11 Evidence-Based Benefits of Lemon

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

The health benefits of lemon might be attributed to its vitamin C content. It can help improve skin health, promote weight loss, and may act as a breath freshener. Lemons may also help with dental problems, throat infections, and high blood pressure. These citrus fruits can also be used in skin and hair care. Lemon may also help to strengthen your immune system.

Lemon juice, especially, has several health benefits associated with it. Even more, as a refreshing drink, lemonade helps you stay calm and cool.

What is Lemon?

Lemon is a yellow citrus fruit that belongs to the Rutaceae family. Its scientific name is Citrus limon and it is native to South Asia. Lemons are mostly round or oval in shape and they have a thick skin. The juice of these fruits has a sour, acidic taste due to the presence of citric acid in it. Lemons are treasured for their high vitamin C content. They are used to add flavor to baked goods, cocktails, salad dressings, sauces, and desserts.

People make lemonade by mixing lemon juice and water. Drinking its juice with olive oil is a known home remedy for gallstones. Many also use it as a washing agent, because of its ability to remove stains. Its strong scent can also repel mosquitoes.

You can check out how to make lemon water here.

Nutrition Facts

Lemons, raw, without peel
Serving Size :
Water [g]88.98
Energy 29
Energy [kJ]121
Protein [g]1.1
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.3
Ash [g]0.3
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]9.32
Fiber, total dietary [g]2.8
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]2.5
Calcium, Ca [mg]26
Iron, Fe [mg]0.6
Magnesium, Mg [mg]8
Phosphorus, P [mg]16
Potassium, K [mg]138
Sodium, Na [mg]2
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.06
Copper, Cu [mg]0.04
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.03
Selenium, Se [µg]0.4
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]53
Thiamin [mg]0.04
Riboflavin [mg]0.02
Niacin [mg]0.1
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.19
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.08
Folate, total [µg]11
Folate, food [µg]11
Folate, DFE [µg]11
Choline, total [mg]5.1
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]1
Carotene, beta [µg]3
Carotene, alpha [µg]1
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]20
Vitamin A, IU [IU]22
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]11
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.15
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.04
14:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.04
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.01
16:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.09
18:2 [g]0.06
18:3 [g]0.03
Sources include : USDA [1]

Nutrition Facts of Lemon

The health benefits of lemon are due to its many nourishing elements. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, it may contain a good amount of vitamin C, and a small amount of a number of vitamins and minerals, including B-vitamins (niacin, folate, thiamin, riboflavin) as well as potassium, zinc, and magnesium. [2]

Health Benefits of Lemon

Various health benefits of this zesty citrus fruit are explained in detail below:

May Manage Hypertension

Lemon juice might help you manage your blood pressure with long term use.

According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, [3] regular consumption of lemon combined with walking (average body movement) might have proved to be effective in lowering high blood pressure.

A 2014 research article shows that the blood pressure-lowering properties of lemon juice are especially evident in people with hypertension, rather than among people with normal blood pressure. [4]

May Aid in Weight Loss

Drinking warm water with lemon and honey in the morning is said to aid your weight loss efforts. While that might or might not work for you, a research study performed on mice confirmed that polyphenols present in it can suppress body weight gain and body fat accumulation. This could have positive implications for lemon juice drinks in human weight loss. [5]

Lemon honey juice fasting (LHJF) might also be considered as a natural remedy for reducing weight. In the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, researchers have shown that short-term LHJF may help in reducing body weight, fat mass, and total serum triglycerides. [6]

In a 2008 study, rodents fed a high-fat diet alongside lemon peel phenols gained less weight than those without lemon. While the study was on rodents, it hints at lemon’s weight management potential due to its bioactive compounds. [7]

A 2016 study involving premenopausal Korean women found that a 7-day lemon detox diet led to significant improvements in insulin resistance, body fat levels, BMI, body weight, and waist-hip ratio this suggests that short-term lemon detox diets can aid in weight loss. [8]

Read more about the benefits of lemon water detox here.

