Lemons 101: nutritional information and health benefits

Scientifically known as Citrus limonLemons are among the most popular citrus fruits in the world.

They grow in lemon trees, and are a hybrid of the original citron and lime.

There are many ways to enjoy lemons, but they have a very acid taste and are generally not eaten as whole fruit.

Instead, they are eaten in small slices, as a garnish for meals, and their juice is often used to provide a bitter taste. They are also a key ingredient in lemonade.

Lemons are a great source of vitamin C and fiber, and contain many plant compounds, minerals and essential oils.

Eating lemons can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and kidney stones.

nutritional information

Lemons contain very little fat and protein. They consist mainly of carbohydrates (10%) and water (88-89%).

A lemon of medium size only contains around 20 calories.

The following table contains information on all the nutrients in the lemons (1).

Nutritional information: Lemons, raw, unshelled - 100 grams

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The carbohydrates in lemons are mainly composed of fibers and simple sugars such as glucose, fructose and sucrose (2).


The main fiber in lemons is pectin.

Soluble fibers such as pectin can lower blood sugar levels by decreasing the digestion of sugar and starch (3).

Dietary fibers are an important part of a healthy diet and are associated with numerous health benefits (3, 4).

Bottom line: Lemons contain approximately 10% carbohydrates, mainly soluble fibers and simple sugars.

Vitamins and minerals

Lemons contain several vitamins and minerals.

  • Vitamin C: An essential and antioxidant vitamin. It is important for immune function and skin health (5, 6).

  • Potassium: A diet high in potassium can lower blood pressure levels and have positive effects on cardiovascular health (7).

  • Vitamin B6: A group of related vitamins that participate in the conversion of food into energy.

Bottom line: Lemons are very rich in vitamin C, and they are also a decent source of potassium and vitamin B6.

Other plant compounds

Plant compounds are natural bioactive substances found in plants, some of which have powerful health benefits.

Plant compounds in lemons and other citrus fruits may have beneficial effects on cancer, cardiovascular diseases and inflammation (8, 9, 10).

These are the main plant compounds found in lemons:

  • Citric acid: The most abundant organic acid in lemons, and can help prevent the formation of kidney stones.

  • Hesperidin: An antioxidant that can strengthen our blood vessels and prevent atherosclerosis (11, 12).

  • Diosmina: An antioxidant that is used in some medications that affect the circulatory system. It improves vascular muscle tone and reduces chronic inflammation in blood vessels (13).

  • Eriocitrin: An antioxidant found in the lemon peel and in the juice (13, 14).

  • D-Limonene: It is found mainly in the lemon peel. It is the main component of lemon essential oils, and is responsible for the distinctive smell of lemons. In isolation, it can help relieve heartburn and stomach reflux (15).

Many of the vegetable compounds in lemons are not found in large quantities in lemon juice, so it is recommended to eat all the fruit to obtain the maximum benefit (16, 17).

Bottom line: Lemons contain plant compounds that provide various health benefits. These include citric acid, hesperidin, diosmin, eriocitrin and D-limonene.

Benefits for the health of lemons

Citrus fruits, including lemons, have been associated with numerous health benefits.

This is attributed to the content of vitamins and fiber, as well as its powerful plant compounds (18).

Cardiovascular health

Cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, is the most common cause of death in the world.

The intake of fruits with high vitamin C content is related to a reduction in cardiovascular disease (19, 20).

Low levels of vitamin C in the blood are also related to an increased risk of stroke (21), especially among those who are overweight or have high blood pressure (22).

It has been shown that the intake of fiber isolated from citrus fruits lowers blood cholesterol levels, and the essential oils in lemons can protect the LDL cholesterol particles from oxidizing (23, 24).

Recent studies in rats show that the plant compounds hesperidin and diosmin may have beneficial effects on some key risk factors for heart disease (25, 26, 27).

Kidney stone prevention

Citric acid in lemons can increase the volume of urine, which can help prevent the formation of kidney stones (28, 29).

Some studies have shown that lemon juice and lemonade may be effective in preventing kidney stones (30, 31), but other studies have found no effect (32).

Prevention of anemia

Anemia is often caused by iron deficiency and is more common in premenopausal women.

Lemons contain small amounts of iron, but they are a great source of vitamin C and citric acid, which can increase the absorption of iron from other foods (33, 34).

Because lemons can improve the absorption of iron from food, they can help prevent anemia.


Lemons can help reduce the risk of many types of cancer, including breast cancer. This is mainly due to plant compounds such as hesperidin and d-limonene (35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42).

Bottom line: Lemons can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, help protect against anemia and prevent the formation of kidney stones.

Lemon water

Many people drink lemon water, either hot or cold, sometimes a day.

The recipe is usually freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon in a cup of water.

Drinking water with freshly squeezed lemon may have some health benefits.

Lemon water is a rich source of vitamin C and plant compounds, which can improve immune function (5), protect against various diseases (20, 35) and increase iron absorption (34).

Citric acid in lemons decreases the risk of kidney stones by diluting urine and increasing urine output (28).

Since part of the pulp enters the mixture, the pectins in the pulp can promote satiety and feed the friendly bacteria in the intestine, promoting good health and a lower risk of disease (3).

To make matters worse, the lemon aroma derived from essential oils can reduce stress and improve mood (43).

Lemonade should have similar health benefits, except for the added sugar that is often added. The added sugar can be very harmful when consumed in excess.

Bottom line: Drinking lemon water can reduce stress, improve immune function, help prevent anemia, reduce the risk of kidney stones and help protect against various diseases.


Lemons are an effective cleaning product due to their ability to dissolve grease (15), as well as their refreshing aroma.

Adverse effects

Lemons are generally well tolerated, but citrus fruits can cause allergic reactions in a minority of people (44).

They can also cause contact allergy and skin irritation in people with dermatitis (45).

Lemons are quite acidic, so eating them frequently can be detrimental to dental health if the tooth enamel is damaged (46).

Bottom line: Lemons are generally well tolerated, but can cause allergies or skin irritation in some people. Large amounts can be detrimental to dental health.


Lemons are a refreshing fruit that is generally not eaten whole, but eaten in slices, or added to foods and beverages for its distinctive flavor.

They are an excellent source of vitamin C, soluble fibers and plant compounds, all of which can provide health benefits.

At the end of the day, lemons are a healthy food and an excellent way to add flavor and aroma to meals.

Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/lemons


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