The history of lemons goes back to its origins in Southeast Asia and China. Lemons have long been popular in the culinary world, whether you’re adding lemon juice to marinades, fajitas, water, or desserts—the list is endless. In the United States, using lemon juice in food and beverages is popular, and today the U.S. produces two percent of the world’s lemons. As with other citrus fruits, fresh lemons work well as ingredients, but drinking lemon water or using lemon juice has a long list of surprising benefits. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of lemon juice, how fresh lemon juice can help with issues such as constipation and heart disease, and how lemon juice can help with overall health and wellness.
Lemons themselves are a good source of vitamin C, which is a much-needed vitamin, and many people do not reach their daily allowance. It’s estimated that a quarter-glass of lemon juice is equal to 31 percent of your daily vitamin C allowance. Why is vitamin C important? First, it helps boost collagen levels in the body, which are important for dental health, skin health, and strong bones. Vitamin C helps promote the production of hyaluronic acid, which is needed to create collagen.
Vitamin C also protects against free radicals. Free radicals are small molecules that are created when you are exposed to the sun, exposed to tobacco smoke, or after eating a meal. Having too many free radicals in the body can have a hand in serious diseases, such as cancer or heart disease. A glass of lemon water can help you naturally gain vitamin C, or you can add lemon juice to other beverages, such as hot water or tea. Lemon juice can also help soothe a sore throat during times of illness.
Many things can cause a lack of iron absorption in the body. If your body doesn’t receive enough iron, you can be diagnosed with a condition called anemia. Anemia occurs when red blood cells can’t get enough oxygen through the bloodstream, leading to extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. The vitamin C found in lemon juice helps with iron absorption and can help the body store iron so it is more efficiently used.
Women, because of their menstruation cycles, and those who follow a vegetarian diet are more at risk of becoming anemic. A glass of lemon water per day may help promote better iron absorption in the body.
Having stable blood pressure helps to protect the body against myriad health problems, such as heart disease, kidney damage, strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure. Researchers believe that the citric acid found in lemon juice can help lower blood pressure, particularly in those already diagnosed with hypertension. A study was performed on a group of women who ingested lemon juice daily and took a short walk. Over time, their blood pressure decreased and researchers believe lemon juice played an important role.
It is thought that lemon juice works by making blood vessels flexible and soft, which leads to low blood pressure. High cholesterol levels are also known to constrict blood vessels because of cholesterol buildup. Lemon juice may also lower cholesterol levels, which also positively affects blood pressure.
Kidney stones are a common problem and occur when materials mineralize in the kidneys, causing pain and blockage. Studies have shown that citric acid may play a role in the prevention of kidney stones. Lemon juice contains a fair amount of citric acid (1.01g/serving), so it not only helps prevent kidney stones but also promotes overall urinary tract wellness. Lemon juice doesn’t always have to be in the form of a glass of lemon water or a straight tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Freshly squeezed lemonade can also provide benefits; a study showed that four ounces of lemonade per day can raise the amount of citric acid levels in the blood by 142 to 246mg. Lemonade also decreased the amount of calcium found in urine. Making lemonade from fresh concentrate, such as those made by FruitSmart, is a terrific way to add citric acid to the diet.
As lemon juice promotes overall heart health, it may lower stroke risk as well. The majority of strokes occur when there is a sudden loss of blood in the brain. Stroke is a very common occurrence in the United States—it’s estimated that around 795,000 people per year in the U.S. experience stroke.
One study believes that the flavanones found in lemon juice can help reduce the chance of stroke. A study of close to 70,000 people found that ingesting whole lemon or fresh lemon juice can reduce stroke risk by up to 19 percent. This is in part because flavanones also fight free radicals. Free radicals can cause oxidative stress and can contribute to a loss of blood flow to the brain. Citrus fruits, such as lemon juice, have been shown to protect against oxidative stress and inflammation.
In addition to flavonoids and flavanones, lemon juice also contains carbs, or carbohydrates. The carbohydrates contain fibers such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose. One of the main fibers found in whole lemons is pectin, which is an insoluble fiber. One of the main things pectin does is slow down digestion, which helps lower blood sugar levels. This is particularly important for those who have diabetes.
Pectin also has other health benefits—it helps prevent diarrhea by coating the walls of the intestines. It can also help protect against heartburn. However, to get the full health benefits of lemon juice and pectin by consuming lemon juice, you must ensure the pulp remains in the juice because that’s where the fiber is. A common home remedy for digestion and lemons includes drinking a glass of lemon water (with pulp) every day in order to jump-start the digestive system.
Lemon juice has many health benefits beyond the six listed. Drinking water with lemon or ingesting lemon juice:
While there are many benefits of lemon water, you should always consult your healthcare provider or other medical advice before adding anything new to your diet. Lemon juice can have potential side effects in some people. It is possible to have an allergy to citrus fruits, such as lime, grapefruit, or fresh lemon. Lemon juice can cause migraines in some people. Overuse of lemon juice over a long period of time can affect tooth enamel, potentially leading to tooth decay. Someone who is allergic to citrus may experience itching, swelling, or other medical problems after consuming lemon juice.
Drinking water is one of the healthiest things you can do on a daily basis, and adding lemon juice can help get you your daily allowance of water plus the ability to reap the health benefits of lemon juice. Plus, a little lemon juice always makes drinking water taste better. Other ways you can incorporate more lemon juice into your diet include:
There are many other recipes and ways to incorporate lemon juice into the diet—if it feels as if lemon juice would be a good fit in your meal, add a little for health benefits.
Whole lemons and lemon juice have many health benefits, and it’s simple and easy to incorporate more lemon juice into the diet. High levels of antioxidants, potassium, alkalines, and carbs make lemon juice a perfect addition unless you’re allergic to citrus fruits.
At FruitSmart, health and safety are of our utmost concern, and as a result, you’ll never find any extra additives, supplements, artificial colors, or sugars in our products—just fresh lemon juice in our lemon juice concentrate, essences, and other products. Having an everyday serving of lemon juice has many health benefits, and FruitSmart can help by offering natural, simple ways to ingest more lemon juice. If you are interested in learning more about what partnering with FruitSmart can do for your brand, contact us today.