Lemons are low-calorie fruits that have no fat content. One lemon (approx. 47 g) contains 12 calories from carbohydrates (4 g). It is a good source of folate (6 mcg) and potassium (58 mg), and a very good source of vitamin C (22 mg). Other nutrients include vitamins A, B complex, and E, choline, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, selenium, and dietary fiber. One cup of raw lemon juice provides 112 mg of vitamin C, which is equivalent to 187% daily value (DV) and only 61 calories (3%DV).
Scientific research shows that lemons, like lime and other citrus fruits contain antioxidants in the form of flavonoids called flavonol glycosides and limonoids called limonin.
Health Benefits of Lemon Juice
It is obvious that vitamin C is the most important nutrient lemons are known for, although they also contain other components that have antioxidant properties. One cup of lemon juice contains more vitamin C (112 mg) than a similar amount of orange juice (97 mg), broccoli (74mg), or tomato juice (45mg).
Although the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C for adults is 75-90 mg a day, studies show that adults achieve health benefits by taking at least 500 mg of this nutrient daily. Since lemons are high in vitamin C, they deserve to be included in a healthy, balanced diet that includes a variety of other fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C from lemon juice has many health benefits. Many studies show that vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, boosts the immune system, which is usually weakened by chronic stress.
A diet rich in vitamin C increases one's resistance to the effects of stress as well as certain diseases. Although lemon juice does not cure colds or flu, its vitamin C content helps prevent the development of complications such as pneumonia or lung infection. It is also known to reduce symptoms of sore throat, tonsillitis, or asthma.
Vitamin C is an important component for collagen formation, for reducing inflammation and promoting tissue healing and repair. No wonder lemons and other citrus fruits are popular ingredients of foods and cosmetic products that are marketed for their anti-aging effects. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women ages 40-74 who had high intakes of vitamin C were less likely to have wrinkles, skin dryness, and aged appearance compared to those who had lower intakes.
Antioxidant Properties of Lemon Juice
Aside from vitamin C, lemon juice contains flavonoids and other substances that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are chemicals that fight against harmful products of metabolism (free radicals) that can cause chronic disease. These antioxidants can reduce your risk of developing heart disease stroke, and cancer. Studies show that people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and have high blood levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants are less likely to suffer from stroke, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Compounds called limonoids from limes and lemons have been shown to fight against skin, lung, mouth, breast, colon, and stomach cancer. Current investigations are also looking into the cholesterol-lowering properties of these substances. Other studies suggest that vitamin C may have a protective effect against inflammation, which is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis.
Lemon juice has also been traditionally used as a home remedy for various ailments. It is believed to relieve problems in digestion such as nausea, hiccups, heartburn, constipation, gallstones, and worm infestation. It is also used as a diuretic and a natural way to relieve urinary tract infection. Other ways to use lemon juice include mixing it with coffee to relieve headache, applying it with cotton ball to stop a nosebleed, or using it with glycerin to treat chapped lips.
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