Lemons and limes don’t get the respect they deserve in the nutrition hierarchy. These citrus fruits are usually an afterthought, at best a seasoning and at worst a purely ornamental garnish. But we’re here to save lemons and limes from nutritional obscurity. The juice, skin, and flesh of these little fruits contain enough nutritional benefits to become a staple of your diet. Here are the top 10 health benefits of lemons and limes.
Boosts Immune System:
These two citrus fruits are packed with Vitamin C, a powerful immune booster. You need to consume vitamin C in your diet, as your body doesn’t produce it on its own. Vitamin C aids the immune system by attacking the nucleic acid of virus cells and also obliterating bacteria. A 2009 study showed that Vitamin C helps in reducing the duration of the common cold.
Helps Prevent Asthma:
For millennia, people have drank lemon juice to prevent and treat asthma. The high concentrations of vitamin C and anti-oxidants are the primary factor behind the juice’s benefits for asthma. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, helping a person become more resistant to external factors that trigger an asthma attack. It also helps the lungs breathe easier.
Increase Iron Absorption:
The mineral iron is vital because it helps the blood carry oxygen to the cells and produces energy for regular cell function. Both the citric acid and vitamin C found in lemons and limes facilitate your body’s absorption of non-heme iron, which is the iron found in plant-based foods. So next squeeze some lemon juice on your next salad, spinach, or grilled veg!
Helps Fight Cancer:
Lemon peels contain a high dosage of a terpene compound called d-limonene. In lab studies with animals, d-limonene had a considerable positive effect on cancer cells. More recently, in a study conducted by the University of Arizona on a group of 43 women with operable breast cancer, those given 2 grams of limonene daily showed a 22% reduction in the expression of tumor markers. Another study linked citrus peels to a reduced risk of cancerous skin cells.
Lemons, limes, and oranges all contain collagen, a nutrient crucial to achieving younger, wrinkle free skin. Collagen delays the aging process and tightens your skin. The vitamin C present in citrus also naturally brightens skin with regular intake. Just take caution when applying directly to the skin, as it can permanently lighten the skin and can lead to brown spots with direct sun exposure.
Lowers Risk of Stroke and Lowers Blood Pressure:
A study found that an ingredient in citrus fruit called auraptene lowers blood pressure in rodents bred with hypertension. Lemons are an age-old staple of eastern medicine, which prizes them for keeping blood vessels soft and pliable, which reduces blood pressure.
Assists Nervous System:
Lemons and limes are high in potassium, which is crucial to nervous system health. Low levels of potassium in the blood can cause anxiety and depression. The nervous system also needs an adequate amount of potassium to send sustainable signals to the heart.
Citrus fruits are acidic outside of the body. But once they are fully metabolized, the lemon/lime’s minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream. This raises the pH of body tissue above 7, making the body more alkaline. We wrote an article here about the top 10 health benefits of alkalinity.
Is a Powerful Anti-Viral and Anti-Inflammatory:
Lemon and lime juice are proven antibacterial and antiviral. They have powerful antiviral properties on the mucous membranes in the nose and throat when ill, and boost the immune system internally. For centuries, people have used lemon juice to speed up the recovery from canker sores. In addition, the fruits’ anti-inflammatory properties help fight respiratory tract infections, sore throats and inflammation of the tonsils.
Helps Relieve Constipation:
The citric acid in limes and lemons aid with digestion because it interacts with other enzymes and acids which stimulate the secretion of gastric juice and promote digestion. Lemon essential oil is slightly different than lemon juice, and is a much more concentrated version that has long been touted as an alternative medicine, especially used with digestion and constipation. The bile production that lemon induces can also increase intestinal peristalsis.