Written by Dan Jackowiak NC, HHP
Lemons (Citrus × limon) belongs to the family known as Rutaceae, a species of small trees. It is thought that the lemon was first grown in Assam, northern Burma, and China, but the real origin of the lemon is still unknown. The scientific study of lemon indicates that it is a blend of bitter orange and citron. Arabs widely introduced the lemon throughout the world in the late 12th century, and its cultivation starts in the late 15th century. Later it was introduced to the Americas by Christopher Columbus. It is largely cultivated in Europe; the main countries that are famous for cultivating lemon are Spain, Italy, and Greece. However, in the past many years, the countries that increase their lemon cultivation are Mexico, India, and Iran; whose production is similar to Europe. (1)
Nowadays, lemon is used in the household and medical field. It is used in the manufacturing of many medicines and for diseases like Scurvy.
Lemon juice is used for cunning and cleaning, the pulp and covering are also used for cooking and baking purposes. The reason behind lemon's sour taste is that it contains about 5-6% citric acid having a 2.2 pH. Lemon juice is used in many drinks like lemonade and lemon meringue pie because of its sour taste. (1)
Lemon is a great source of vitamin C and fiber; it also contains many plant compounds, minerals, and essential oil. It contains a small amount of fat and protein. The main composition of lemon is carbohydrates which is about 10%, and the remaining 88-89% is water. About 20 calories are present in the medium-sized lemon. The nutrients present in 100g peeled lemon contain 29 calories, 89% is water, 9.3g of carbs, 1.1g of proteins, 2.5g of sugar, 2.8g of fiber, and 0.3g of fat. (2)
Carbohydrates in lemon are present in the form of glucose, fructose, and sucrose which is mainly composed of fibers and simple sugars.
Pectin is the main fiber present in lemon. It can lower blood sugar levels by just slowing the digestion process of sugar and starch. Lemon mostly contains soluble fibers and simple sugars. (3)
Vitamins and Minerals
There are many vitamins and minerals present in the lemon.
Other Plant Compounds
These compounds are natural substances present in plants and are good for human health. They play an important role in the cure of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and inflammation. The plant compounds in lemon are discussed below:
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant; other plant compounds are known as flavonoids are also present in Lemon. The compounds that help in the protection of body cells from damage are known as antioxidants. They can reduce the risk of many human diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, and cancer, just by reducing body cell damage. The free radicals created by oxidative stress are mopped up by antioxidants. The citrus flavonoids present in lemon are also helpful in reducing inflammation. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, performs immune system functions, wound healing, and iron absorption by the body from food. (6)
There are many possible benefits of Lemon. The most important health benefits of Lemon are:
Lowering stroke risk: According to research, the flavonoids present in lemon can lower ischemic stroke in women. When blood clots and causes a blockage of blood flow to the brain, it causes a stroke known as ischemic stroke. It will help in the cure of many heart diseases. As the study shows, smokers are less likely to get benefits than non-smokers.
Blood Pressure: According to the research in 2014, a study shows that woman who do exercise and consumes lemon daily have lower blood pressure than the woman who does not.
Cancer prevention: Lemon and lemon juice contain vitamin C, an important antioxidant that prevents the body cells from damaging and protecting our body from cancer.
Anemia prevention: Anemia is a disease caused by an iron deficiency in the body, and it is most common in pre-menopausal women. Lemon contains a little iron, but it can increase the iron absorption capacity from other foods in our body. As studies show, lemon enhances our body's iron absorption capacity so that it can prevent us from the disease known as anemia.
Boosting the immune system: The germs that cause common colds and flu are weakened by the antioxidants present in lemon, which can also boost our immune system. In many experiments, it is seen that vitamins cannot reduce the colds in the population, but they can lessen the time period of a cold.
Weight loss: One of the important benefits of lemon is its role in weight loss. It will help you loose weight because the pectin fibers present in the lemon expand after entering the stomach producing a feeling of fullness for a longer period. If you drink lemon water, it will help you in losing weight. The other plant components in the lemon can also help in weight loss. (7)
Excess lemon intake comes with some health risks. It can cause mouth ulcers (a stinging sensation) and gastroesophageal reflux disease causing symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation. The most common negative effect of lemon is skin irritation. Lemon is acidic, so it can irritate your skin. If you have sensitive skin, then you may feel dryness, redness, and develop peeling of your skin.
The pigment that determines your skin tone or controls your skin tone is known as melanin. If you consume lemon in excess amounts, then you may face the loss of melanin pigment – the condition known as leukoderma. It will cause sunburn if you apply lemon daily before going outside. The negative effects of lemon on the skin are potent; it can cause itching, redness, dryness, killing of good bacteria, and stinging (8).
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one lemon (without rind) measuring approximately 2 1/8" in diameter (58g).
Lemon is very low carb and typically its glycemic load is 1, so they are ok to consume on the Candida diet. Candida yeast dies at a ph level below 2.5, lemons are 2.2 so they would be useful for oral thrush. You have to be careful that you don't consume to much or you could develop acid reflux or mouth ulcers.
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3. Citrus limon (Lemon) Phenomenon—A Review of the Chemistry, Pharmacological Properties, Applications in the Modern Pharmaceutical, Food, and Cosmetics Industries, and Biotechnological Studies. Plants (Basel). 2020 Jan; 9(1): 119.
Published online 2020 Jan 17. doi: 10.3390/plants9010119
4. Penniston KL, Nakada SY, Holmes RP, Assimos DG. Quantitative assessment of citric acid in lemon juice, lime juice, and commercially-available fruit juice products. J Endourol. 2008 Mar;22(3):567-70. doi: 10.1089/end.2007.0304. PMID: 18290732; PMCID: PMC2637791.
6. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Graham JE, Malarkey WB, Porter K, Lemeshow S, Glaser R. Olfactory influences on mood and autonomic, endocrine, and immune function. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2008 Apr;33(3):328-39. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2007.11.015. PMID: 18178322; PMCID: PMC2278291.
7. American Society for Horticultural Science. "Genetic origin of cultivated citrus determined: Researchers find evidence of origins of orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, other citrus species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2011
8. Ben Hsouna A, Ben Halima N, Smaoui S, Hamdi N. Citrus lemon essential oil: chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities with its preservative effect against Listeria monocytogenes inoculated in minced beef meat. Lipids Health Dis. 2017 Aug 3;16(1):146. doi: 10.1186/s12944-017-0487-5. PMID: 28774297; PMCID: PMC5543433.
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