citrus fruits have a lower risk of cancer.20 21 22 Other studies have found that compounds in lemons kill cancer cells although they were test tube studies and don’t determine whether they’d have the same effect in the human body.23 24 25


Experts believe that limonene, naringenin, D-limonene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and hesperidin, compounds in lemons may prevent cancer. One study found that these compounds could prevent malignant tumors from developing in the tongues, lungs, and colons of rodents. That said, quality research is required before confirming this.26 27 28