15 Health Benefits Of Lemon Juice, Backed By Science

by Raksha Hegde last updated -

Rarely does anyone ask if lemon juice is good for health, given that its benefits are universally known. But if you come across anyone asking you about it, make sure to show them this. The health benefits of lemon juice include its ability to heal respiratory infections, treat acne, lower cholesterol, manage blood pressure levels, and detoxify the body. This humble pantry staple is a multipurpose solution for something as simple as cleaning stains to important properties like its potential ability to prevent cancer.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice refers to the freshly squeezed, tart, juice of lemon fruit. This vitamin C-rich juice is not just beneficial for your body, but it is also used to clean and freshen your house. It can be counted on to remove stains from your clothes and your teeth! Store-bought lemon juice, popularly sold in bottles, is lemon concentrate diluted with water, and usually contains preservatives.

Lemon juice has a high content of naturally occurring citric acid. It has a pH value of just over 2, making it extremely acidic. However, it is good for you as the juice has an alkalizing effect once it is consumed. The most popular way to have it is to make lemonade by diluting it with water and adding salt, sugar, or honey. Lemonade is a refreshing and healthy way to stay hydrated on a hot, summer day.

A glass bowl of lemon juice with halved lemons on a wooden board

Freshly squeezed lemon juice Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Lemon Juice Nutrition

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, lemon juice contains water, a few calories, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamin C. It is high in potassium, calcium, and folate. The juice also contains bioactive compounds such as citric acid, citrus limonoids, polyphenols, and ascorbic acid. The polyphenols in lemon and other citrus fruits are treasured for its anti-aging properties.

Carbs and Calories in Lemon Juice

A cup of lemon juice (244 g) contains about 53.7 calories and 16.8 g carbohydrates. It is often used in combination with warm water for weight loss.

Nutrition Facts

Lemon juice, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]92.31
Energy [kcal]22
Energy [kJ]91
Protein [g]0.35
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.24
Ash [g]0.21
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]6.9
Fiber, total dietary [g]0.3
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]2.52
Sucrose [g]0.43
Glucose (dextrose) [g]0.99
Fructose [g]1.1
Calcium, Ca [mg]6
Iron, Fe [mg]0.08
Magnesium, Mg [mg]6
Phosphorus, P [mg]8
Potassium, K [mg]103
Sodium, Na [mg]1
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.05
Copper, Cu [mg]0.02
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.01
Selenium, Se [µg]0.1
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]38.7
Thiamin [mg]0.02
Riboflavin [mg]0.02
Niacin [mg]0.09
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.13
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.05
Folate, total [µg]20
Folate, food [µg]20
Folate, DFE [µg]20
Choline, total [mg]5.1
Carotene, beta [µg]1
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]4
Vitamin A, IU [IU]6
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]15
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.15
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.04
10:0 [g]0.02
12:0 [g]0
14:0 [g]0
15:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.01
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.01
14:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0
18:1 c [g]0
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.02
18:2 [g]0.01
18:2 n-6 c,c [g]0.01
18:3 [g]0.01
18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA) [g]0.01
Sources include : USDA

Lemon Juice Benefits & Uses

Lemon juice is good for you because it can help boost your immunity, improve skin and hair health, and aid digestion. It is an effective fat burner and has anticancer potential. Let us look at the health benefits and uses in detail.

Treats Respiratory Infections

Lemon juice diluted in warm water, sweetened with honey, is an age-old remedy for sore throat. A 2017 study published in the Advances of Biotechnology and Microbiology journal found that lemon juice with honey can be used as alternative medicine in the treatment of respiratory tract infections. It inhibits the activity of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes, two kinds of bacteria that cause severe infections. Also, vitamin C in the freshly squeezed juice strengthens the immunity system.

Skin Lightener

Pure lemon juice may be too harsh on the skin due to its acidic nature, but a mixture of honey and lime juice is a hydrating and safe face mask with a natural bleaching effect on the skin. The blend is effective against Candida albicans and has a strong antibacterial and antifungal profile. You can use this face mask for an instant glow! For a simple homemade body scrub, mix this juice with sea salt and sugar.

Treats Acne

Lemon juice is a natural astringent with antimicrobial properties. Research published in the International Journal of Science Inventions Today reveals that lemon juice contains L-ascorbic acid which helps fight acne. It is highly effective against Propionibacterium acnes. Furthermore, it helps remove excess oil while also exfoliating the skin. The best way to use the juice for acne is to dip a Q-tip in the liquid, apply it on the acne-affected area, and leave it overnight. The juice, with its skin lightening properties, can also help lighten acne scars

Hair Care

Lemon juice can be used to reduce grey hair, according to a report in the International Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine. Coconut oil and lemon juice is a popular remedy for grey hair; however, grey hair is caused due to a lack of pigment. Nevertheless, the citrus juice acts as a natural antiseptic and helps keep hair and the scalp clean.

Anticancer Potential

Citrus limonoids, present in lemon juice, are rare natural compounds that have anticancer potential. According to a study published in the American Chemical Society journal, limonoids slow down cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. In animal studies, these powerful compounds were shown to stop cell metastasis. Another 2017 animal study found that a blend of garlic and lemon juice extract had an anti-cancer effect. Further human studies are required to explore the therapeutic potential of the juice against cancer.

Antibacterial Effect

Lemon juice has antibacterial properties, as proven by a study published in the Journal of Oral Hygiene Health. The study evaluated the effectiveness of the juice as an oral rinse as compared to a commercially available mouthwash. The citric acid in it significantly helped suppress bacterial growth. In calibrated quantities, the juice can also be used as a disinfectant, inhibiting Vibrio cholerae in drinking waterVibrio cholerae is a gram-negative bacterium that can cause cholera.

