Known for its healing and medicinal properties, lemons pack a nutritional punch that offers numerous health benefits too. Bursting with antioxidants and other nutrients, this fruit helps in revitalizing both the mind and the body. Many people follow the lemon detox diet to lose weight, to improve digestive health and also to obtain glowing skin. The benefits of lemon, however doesn’t stop here. It has many medicinal properties that help to ward off many diseases and to prevent various health conditions. Although smallest among the citrus, the health benefits provided by lemon are much more when compared to the other fruits in the citrus family. Their tangy taste, wonderful aroma and nutritional wealth makes lemon one of the most popularly consumed fruits in the world.
Nutritional value of lemon
Lemon is a powerhouse of several health benefitting nutrients. It is low in calories with no amount of cholesterol or saturated fat. It is high in dietary fiber and has a low glycemix index. The tangy and acidic taste of lemon juice is due to the presence of citric acid which makes up 8% of the fruit. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and also contains other vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin E, and B complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate. Lemons contain phytochemicals like hesperetin, naringin, and naringenin along with other flavonoid antioxidants like alpha carotene, beta carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. It also carries good amounts of mineral like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iron, copper and selenium.
Health benefits of Lemon
The health benefits of lemon are countless. Drinking a glass of lemon juice daily in the morning is beneficial in strengthening your immune system and in keeping off disease causing microbes. Not only do lemons benefit the overall health of your body, they are also useful for maintaining healthy skin and hair. A few of the health benefits of this citrus fruit are explained below.
Lemon boosts digestive health
Drinking lemon juice is found to have a positive effect on the health of the gastrointestinal tract. It acts as a purifier and cleansing agent and helps to cleanse the bowel by getting rid of the waste more efficiently. It stimulates the production and release of gastric juices, which support digestion. Lemon juice is also considered to be a digestive tonic that can help relieve digestive disorders such as bloating, indigestion, constipation and heartburn. Lemon juice is a rich source of vitamin C and shows antimicrobial properties that help in preventing infections in your gastrointestinal tract.
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Lemon is great for the skin
Lemon contains plenty of antioxidants that help in combating premature ageing of the skin. These antioxidants fight off the free radicals and minimize the damage caused by them to the skin cells. Free radical damage is considered to be a main factor responsible for the appearance of the symptoms of ageing. Lemon is rich in vitamin C, which plays a major role in the synthesis of collagen. This helps in increasing the elasticity of the skin, keeping it smooth, supple and wrinkle free. The antibacterial and anti-microbial properties of lemon make them a natural remedy for treating acne, blackheads and other skin infections. Lemon juice contains citric acid that lightens your skin tone and gets rids of blemishes and dark spots. Applying lemon juice to your face is beneficial in getting rid of oily skin. It is an excellent cleanser that helps to remove dirt and bacteria from the surface of the skin. Lemon juice also helps remove burn scars. It acts as cooling agent in case of burns or insect bite.
Lemon for beautiful hair
Lemon juice has been long popular as a hair care ingredient. It can strengthen the hair follicles and make your hair stronger and healthier. It also stimulates hair growth. Lemon juice is an effective remedy for eliminating dandruff. Massaging a mixture of coconut oil, honey and lemon juice on the scalp is a great solution for dandruff. Lemon juice is a good solution for oily hair. It decreases the excess secretion of sebaceous glands in your scalp, and prevents the clogging of the hair follicles.
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Lemon can soothe chapped lips
Lemon juice has exfoliating properties that help to remove dead skin cells. To get smooth lips, apply lemon juice on the lips, keep it overnight and wash it off in the morning.
Lemon supports the immune system
Lemon is packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants that enhance the immune system and make your body less prone to infections and diseases. It also improves the ability of your body to absorb iron, which is another nutrient essential for a healthy immune system. Drinking lemon juice daily can help to protect your body from common cold and flu.
Lemon and cancer
Although lemon juice has astringent properties, it is also a very refreshing drink. Lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C and also contains certain compounds that may help in preventing cancer. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from free radical damage. Free radicals cause oxidative stress to the cells and mutate the DNA, which may lead to the development of cancer. Lemons are rich in limonoids, which are compounds capable of fighting off diseases. One such limonoid in lemons is limonin, which according to a study published in “Nutrition and Cancer,” was effective in the partial inhibition of the growth of human ovarian cancer cells and also in inducing the cell death or apoptosis of breast cancer cells. Another study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggest that three other limonoids found in lemon helped in reducing the number of oral cavity tumors by about 25% to 50 %. Studies have also shown that lemon is capable of destroying malignant cancer cells in many types of cancers such are breast, colon, and lung cancers. Lemons have been found to destroy cancer cells much more effectively than treatment options like chemotherapy, but in a healthier and safer manner with no side effects. The studies also show that lemon therapy destroys only the harmful and malignant cells without affecting the other healthy cells in your body.
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Lemon for better liver function
The atomic structure of lemon juice is similar to the human digestive juices and hence drinking lemon juice helps in processing the nutrients and filtering the unwanted toxins, thus lowering the workload of the liver. Lemon promotes liver regeneration and also supports the functioning of the organ by controlling the levels of carbohydrate, strengthening liver enzymes, and supporting the synthesis of enzymes. The anti-microbial properties of lemon helps in preventing infections and the high levels of antioxidants in this fruit prevent free radical damage to the liver cells.
Lemon prevents urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections or UTIs are caused by bacterial infections and are common in both men and women. Lemon has antibacterial properties and so drinking a glass of lemon juice daily can get rid of the infection causing bacteria. It also alters the pH of the blood and urinary tract from acidic to alkaline, thereby destroying the favorable environment in which these bacteria grow and multiply. Lemon also has diuretic properties that increase the frequency of urination, thereby expelling the bacteria from the body along with the urine.
Lemon lowers high blood pressure
Lemon is a great remedy for lowering high blood pressure. It makes the blood vessels soft and flexible and allows the blood to easily flow through them, thus preventing high blood pressure. Moreover, the high levels of potassium in lemon also help to control blood pressure by neutralizing the negative effects of sodium.
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Lemon juice promotes weight loss
Lemon juice in warm water is an excellent remedy to lose weight. Lemons have diuretic properties that increase urination, thus preventing water retention and facilitating loss of water weight. This fruit is also high in vitamin C that has been found to stimulate chemical processes in the body that help in breaking down the stored fat and using it for generating energy. A study published in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of Biochemical Nutrition, reveals that the polyphenols in lemon helped in suppressing weight gain, reducing insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels, and preventing the accumulation of fat pads and excessive fat in the bloodstream. According to researchers, these properties not only make lemon beneficial for weight loss but also for the treatment of diabetes and obesity.
Lemon juice improves your bone health
Lemon juice has an alkaline pH, which is very important for maintaining proper bone health. The vitamin C in this fruit stimulates the production of collagen that maintains bones and cartilage. In addition, lemon contains minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which supports bone health.
Lemon for toothcare
What do you do with lemon rind after squeezing juice? Instead of throwing them do massage on your gums. It can help eliminate gum problems and bad bread. Consuming Lemon juice provides body with Vitamin C which is required for gum health.
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Lemon is an easily available and inexpensive super fruit that can do wonders to your body. It is a storehouse of so many antioxidants and essential nutrients that are important for rejuvenating your body and restoring your overall health. The benefits of this citrus fruit increase many folds when consumed with pure warm water and honey. When there is a natural, healthy and less expensive way to revitalize your body, why not make the best use of it? Kick start your day with a glass of lemon juice and experience the awesome health benefits it offers.Image Credits: Flickr - Andrew Comings