Lemons and limes don't get the respect they deserve in the nutritional hierarchy. These citrus fruits are often an afterthought, a condiment at best, and a purely ornamental garnish at worst. But we are here to save lemons and limes from nutritional darkness. The juice, skin, and flesh of these little fruits contain enough nutritional benefits to become a staple of your diet.
Here are the best health benefits of lemons and limes:
Increases the immune system:
These two citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, a powerful immune booster. You need to get vitamin C in your diet, as your body does not make it on its own. Vitamin C helps the immune system by attacking the nucleic acid in viral cells and also destroying bacteria. A 2009 study showed that vitamin C helps reduce the duration of the common cold.
Helps prevent asthma:
For millennia, people have been drinking lemon juice to prevent and treat asthma. High concentrations of vitamin C and antioxidants are the main factor behind the benefits of juice for asthma. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system, helping a person to be more resistant to the external factors that trigger an asthma attack. It also helps the lungs breathe easier.
Increases iron absorption:
The mineral iron is vital because it helps the blood carry oxygen to cells and produces energy for regular cell function. Both the citric acid and vitamin C found in lemons and limes make it easier for your body to absorb non-heme iron, which is the iron found in plant-based foods. Then squeeze some lemon juice into your next salad, spinach, or roasted veggies!
Helps fight cancer:
Lemon peels contain a high dose of a terpene compound called d-limonene. In laboratory animal studies, d-limonene had a significant positive effect on cancer cells. More recently, in a study conducted by the University of Arizona in a group of 43 women with operable breast cancer, those who received 2 grams of limonene per day showed a 22% reduction in the expression of tumor markers. Another study linked citrus peels to a lower risk of skin cancer cells.
Lemons, limes, and oranges contain collagen, a crucial nutrient for younger, wrinkle-free skin. Collagen slows down the aging process and tightens the skin. The vitamin C present in citrus fruits also naturally brightens the skin with a regular intake. Just be careful when applying directly to the skin as it can permanently lighten the skin and can lead to brown spots with direct sun exposure.
Reduces the risk of stroke and lowers blood pressure:
One study found that an ingredient in citrus fruits called aurapten lowers blood pressure in rodents raised with hypertension. Lemons are an ancient staple of oriental medicine, which rewards them for keeping blood vessels soft and flexible, which lowers blood pressure.
Assists the nervous system:
Lemons and limes are rich in potassium, which is crucial for the health of the nervous system. 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 the body. But once they are fully metabolized, the lemon / lime minerals dissociate in the bloodstream. This raises the pH of the body tissue above 7, making the body more alkaline. We wrote an article here on the top 10 health benefits of alkalinity.
It 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 of the nose and throat when sick, and stimulate the immune system internally. For centuries, people have used lemon juice to speed recovery from canker sores. In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties of fruits help fight respiratory tract infections, sore throats, and inflammation of the tonsils.
Helps relieve constipation:
The citric acid in limes and lemons helps with digestion because it interacts with other enzymes and acids that stimulate gastric juice secretion and promote digestion. Lemon essential oil is slightly different from lemon juice, and it is a much more concentrated version that has long been touted as an alternative medicine, especially used with digestion and constipation. Lemon-inducing bile production can also increase intestinal peristalsis.