There are many foods we eat for pure enjoyment. While some delicious foods have negative effects on our health, there are other foods that not only taste good but are good for us too. It’s helpful to know the nutritional profile of foods so we can guide ourselves along our optimal nutritional path by prioritizing which foods we should eat for our bodies.
When you first think of the nutritional value of lemon, for instance, the benefits might not be apparent. If we focus on foods that are both tasty and healthy, we have a better chance of creating a sustainable and enjoyable health regime. It’s much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you have a positive mindset. Citrus fruits are an excellent addition to a well-balanced diet, as they are tasty, versatile, and can provide true health benefits.
Our success rate of sticking to a healthy diet increases when we find healthy foods that we like to eat. This can even mean an ingredient that you might not be the biggest fan of when you eat it alone—but when prepared the right way, moves to the top of your grocery shopping list. The aim is to learn how to enjoy healthy eating so that it feels effortless. If you make it seem like a chore, you simply won’t want to do it.That’s why we’ve prepared a compact guide on a particularly versatile citrus fruit.
That’s right; this article will tell you all about the nutritional value of lemons so you’ll know how to incorporate them into a lifestyle that feels good for both your mind and body.
What We Know About the Nutritional Value of Lemons
Consuming lemons can be good for your skin. It contributes to your healthy collagen levels—collagen being a crucial protein for skin, cartilage, bone, and more. It’s important to note that while some fads say to use lemons in skincare products, dermatologists often recommend against using lemon directly on skin due to potential irritations.
World's Healthiest Foods tells us that just a quarter cup of lemon juice has 31 percent of your daily recommended intake (DRI) of vitamin C, along with three percent of your folate DRI and two percent of your potassium DRI. And you will have consumed a mere 13 calories!
Not to mention the flavonoids they contain, which can help reduce inflammation. Research shows consuming fruits rich in vitamin C can lower your risk of stroke and heart disease.
Lemon may also aid in weight control. The soluble pectin fiber they have expands in the stomach so you feel full for longer. Studies also suggest that plant compounds found in the extract of lemon might help prevent or reduce weight gain, as mice given polyphenols from the peels gained less body fat than others in the experiment group.1Additionally, because lemons have citric acid—an ingredient that helps increase urine volume as well as urine pH—you create a less favorable environment for kidney stones to form.
Carotenoids are beneficial phytonutrients. Recent studies have examined the role of lemons in accessing carotenoids from other foods during digestion. Carotenoids can have low bioaccessibility and bioavailability. That means that even if you eat a carotenoid-rich food like carrots, you might not absorb many of the carotenoids, and may as well just be eating them because you like their flavor.
However, a 2018 study in the International Journal of Nutrition and Food Engineering found that when combined with lemon juice, whey curd, and olive oil, carotenoids found in boiled or mashed carrots were approximately 30 percent more bioaccessible than without it.2 From this, we can see that lemons are an effective exigent food. Meaning, in addition to their own nutritional properties, they can also unleash benefits from other foods with which they are combined.
This is a highly valuable bonus when considering the overall nutritional value of lemons. Knowing how this powerful little fruit can amp up the nutritional value in other foods you eat is an incentive to add lemon to your diet more if you’re not already doing so.
How You Can Incorporate Lemons Into Your Diet
Now that you know the nutritional value of lemons, here are some ideas on how you can maximize their potential in your daily life:
- Mix lemon juice into salad dressing
- Use it as a marinade on fish or poultry
- Add it to rice while cooking to brighten it and keep it from sticking
- Use lemons to flavor sides—some sides will bake 1–2 sliced lemons right in the pan
- Drop it into your beverages
- Toss a peeled, deseeded lemon into your morning smoothie
- Use it to create a refreshing pasta dish
- Add an extra zing to desserts using the zest
- Try preserved lemons for a North African, Middle Eastern, or Indian cuisine
Don’t rely on water infusions alone if you want to reap maximum rewards of what the nutritional value of lemons can offer. Keep in mind, the greatest benefits that have been studied come from the fiber of the pulp and peel.
Do More With This Powerful Citrus Fruit
Due to the amazing nutritional value of lemons, you should try getting creative and turning lemon consumption into a positive habit—put it on your list of things you will adopt for the new year! To take what you learned to the next level, request a free sample report to see how different foods and ingredients interact with your unique genes to get the most benefits for your body from the food you consume.
The information you just read is a great place to start, but everyone’s body is different, so you always want to couple information you read online with personalized nutrition recommendations. For best results, check out that downloadable resource to get a more customized—and therefore, effective—experience.
1. Fukuchi Y, Hiramitsu M, Okada M, et al. Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in β-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition. 2008;43(3):201-209. doi:10.3164/jcbn.2008066.
2. Hizlar B, Karakaya S. Carotenoid Bioaccessibility: Effects of Food Matrix and Excipient Foods. International Journal of Nutrition and Food Engineering. 2018;12(1). https://publications.waset.org/abstracts/81684/pdf. Accessed December 9, 2019.