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Are Lemons Healthier Than Other Fruits?

Last updated May 28, 2015

Compared to other fruits and vegetables, lemons contain a higher amount of vitamins B and C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Lemons are a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids, which boost the immune system, maintain good skin health, and prevent cancer. Flavonoids are secondary metabolites of plants and are aromatic in nature.


Compared to other fruits and vegetables, lemons contain a higher amount of vitamins B and C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Lemons are a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids, which boost the immune system, maintain good skin health, and prevent cancer. Flavonoids are secondary metabolites of plants and are aromatic in nature. They offer several physiological benefits, and prevention of many diseases is one of them.  Lemon fruit and peels have more antioxidants and vitamin C compared to oranges and grapes.

Lemons contain:

  • Polyphenolic flavonoids
    • Help reduce LDL cholesterol.
  • Vitamin C
    • Helps clear out damaged blood vessels, which can cause cardiac diseases, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
    • Can help treat coughs, the flu, sore throats, and other similar infections.
  • Flavonoids, Limonene, and Salvestrol 40
    • Prevent swelling, aging, heart issues, cancers (e.g. colon, breast, skin), and some autoimmune disorders.
  • Antioxidants
    • Neutralizes free radicals, which prevents swelling, aging, heart issues, cancers, and some autoimmune disorders.
    • Useful in treating spots, acne, wrinkles, and pigmentations.

A study conducted by Luzia and co-researchers in 2010 estimated the antioxidants present in lemon seed extracts by testing oxidative stability of soybean oil with different concentrations of the extract. The results showed that the antioxidant properties of lemon seed extracts could be applied to the food manufacturing industry since the extract was seen to extend food shelf life. Thus, it appears that lemons, including their peels and seeds, are packed with phytochemicals beneficial for our health and wellbeing.

However, lemons are exposed to a great amount of pesticides and herbicides and may be dressed with a wax coating to preserve them. Some of these treatments oppose the actions of antioxidants and flavonoids, since they could potentially increase free radical formation. The formation of free radicals is considered one of the causes of different types of cancer. Therefore, if one needs to use the peel of lemons in any preparation, organic and local lemons that are properly washed could be considered more hygienic than those that undergo potentially harmful treatments.

References:

Brady, K. 11 Benefits of Lemon Water You Didn’t Know About. Retrieved from http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/11-benefits-lemon-water-you-didnt-know-about.html

Eating Lemon Peel. Retrieved from http://www.newhealthguide.org/Eating-Lemon-Peel.html

Gattuso, G., Barreca, D., Gargiulli, C., Leuzzi, U., & Caristi, C. (2007). Flavanoid Composition of Citrus Juices. Molecules, 12, pp. 1641-1673. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.org/molecules/papers/12081641.pdf

Luzia, D.M.M. & Jorge, N. (2010). Antioxidant potential of lemon seed extracts (Citrus limon). Cienc. Technol. Ailment, 30(2), pp. 489-493. Retrieved from http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0101-20612010000200029&script=sci_abstract

Lobo, V., Patil, A., Phatak, A., & Chandra, N. (2010). Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacognosy Review, 4(8), pp. 118-126. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 28, 2015
Last updated: May 28, 2015