Are Lemons Good for You?

Medically reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD on May 11, 2016Written by Diana Wells on May 11, 2016
Are lemons good for you

Lemons are packed with nutrients. Like most fruits and vegetables, they’re filled with vitamins to help keep you healthy.

For centuries, lemons were used to treat scurvy for those traveling long distances by ship. Today, there are other reasons why lemons can be beneficial for your health.

The thought of lemons and their sour taste might make you pucker. It’s hard to imagine eating one straight. But after learning more about the benefits, you may change your mind. Their antiviral and antibacterial qualities can have multiple uses.

Nutritional benefits of eating lemons

Eating a lemon whole may be difficult to imagine, but lemons are very nutritious. They have a number of health benefits. Most of the benefits can be derived by combining small amounts of the juice from lemons with other ingredients. This makes it much easier to benefit from their goodness.

The list of nutrients a lemon contains is long, but includes the following.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is known to help combat a number of illnesses, such as colds, the flu, and even asthma. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to help in the fight against cancer by hindering the formation of free radicals. Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen production in the skin as well, which forms the foundation of a healthy complexion.

Calcium

Calcium is an essential part of building and keeping bones healthy. It also helps with brain health.

Iron

Lemons help to increase the absorption of plant iron or nonheme iron due their high vitamin C content. Iron helps prevent anemia, increase energy, and improve athletic performance.

Magnesium

Magnesium partners with calcium for good bone health. It can have an effect on diabetes and blood glucose management. It’s also important to your heart health because of its role in creating healthy muscles. These muscles include the heart.

Lemons also contain fiber and are low in calories. As you can see, they can play an important part of a healthy diet.

Ways to benefit from consuming lemon juice

Some of the ways to benefit from consuming lemon juice include:

  • Mix it with warm water and sea salt and gargle to help soothe a sore throat.
  • Take a few sips straight or mixed into water to replenish you when you’re dehydrated.
  • You can inhale lemon juice sprayed in the air to help with fatigue and anxiety.
  • Mixed with water and honey, lemon juice may help those with a fever or those suffering with the flu. Drink every two hours until you’re feeling better.
  • Drinking warm water mixed with a few drops of fresh lemon juice may soothe your stomach and decrease bloating.
  • Because they contain pectin (a soluble fiber), lemons may aid in weight loss by boosting fullness at meals.

Other uses for lemons

Lemons may also have benefits when used externally. They have powerful antibacterial qualities, which make them a great organic cleaner for around the house.

How to eat lemons

As mentioned, lemons aren’t usually eaten alone. But there are still plenty of ways to add lemons to your diet.

The most popular and versatile way to consume them is by squeezing some of their juice into warm water. You can add honey and other ingredients, or squeeze lemon juice into your tea.

Lemon juice is delicious on seafood, too. It is also a main ingredient for a number of desserts such as lemon meringue pie, and the main ingredient for childhood lemonade stands.

There are many recipes that include lemons. Below are just a few examples you may want to try.

Recipes using lemons

Lemon chicken piccata

This blend of chicken, lemons, and capers is impressive to serve, but easy to make. View the recipe.

Lemon potatoes

Try this for a new twist on potatoes. Mixing them with some lemons creates a tasty side dish. View the recipe.

Tuscan lemon chicken

Create this delicious lemon marinade for your chicken the next time you fire up the grill. View the recipe.

Lemon-garlic shrimp

If you love shrimp scampi but would prefer a healthier alternative, then this dish is the answer. View the recipe.

When purchasing lemons for these recipes, you’ll want to make sure you store them at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. If you plan to use the rind or zest the lemons, organic lemons are best to reduce your pesticide exposure.

Next steps

Lemons have many uses that can contribute to your health and a healthy lifestyle. As with anything, lemons should be consumed in moderation. Consult your doctor before using lemons for weight loss or to treat skin issues.

Even if the thought of eating a lemon makes your mouth pucker, there are many ways to incorporate it into your daily life. 

CMS Id: 103567