Lemons are rarely consumed as a stand-alone fruit due to their intense, sour flavor, but they are extremely popular when used in smaller quantities and in combination with herbs and spices. Lemons can lend a wonderful and dynamic flavor to many sauces, salad dressings, marinades, drinks, and desserts.
Lemons first achieved their healthy claim to fame aboard the ships of early explorers. They were consumed to help treat scurvy, a then-common disease among the sailors. Lemons and later limes (thus, the term Limey for British sailors) were extremely effective at treating the disease; we now know that scurvy is caused by vitamin C deficiency from months at sea without any fresh produce.
Lemons have an intense sour flavor, but can add an extra dimension when used in combination with other flavors. Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.
Here are some key points and possible health benefits of lemons:
- Lemons are high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant
- Vitamin C’s ability to prevent or minimize cancer is unconfirmed
- The manufacture of collagen in the human body is reliant on vitamin C
- Some individuals with asthma may find vitamin C helps reduce symptoms
Lowering stroke risk
According to the American Heart Association, eating higher amounts of citrus fruits may lower ischemic stroke risk for women.
Those who ate the highest amounts of citrus had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least. The study used data from 69,622 women over 14 years. Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke; it is caused by a blood clot blocking the flow of blood to the brain.
Studies have shown higher fruit, vegetable, and specifically vitamin C intake is associated with reduced stroke risk. Flavonoids, which are present in certain fruits and vegetables, are thought to provide some of that protection through several mechanisms, including improved blood vessel function and an anti-inflammatory effect.
As an excellent source of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C, lemons and lemon juice can help fight the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. However, research has provided mixed results as to the exact benefits of antioxidants in the prevention of cancer.
Maintaining a healthy complexion
The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form or applied topically, can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the support system of the skin.
The risk of developing asthma is lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients, one of these being vitamin C. Although, further study is necessary.
Increasing iron absorption
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in developed countries and a leading cause of anemia. Pairing foods that are high in vitamin C with foods that are iron-rich maximizes the body’s ability to absorb iron. For example, squeeze lemon juice atop a salad with spinach and chickpeas (both a good source of iron).
Boosting the immune system
Foods that are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants can help the immune system battle germs that cause cold and flu. Maintaining a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables is especially important during the winter months when physical activity levels tend to drop.
Consumption of fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like lemons decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and lower weight.
But try telling all of this to these kids who were filmed taking their first lick of a sour yellow wedge by Canadian photographers David Wile and April Maciborka. It gives a whole new meaning to the old retort: “Oh, go suck on a lemon!
The writer of this story is not a medical professional, and the information that is in this story has been collected from reliable sources — every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.