Adding a slice of lemon to water enhances its flavor, while lemon zest elevates almost any recipe. But there’s much more to lemons than their bright and refreshing flavor. They’re actually incredibly healthy and a great addition to your daily routine.
Here are seven reasons why you’ll want to eat lemons every day.
Lemons are well-known for their ability to improve digestion. A glass of lemon water first thing promotes the slow absorption of food, which helps keep insulin levels steady, and boosts nutrient absorption. But lemons aid digestion in another way too.
Lemons are high in a fiber called pectin. It’s a prebiotic, meaning it can feed the healthy bacteria in your gut (1). That means your healthy bacteria will be more abundant, which is essential for a healthy digestive system.
Unfortunately, you can’t simply drink a glass of lemon water to get this effect. Pectin is found in the pulp and peel (rind) of lemons. So, add some lemon zest as you cook to boost digestion.
Lemons can help maintain supple and youthful skin thanks to vitamin C. One lemon has 45 mg of vitamin C or about 75% of your daily needs.
Vitamin C promotes the production of collagen, a structural protein that your body uses to keep your skin firm and wrinkle-free.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, so it can protect your skin from aging. Between the two, it’s no surprise that researchers found a diet containing natural vitamin C can lead to younger looking skin and fewer wrinkles (2).
If you consume lemons on a regular basis, there’s also evidence that it can help you shed some unwanted weight.
In animal studies, scientists have found that the polyphenols in lemons could prevent weight gain from poor eating choices (3).
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can overeat every day without gaining weight. It simply suggests that adding lemons may help you reach your weight goals.
Diets that contain a variety of citrus fruits, like lemons, may reduce your risk of stroke, thanks to the antioxidant flavonoids in the fruit.
Researchers discovered that women who routinely ate citrus fruit had a 19% lower risk of stroke compared to people who consumed very few citrus fruit (4).
According to the study’s lead author and professor of nutrition Aedin Cassidy, Ph.D., “Flavonoids are thought to provide some protection through several mechanisms, including improved blood vessel function and an anti-inflammatory effect.”
It’s just another example of how fruits and veggies keep you healthy.
If you’ve ever experienced kidney stones, you know how painful it can be. Now there’s evidence that lemons can help prevent the occurrence of kidney stones due to their citric acid content.
Research shows citric acid helps to increase urine volume and urinary citrate, thus reducing kidney stones (5). Of all the citrus fruits, lemons have the most citric acid.
Citrus fruit, like lemons, contain an array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All of which can help keep you healthy and nourished.
Now research on mice shows that citrus fruit may help protect against a wide range of obesity-related health issues including heart and liver disease (8).
The scientists believe the flavanones in citrus fruits can help prevent oxidative damage, protect the liver, and lower blood glucose levels.
Like any whole food with vitamin C, lemons can help your immune system to function at its best.
Phagocytes and t-cells, for example, are immune cells that serve important roles in your immune system. These cells both need vitamin C to carry out their roles in fighting off infectious microbes.
There’s also evidence that consistently getting vitamin C in your diet can shorten the duration of illnesses (9). But this only works if you get enough vitamin C on a daily basis before you get sick.
If you want to take advantage of these health benefits, there are plenty of options for you to include lemons in your diet. You can start the day with lemon water or use the juice and zest to bring bright flavor to sauces, dressings, and even roasted vegetables.
You can also take advantage of the health benefits of lemons by adding them to a juice or smoothie. Try this delicious Super Green Lemonade recipe for a zesty and healthy juice.