May Help Prevent Kidney Stones

Citric acid in lemon can increase urine volume and pH, creating an environment less conducive to kidney stone formation. This effect may help prevent the recurrence of kidney stones. [9] [10]

Consuming just 1/2 cup (125 ml) of lemon juice per day may provide enough citric acid to reduce the risk of stone formation, particularly in individuals with a history of kidney stones. [11] [12]

While some studies have shown that lemonade effectively prevents kidney stones, results have been inconsistent. More robust research is needed to conclusively establish the impact of lemon juice on kidney stone formation. [13] [14]

In summary, lemon’s citric acid content may contribute to kidney stone prevention by altering urine properties. However, further well-designed studies are necessary to confirm its effectiveness. [15] [16]

Fresh lemon and leaves on a wooden table

Citrus lemons with leaves Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Can Potentially Help in Dental Care

A study headed by Helsinki University reports that low concentrations of vitamin C may cause periodontitis (gum infection). [17]

Lemon can be used in cleaning teeth. While most remedies will advocate using lemon and baking soda, try and avoid it as it may lead to dental erosion. The safest way is to choose a toothpaste containing this fruit as one of the ingredients. If you are keen to use lemon or its juice for oral care, it is best to consult with a medical expert before trying out anything new.

Might Provide For Hair Care

Anecdotal evidence shows that Palestinian folk remedies treasure lemon for its hair care properties. Lemon juice combined with chamomile paste and apple cider vinegar has long been used there to change hair texture. [18]

Lemon juice has proven itself useful in the treatment of damaged hair on a wide scale. When mixed with olive oil and applied to the scalp, the juice can arrest problems like dandruff, hair loss, and other problems related to the hair and scalp. Many beauty experts also suggest that if you apply this juice directly to the hair, it may give your hair a natural shine as well. However, an ample amount of research is still awaited. [19]

Here are 7 Amazing Ways to Use Lemon Juice for Hair Growth

Can Prove To Be A Good Skin Care Agent

Lemon juice, being a natural antiseptic medicine, may also be able to cure problems related to the skin. The juice contains vitamin C, and therefore, it can be applied to reduce the pain of sunburns and bee stings as well. It is also good for acne and eczema. [20]

Citrus juices like lemon juice act as an anti-aging remedy and may reduce wrinkles and blackheads too. [21]

Drinking its juice mixed with water and honey may bring a healthy glow to the skin. Many over-the-counter cosmetic products also contain lemon as a natural skincare agent.

Find out How To Use Lemon Juice For Skin

Health benefits of lemon infographic

Lemon is a yellow citrus fruit that belongs to the Rutaceae family.

May Have Potential Anticoagulant Properties

Very few research studies have been conducted to determine the anticoagulant properties of lemon.

A 2014 study conducted on rabbits shows that lemon contains an anti-thrombin component, which means that it may help regulate blood clotting and may prevent excess loss of blood in case of an injury. [22]

May Relieve Asthma

Lemon juice may assist in relieving respiratory problems and breathing problems, such as its ability to soothe a person suffering from asthma.

Being a rich source of vitamin C, it might also help deal with more long-term respiratory disorders as well. [23]

Improve Digestive Health

Lemons are composed of about 10% carbohydrates, primarily in the form of soluble fiber and simple sugars. The key player here is pectin, a form of soluble fiber renowned for its multiple health benefits. Soluble fiber is known to promote gut health and slow down the digestion of sugars and starches. These effects can lead to more stable blood sugar levels. [24] [25]

However, to harness the digestive benefits of lemons, it’s essential to consume the pulp. The pulp contains the highest concentration of pectin and soluble fiber, making it a valuable addition to your diet. [26]

Support Heart Health

One lemon provides roughly 31 mg of vitamin C, equating to 51% of the recommended daily intake (RDI). [27] [28]

Lemons don’t rely solely on vitamin C for their heart-healthy reputation. The fiber and plant compounds in lemons can significantly lower blood cholestrol levels. For example, citrus fiber extract, when consumed at 24 grams daily for a month, led to reduced total blood cholesterol levels. [29] [30]

Lemons contain plant compounds like hesperidin and diosmin, which have been shown to lower cholesterol levels. These natural components further contribute to lemon’s potential to support heart health. [31] [32]

Might Help Prevent/Cure Throat Infections

Lemon is an excellent fruit that may give a strong fight to the problems related to throat infections, due to its well-known antibacterial properties. You can add it to your soups or teas for relief. [33]

Using Lemon In Your Diet

There are many ways to add a squeeze of lemon to your diet. You can toss a spoon of its juice on your salads, add it to your tea, or simply mix it with cucumber water for more flavor. One lemon gives you about 2-3 tablespoons of juice but that may also vary depending on the size of the lemon. So, you can use it accordingly in your recipes by following the guide here.

If you are looking for some easy ways to use lemon, try these out:

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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