Lemon contains a lot of nutrients that are essential for health. Its virtues are innumerable. These include vitamin C, the vitamin B complex, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.

Lemon also provides antioxidants that act on the immune system and reduce the risk of developing cancer. Consuming lemon would therefore limit cancers located in the digestive tract and respiratory system as well as cardiovascular diseases. Cholesterol would also be reduced thanks to lemon.

But that’s not all, lemon is a very good candidate for purifying the body of toxins and thus ensuring better digestion. Its vitamins also allow it to fortify collagen – a protein acting on the skin – protecting it from aging. Lemon is also effective against nausea (in case of gastro for example), cramps (during physical activities) and can also be used as a pain reliever on a small burn.

Nutritional value of lemon

For 100 g of fresh lemon:

NutrientsAverage content
Protein0,6 g
Carbohydrates5,4 g
Lipids0,2 g
Dietary fiber1,6 g

Best health benefits of lemon

1.      Strengthens the immune system

Ascorbic acid, often referred to as vitamin C, is an essential vitamin that is water soluble. Lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary, among other things, to form collagen in the muscles, cartilage, and our bones.

Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties, this is important for strengthening our immune system. There are researchers who believe that antioxidants can help prevent the damage to cells by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are thought to increase the likelihood of suffering from certain diseases.

2.      Packed with vitamins and minerals

In addition to vitamin C, lemons are a rich source of other vitamins and minerals. Lemon is a good source of minerals, potassium, and calcium. Calcium is important for building strong bones and teeth. Potassium provides the right amounts of bodily fluids and maintains good, healthy blood pressure.

Both potassium and calcium are water soluble, this means that the body cannot store them and use them later. As a result, it is important to regularly receive sufficient quantities of them. The juice of the lemon also contains a number of B vitamins, these are important in preventing many different health problems.

3.      Helps against respiratory problems

Thanks to its high content of vitamin C and its antibiotic and antiviral properties, lemon is also one of the best allies against respiratory problems. Lemon helps clear the airways and strengthens the immune system to treat diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.

4.      May help with weight loss

There is evidence that the vegetable compounds in lemon can help to gain and maintain a healthy weight. For example, there are animal studies showing that the polyphenols from the skin of lemons help to prevent fat storage. Whether the same applies to humans remains to be investigated. Still, it’s definitely good for your weight if you drink lemon water instead of soda.

5.      Acts as a diuretic

When lemon is added to ordinary water, it acts as an effective and natural diuretic. This can provide relief for women during menstruation if they are sensitive to fluid retention. The juice of the lemon should be added to hot or cold water and should not be drunk immediately as the acidity could cause stomach problems.

Of course, lemon and water are never a substitute for a prescribed diuretic, unless this is the doctor’s advice.

6.      Works like an astringent

Astringent means that it is a substance that helps body tissues (especially the skin) contract after ingestion or local application. Lemons contain substances that make them work well for astringent purposes. In Italy, for example, lemon is used to treat conditions with inflammatory symptoms, such as gingivitis, stomatitis, and inflammation of the tongue. An astringent such as lemon can also be used on the skin to reduce swelling and relieve irritation.

7.      Good for the skin

Lemon is often used in products rich in fruit acids. These have the advantage of promoting cell renewal, by gently exfoliating and boosting collagen production. The application of lemon on the skin gives a new skin effect, by refining the skin texture.

8.      Good for heart & blood vessels

Lemons are quite rich in vitamin C. With one lemon you get 31 mg of this important vitamin. Research shows that eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C supports the health of the heart. The fibers and plant substances in the fruit also contribute to the health of your heart. In addition, there is evidence that the substance hesperetin in lemon can help lower cholesterol. Enough reason to incorporate this healthy fruit more often into recipes.

9.      Contributes to healthy kidneys

Research shows that citric acid can help prevent kidney stones. Lemon has the ability to increase the amount of citrate in the body. This creates a less favorable environment for the formation of kidney stones. 

10.      Protects against anemia

Lemons contain some iron, but that’s not why they help to prevent anemia. What these fruits are masters at is to improve the absorption of iron from plant foods. Our body very easily absorbs iron from animal sources but struggles to absorb the iron from vegetable sources. The vitamin C in lemons helps our body with this.

11.      May contribute to the health of our cells

Some researchers believe that the plant compounds in lemons such as naringin can have a cell protective effect. There are also studies that have shown that people who eat the most citrus fruits are more likely to have healthy cells. However, in these studies very high doses of these substances were used, much more than you would get from eating lemons. So don’t expect miracles from these vegetarian recipes with lemon, but they are certainly healthy.

12.      For healthy intestines

Lemons consist of about 10 percent carbohydrates, usually in the form of soluble fiber and single sugars. The main fiber in lemons is pectin, a type of soluble fiber that has multiple health benefits. Soluble fiber can improve gut health and slow down the digestion of sugars and starch. This has a positive effect on your blood sugar level. To take advantage of these benefits, you do need to eat the flesh of the lemon.

13.      Good for blood pressure

Lemon juice can contribute to healthy blood pressure, according to several studies. For example, there is a study showing that lemon juice can help to lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Another study shows that for lower blood pressure it is especially effective to walk or do another form of exercise in addition to consuming lemon juice.

14.      Helps keep breath fresh

A natural mouthwash with lemon water eliminates the bacteria responsible for bad breath thanks to the natural antiseptic properties of lemon.

15.      May prevent certain cancers

According to many scientific studies, consuming lemon regularly would prevent the appearance of certain cancers as well as slow their proliferation thanks to the presence of flavonoids. We think in particular of colon cancer, stomach cancer or esophagus cancer.

To go further, a Japanese study showed that this effect was amplified when lemon juice was associated with the consumption of green tea. This therefore reinforces the idea that some drinks, no matter how simple, have a beneficial effect on our health.

Avoid overconsumption

As you can see, lemon has many positive effects on the body. However, you should be aware that it also involves risks. Overconsumption of lemon can have some negative effects on your health.

Indeed, eating or drinking too much citrus fruit causes too much absorption of photosensitive toxic agents (present in these fruits) which causes a strong sensitivity of the skin. In the long run, this can promote skin cancer in the form of melanoma. In addition, these same agents found in lemon can burn on contact with the skin when exposed to the sun, causing a skin reaction resembling eczema or hives.

These toxic agents are not the only enemies of our health, the acidity of lemon also strongly attacks the enamel of our teeth. Lemon should therefore not be abused, whether for our body or for our oral health.

Finally, there is also another risk to be taken into account (and is also valid for all fruits): it is imperative to pay attention to the origin and the method of farming of the fruits you buy. Indeed, many of them are cultivated with pesticides that are found on their skin.

Like all foods, lemon has many benefits for our body, but we must know how to consume it in moderation and as part of a varied diet.

Cassidy Perry

A certified dietician specializing in diabetes care, Cassidy has over a decade of experience working with diverse patient backgrounds. She writes health-related articles for the Scientific Origin.