Lemons – its inviting bright yellow, waxy surface, alluring aroma and promises of an exciting and exhilarating taste sensations. These little citrus fruits have been the centre of numerous discussions around coffee tables, health groups and beauty therapists’ rooms for many years. But are lemons and lemon juice really a healthy for you or is it all just myths? Let us take a closer look at what makes up a lemon to help us decipher these little legends….
The body very easily absorbs the vitamin C that is found in lemons and therefore it is great as a helper to prevent illness and boost our immune systems. Vitamin C is also a highly effective antioxidant, which helps to deactivate free radicals preventing protein, lipid and DNA damage.
The main mineral that is available in lemons is potassium. It helps to ensure that our muscles contract and function correctly and it helps the nerve pulses to the muscles transmit properly. Potassium is also an extremely important element in our body’s water-acid balance.
The type of fibre in lemons is associated with assisting in the reduction of cholesterol in the blood. Lemons contain about 2.8g/100g fibre. (The daily dietary recommendation for fibre in a healthy diet is 25 – 30g/day.)
Other vitamins and minerals
Lemons also contain small amounts of Vitamin A – for cell growth and eye development; Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 – for energy production and a healthy nervous system; Calcium and phosphorous– for healthy bones and teeth; Iron – for healthy, happy red blood cells and the transport of oxygen; and Zinc – which helps with wound healing and cell growth.
Due to its large abundance of vitamins and minerals in its small striking contours, lemons have been linked to the fight against numerous disease conditions. Its strong anti-oxidant power helps to ward off cancer. Its content of both soluble and insoluble fibre assists with intestinal health and reduction of cholesterol and it has also been found to help with the metabolism of fat in the body thus assisting with the decrease of obesity risk.
With all of this in mind I would recommend a healthy balanced diet, rich in grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits, especially citrus fruits and juices. So go ahead and grab that glass of water with a splash of delicious lemon.
- Chantal Walsh RD (SA)