Early explorers onboard ships were the first to claim fame for lemons and their healthy ability to help treat scurvy, a then common disease among the sailors. James Lind found in 1747 that lemons and oranges were extremely effective at treating the disease that we know was caused by a vitamin C deficiency from all those months at sea without fresh produce.
Rarely are lemons consumed alone since they have an intense sour flavor, even though extremely popular when used in smaller quantities and in combination with other herbs and spices to give a wonderful flavor to sauces, salad dressing, marinades, drinks and desserts.
There is a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods by MNT Knowledge Center. A nutritional breakdown of lemons and an in-depth look at their possible health benefit are provided on how to incorporate more lemons into your diet and also notes any potential health risks of consuming this fruit.
The American Heart Association reveals a possible health benefit of lemon consumption. Eating higher amounts of citrus fruits may lower ischemic stroke risk for women. Those eating the highest amounts of citrus had a 19% lower risk of ischemic stroke than those women who consumed the least. Another excellent source of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C contained in lemons and lemon juice can help fight the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. A healthy complexion because of vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form or topically applied, can help fight skin damage, reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. This vitamin C also plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the support system of your skin.
Those consuming a high amount of vitamin C and certain other nutrients has lower risks for developing asthma. One of the most common nutrient deficiencies is iron deficiency, a leading cause of anemia. Vitamin C, paired with other foods that are iron-rich, will maximize the body’s ability to absorb iron. The immune system can also battle germs that cause a cold or flu by including vitamin C in your healthy diet.
Consuming all kinds of fruits and vegetables has long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions. Increasing consumption of plant foods like lemons decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality and promotes a healthy complexion, increased energy and overall lower weight.
It is reported by the USDA National nutrient database that one raw lemon, without the peel, provides 17 calories, 0.6 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, 5.4 grams of carbohydrate, 1.6 grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of sugar), 51% of daily vitamin C needs, as well as small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.
Isn’t this enough information to convince us to incorporate more lemons into our diets? Lemons should be picked at their peak ripeness to keep their quality and stored at room temperature (away from direct sunlight). Try your lemons with fish, chicken, and Mediterranean dishes.
Gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD) may be experienced with heartburn and regurgitation when consuming any highly acidic foods. Just follow your dieting habits and don’t over-do with too many acidic foods. Happy eating and drinking. After all, we all love a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade, don’t we?
–Dr Fredda Branyon