Lemons are delicious fruits used to improve the flavor of popular dishes. They are widely used in fruit salads, sauces, smoothies or lemon water, lemon tea and desserts.
Moreover, lemons are a rich source of nutrients. Controlled intake of these nutrients promotes several health benefits.
However, excess intake may cause some adverse effects. This article covers the lemon benefits and side effects.
Lemons are a great source of dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. Moreover it contains iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, folate, vitamin B3, B6, A, etc.
All of these nutrients of lemon promote numerous health benefits. Nutrient-rich lemons may provide the following health benefits.
Reduction of cancer risk
Lemons contain essential vitamins like vitamin C, A, and niacin. All of these vitamins have anti-cancer properties.
Niacin is useful to prevent the risk of skin cancers occurring from UV rays (1).
On the other hand, the high vitamin C component has benefits over breast cancer. This benefit is more visible when combined with anti-cancer medications (2).
Furthermore, a higher dietary intake of vitamin A may lower the development of ovarian cancer (3).
Lowers blood pressure
Lemons are a good source of calcium which may lower high blood pressure. According to studies intake of calcium is able to (4)
- Reduce hypertension or high blood pressure during pregnancy
- Lower systolic blood pressure for young adults of less than 35 years
- Reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive adults
Furthermore, lemons are low in carbs. Studies have shown that a carb-restricted diet may decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure within 3 and 6 weeks (5).
Also, the high-potassium component of lemons may be able to lower blood pressure. As high potassium diet is able to lower blood pressure in individuals with both average population blood pressure and raised blood pressure.
The essential nutrients of lemons promote weight loss. Two major contributors to lemon’s weight loss benefits are high fiber and low carbs of lemons.
Adequate Dietary fiber intake promotes weight loss in adults with overweight or obesity consuming a calorie-restricted diet. Moreover, the macronutrient and caloric intake do not affect this weight loss drive (6).
Also, the low carb elements of lemons may be able to reduce body weight. Reducing carbs intake with a low carb diet is efficient to reduce body weight and, in patients with type 2 diabetes (7).
The high nutrient profile of lemons makes it an efficient anti-diabetic fruit. Lemons contain a high density of dietary fiber. A high intake of dietary fiber is able to (8)
- Prevent type 2 diabetes
- Reduce fasting blood glucose concentration and HbA1c percentage for type 2 diabetics
Moreover, lemons have a low glycemic index or GI. According to studies, low GI foods are useful for glycemic control in patients with prediabetes and diabetes (9).
Also, the low carb component of lemons may protect from type 2 diabetes. Because a carb-restricted diet improves glycemic control and reduces weight for type 2 diabetics (10).
Lemons are one of the best heart friendly fruits. Potassium-rich lemons may have benefits for the cardiovascular system.
According to studies, a high intake of potassium may reduce the cardiovascular disease mortality rate. Moreover, high potassium consumption also reduces the risk of lethal ventricular arrhythmias and heart failure in patients with ischaemic heart disease (11).
Moreover, lemons are good source of flavonoids. Flavonoids, are a group of natural substances which promotes low cardiovascular mortality rate and prevents coronary heart disease (12).
Although lemons are beneficial for health, excessive consumption of lemons may cause some adverse effects also. These adverse health disorders occur due to nutrient imbalance.
Vitamin C side-effects of lemon
Consumption of vitamin C rich foods like lemons have several health benefits. However, surplus consumption can overload vitamin C which causes side effects like (13, 14)
- Causing heartburn during consumption on an empty stomach
- Increasing headache especially in migraine patients
- Promoting nausea, vomiting, and dizziness
- Increasing the risk of kidney stones
- Raising blood sugar levels
Bloating & gas
Lemons are rich in dietary fiber. Excess consumption of dietary fiber can increase the risk of gas formation and bloat in healthy adults (15). However, by restricting fiber intake you can get rid of bloating.
Improper kidney function
Lemons contain a moderate amount of calcium and phosphorus. Both of these micronutrients can negatively affect kidney function in case of too much intake of these minerals.
Too much phosphorus may calcify the kidneys. It can affect kidney function badly and may increase the risk of fatal heart attacks and mortality in people with chronic kidney disease (16).
Furthermore, excess intake of calcium promotes hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia is a condition in which the calcium level in the blood breaks the normal level which increases the risk of kidney stones (17).