Although lemons are typically added to foods and beverages rather than eaten whole, there are still many potential benefits to consider with this citrus fruit. From boosted immunity to better digestion, here’s what the science says about lemons and health.
May support better immune function
Vitamin C, which lemons provide naturally, is considered a crucial micronutrient for immune health. As a clinical study explains, vitamin C can boost your immune function, reduce inflammation, and possibly help fight infections. (That said, there’s no evidence that vitamin C can lower your risk of catching a cold, although taking vitamin C supplements regularly may help shorten your cold and reduce its severity, notes the NIH. ).
May protect against chronic disease
According to the NIH, getting enough vitamin C by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can lower your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Vitamin C in foods like lemons is thought to reduce oxidative damage throughout your body. However, it is unclear whether vitamin C alone, whether in diet or supplement form, directly reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases.
May promote better digestion
Although there is no research to suggest that lemons alone can detoxify the body, drinking lemon water may promote better digestion overall.
“Adding lemon to your water can mean you actually want to drink more and meet your unique hydration needs,” says Trisha Best, RDN, consultant at Balance One Supplements based in Dalton, GA. “Lemon water has also been shown to promote weight loss by improving insulin resistance and digestion.” An in vitro study suggests that lemon extract may contain bioactive compounds, such as flavanones, which researchers believe mimicked insulin resistance.
Best also notes that drinking hot lemon water in the morning can have a laxative effect. This could promote better digestive health if you suffer from constipation. Although more research is needed for this, one study found that lemon juice, when combined with prune juice, helped promote normal bowel function in patients who had recently undergone surgery. orthopedic.
May decrease the risk of kidney stones
Kidney stones are made up of calcium, uric acid and oxalate, according to the Mayo Clinic. These start out as crystals and then can grow in size until they turn into painful stones. Lemons can prevent kidney stones due to their citric acid content which can bind to calcium. According to Harvard Health, 80-85% of kidney stones are made up of calcium.
“People prone to kidney stones may also see benefits from making lemon water a regular part of their beverage rotation,” says Best. Harvard Health also notes that the citrate in lemons and lemon juice may help reduce the incidence of kidney stones.