Home HEALTH Lemons: Health benefits, nutrition facts

Lemons: Health benefits, nutrition facts

WHEN life gives you lemons … you’re in luck. Lemons are full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. They are especially good sources of vitamin C and folate.
Lemons are one of the most popular acid citrus fruits, according to the Purdue University Horticultural Department. Their origin is unknown, though some horticulturists theorize they come from Northern India. Lemons grow throughout southern Europe, the Middle East, and into East Asia. They were brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1493. Today, the leading lemon producers are California, Arizona, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, South Africa and Australia.
Lemons are available throughout the year but summer is their peak season. Lemons are an extremely versatile fruit. You can eat them in slices, sip healthy lemon water, make lemonade, garnish food with them, candy their peels, and use their juice and peels in cooking and more.
“Lemons are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, flavonoids and compounds called limonins,” said Alissa Rumsey, a New York Citybased registered dietitian, certified strength and conditioning specialist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Limonins are found in the juice of the lemon.”
According to World’s Healthiest Foods, a quarter cup of lemon juice contains 31 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 3 percent of folate and 2 percent of potassium — all for around 13 calories. A whole raw lemon contains 139 percent of the recommended daily vitamin C intake and has 22 calories.
Recent studies have examined the role of lemons in accessing carotenoids, which are beneficial phytonutrients, from other foods during the digestive process. Carotenoids can have low bioaccessibility and bioavailability, meaning that even if you eat a carotenoidrich food like carrots, you might not absorb many of the carotenoids. A 2018 study in International Journal of Nutrition and Food Engineering found that the carotenoids in boiled or mashed carrots, when combined with lemon juice, olive oil and whey curd, were nearly 30 percent more bioaccessible than without. This suggests that lemons can be an effective exigent food, meaning that, in addition to their own nutritional properties, they can unleash benefits from other foods when combined with them.