Prevents Kidney Stones

Drinking the juice of two lemons diluted in water daily can potentially reduce the risk of kidney stones. According to the National Kidney Foundation, the stone formation is inhibited due to the presence of citrate, a salt in citric acid, which binds with calcium. However, other citrus juices like orange juice can also work. Furthermore, a 2015 study reveals that lemon juice thins the bile produced by the liver and helps it flow more easily, allowing the body to detox in a more efficient manner. In turn, this improves hepatic enzyme action and prevents gallstone formation.

Aids Weight Loss

Lemon juice diluted with water, also known as lemon water, is well-known as a fat burner. The results of an animal study, published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, revealed that the polyphenols in the juice inhibited weight gain and fat accumulation. An ancient Ayurvedic recipe for obesity calls for drinking a glass of warm water with 10 ml of honey and 5 ml of lemon juice early in the morning.

Helps Manage Cholesterol

Lemon juice is used in folk medicine to improve heart health, due to its lipid-lowering properties. In an animal study reported in the Comparative Clinical Pathology 2015, laboratory rats fed with a high-cholesterol diet were administered the juice. There was a significant reduction in plasma total cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. It also helped increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. 

Lowers Blood Pressure

A study conducted in Japan on middle-aged and older women showed that consuming lemon juice daily, coupled with walking, helped lower systolic blood pressure.

Detoxing Properties

Lemon juice cleanses are known to help detox the system and keep the liver, gut, and kidneys healthy. In her bookThe Lemon Juice Diet“, health writer Theresa Cheung says the juice’s low glycemic index helps keep energy levels stable while firing up the body’s metabolism.

Enhances Nutrient Absorption

A squeeze of lemon on your salad greens or meat helps the body absorb nutrients, especially iron. Also, a 2016 report published in the Natural Science journal found that green tea, with lemon, has a greater phenolic content than just the tea alone. Free radical scavenging activity was also shown to have increased.

Hepatoprotective Effect

Lemon juice can help protect the liver from the damage caused by chronic alcohol consumption. According to the BioMed Research International 2017 issue, the flavonoids in it aid in detoxing harmful metals from the blood. Additionally, the lemon essential oils and pectin have an insulating effect on the stomach and intestine.

Household Cleaner

It works can be effective to clean grout, wooden surfaces, as well as grease stains from clothes. To make a handy household cleaner, mix the juice of a medium-sized lemon with water in a spray bottle. It helps remove food odors from the refrigerator and oven too.

Insect Repellant

You can use lemon juice or lemon peels to repel ants and mosquitoes. Sponging your pet with water mixed with the freshly squeezed juice of the lemon can help get rid of fleas and give them a lovely fresh fragrance.

How to Juice a Lemon?

You may require lemon in many preparations like juices or soups and in DIY skincare routines. It is great to know how to juice it so that you do not have to wait for your next grocery trip to shop for a bottled version. Here are the steps to juice a lemon:

  1. Take the lemon and roll it under your palm while it is on the table. This will ensure that the juice capsules open up and you get the most out of this citrus fruit.
  2. Once, that is done, cut the lemon into two halves lengthwise.
  3. Now put one half of the lemon on a mesh strainer in such a way that the lemon rind is facing you. Make sure to keep a cup or a bowl beneath the strainer.
  4. Holding the same position, take the lemon half a bit above the strainer and squeeze it. You will see the juice pouring into the bowl.
  5. Now, toss it wherever you like and enjoy it!

Note: If you have kept your lemon in the refrigerator, then remove and keep it at room temperature for about 15 minutes. alternatively, you can microwave the lemon for about 15 seconds to bring it to normal temperature if you are in a hurry.

How Much Juice is in One Lemon?

A lot of recipes call for the juice of a lemon. However, lemons differ in size depending on the region they are produced in. There are 4 to 5 medium-sized lemons in 1 pound. On average, 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice equals one lemon. A bigger lemon will give a 1/4 cup (60 ml) of lemon juice, about 4 tablespoons. If a recipe calls for the juice of 1 lemon, you can substitute it with 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice as it has a concentrated flavor. Also, 1 lemon has 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon rind or lemon zest in it.

Older lemons may not give as much as juice as they dry up. To get the maximum juice from a lemon, microwave it for 10-20 seconds. This will help loosen the lemon and you can squeeze out the juice more easily. But make sure to not overdo as the bitter residue may also get squeezed out with the juice and make your recipe taste bad.

Does Lemon Juice Go Bad?

Lemon juice can go bad if it is not stored properly. Freshly squeezed juice can go bad in a day if stored at room temperature. You can tell if it has gone bad if it tastes or smells extremely sour or if it appears dark yellow. While the citric acid in it can inhibit bacteria growth, it will eventually spoil and get mold.

How to Store Lemon Juice?

Freshly squeezed juice of the lemon can last for up to a day in the refrigerator. The best way to store the juice is to freeze it in ice cube trays. You can remove the ice cubes and store it in a freezer bag, and pop an ice cube whenever you need it. This way your juice can last longer.

For store-bought lemon juice, it is advisable to stick to the expiry dates to be safe. Once opened, it usually lasts for 6 to 12 months in a refrigerator or the pantry cupboard, unless mentioned otherwise. However, before using an opened lemon juice bottle for baking, it is best to check it for spoilage.

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About the Author

Raksha Hegde is the content director at Organic Facts and helps oversee a team of brilliant, dynamic content writers. She completed her MS in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University, US. A former business news journalist and editor, Raksha followed her passion for wellness to become a certified Yoga teacher and a wellness festival curator. She believes that learning is a life-long process; she did a certificate e-course on “Introduction to Food and Health” in 2019 from Stanford University, US. 

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