lemon | Definition, Nutrition, Uses, & Facts | Britannica

Lemons are a popular fruit that people use in small quantities to add flavor to food. However, they rarely consume them alone due to their intense, sour taste. For detailed information contact Pritish Kumar Halder.

Gives flavor to baked goods, sauces, salad dressings, marinades, drinks, and desserts, and they are also a good source of vitamin C.

One 58-gram (g) lemon can provide over 30 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is essential for health, and a deficiency can lead to health problems. The early explorers knew this and took lemons on their long voyages to help prevent or treat scurvy, a life-threatening condition that was common among sailors.

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This article looks at the nutritional content of lemons, their possible health benefits, ways to use them in food, and any potential health risks.

Lemons are high in vitamin C, fiber, and various beneficial plant compounds.

These nutrients are responsible for several health benefits.

Lemons may support heart health, weight control, and digestive health.

Here are 6 evidence-based health benefits of lemons.

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  1. Support Heart Health

Lemons are a good source of vitamin C.

One lemon provides about 31 mg of vitamin C, which is 51% of the reference daily intake (RDI).

Research shows that eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke .

However, it’s not only vitamin C that is thought to be good for your heart. The fiber and plant compounds in lemons could also significantly lower some risk factors for heart disease .

For instance, one study revealed that eating 24 grams of citrus fiber extract daily for a month reduced total blood cholesterol levels (6).

Plant compounds found in lemons — namely hesperidin and diosmin — have also been found to lower cholesterol.


Lemons are high in heart-healthy vitamin C

and several beneficial plant compounds that may lower cholesterol.

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  1. Help Control Weight

Lemons are often promoted as a weight loss food, and there are a few theories as to why this is.

One common theory is that the soluble pectin fiber in them expands in your stomach, helping you feel full for longer.

That said, not many people eat lemons whole. And because lemon juice contains no pectin, lemon juice drinks will not promote fullness in the same way.

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Another theory suggests that drinking hot water with lemon will help you lose weight.

However, drinking water is known to temporarily increase the number of calories you burn, so it may be the water itself that is helping with weight loss — not the lemon (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).

Other theories suggest that the plant compounds in lemons may aid weight loss.

Research shows that plant compounds in lemon extracts may help prevent or reduce weight gain in several ways .

In one study, mice on a fattening diet were given lemon polyphenols extracted from the peel. They gained less weight and body fat than other mice .

However, no studies confirm the weight loss effects of lemon compounds in humans.

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  1. Prevent Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are small lumps that form when waste products crystallize and build up in your kidneys.

They are quite common, and people who get them often get them repeatedly.

Citric acid may help prevent kidney stones by increasing urine volume and increasing urine pH, creating a less favorable environment for kidney stone formation. For more information please visit Pritish Kumar Halder ‘s page.

Just a 1/2-cup (4 ounces or 125 ml) of lemon juice per day may provide enough citric acid to help prevent stone formation in people who have already had them .

Some studies also found that lemonade effectively prevented kidney stones, but the results have been mixed. Other studies have shown no effect .

Therefore, more well-conducted studies need to examine whether lemon juice affects kidney stone formation .

Lemon juice may help prevent kidney stones. However, more quality research is needed.

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  1. Protect Against Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is quite common. It occurs when you don’t get enough iron from the foods you eat.

Lemons contain some iron, but they primarily prevent anemia by improving your absorption of iron from plant foods.

Your gut absorbs iron from meat, chicken, and fish (known as heme iron) very easily, while iron from plant sources (non-heme iron) does not as easily. However, this absorption can be improved by consuming vitamin C and citric acid.

Because lemons contain both vitamin C and citric acid, they may protect against anemia by ensuring that you absorb as much iron as possible from your diet.

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  1. Reduce Cancer Risk

A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help prevent some cancers .

Some observational studies have found that people who eat the most citrus fruit have a lower risk of cancer, while other studies have found no effects .

In test-tube studies, many compounds from lemons have killed cancer cells. However, they may not have the same effect on the human body .

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Some researchers think that plant compounds found in lemons — such as limonene and naringenin — could have anticancer effects, but this hypothesis needs further investigation .

Animal studies indicate that D-limonene, a compound found in lemon oil, does have anticancer properties .

Another study used pulp from mandarins that contained the plant compounds beta-cryptoxanthin and hesperidin, which are also found in lemons.

The study discovered that these compounds prevented malignant tumors from developing in the tongues, lungs, and colons of rodents .

However, it should be noted that the research team used a very high dose of the chemicals — far more than you would get by eating lemons or oranges.

While some plant compounds from lemons and other citrus fruits may have anticancer potential, no quality evidence suggests that lemons can fight cancer in humans.

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  1. Improve Digestive Health

Lemons are made up of about 10% carbs, mostly in the form of soluble fiber and simple sugars.

The main fiber in lemons is pectin, a form of soluble fiber linked to multiple health benefits.

Soluble fiber can improve gut health and slow the digestion of sugars and starches. These effects may result in reduced blood sugar levels .

However, to get the benefits of fiber from lemons, you need to eat the pulp.

People who drink lemon juice, without the fiber found in the pulp, will miss out on the benefits of the fiber.

Lemon Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits


One lemon weighing 58 grams (g) contains trusted the Source:

  • energy: 16.8 calories (kcal)
  • carbohydrates: 5.41 g, of which 1.45 g are sugars
  • calcium 15.1 milligrams (mg)
  • iron: 0.35 mg
  • magnesium: 4.6 mg
  • phosphorus: 9.3 mg
  • potassium: 80 mg
  • selenium: 0.2 micrograms (mcg)
  • vitamin C: 30.7 mg
  • folate: 6.4 mcg
  • choline: 3.0 mg
  • vitamin A: 0.6 mcg
  • lutein + zeaxanthin: 6.4 mcg

Current dietary guidelines recommends an intake of 75 mg of vitamin C per day for women aged 19 years and older and 90 mg per day for men.

Smokers need 35 mg per day more than nonsmokers.

Lemons also contain small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, copper, and manganese.

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Unlike many fruits, lemons do not ripen or improve in quality after picking. People should harvest lemons when they are ripe and store them at room temperature away from direct sunlight.

  • Lemons pair well with both savory and sweet dishes.
  • The following healthful recipes use lemons:
  • Whole grain angel hair pasta with artichokes and lemon
  • Sticky lemon chicken
  • Lemon raspberry almond muffins
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto fish, shrimp, scallops, and chicken.

Dress salads with fresh lemon juice and a small amount of olive oil with herbs instead of using a commercial product. Premade dressings often contain additional salt, sugar, and other additives, and they can be high in fat and calories.

Lemon water

  • Some people say that lemon water has a wide range of benefits, from weight loss to relieving depression.
  • In high enough quantities, the various nutrients in lemon may produce these health benefits.
  • However, consuming lemon water instead of juice or soda might be beneficial because it reduces a person’s intake of sugar.
  • Drinking plenty of lemon water can also help prevent dehydration.


Lemons have a high acid content, so their juice may affect people with:

  • Mouth ulcers: They can cause a stinging sensation.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): It can worsen symptoms, such as heartburn and regurgitation.
  • Learn more here about detox drinks and what they can and cannot do.


The nutrients in lemons offer several health benefits. However, it is difficult to obtain all the necessary nutrients from lemon due to its sour taste and high acid content.

However, consuming lemon juice as part of a varied diet that includes plenty of other fresh fruits and vegetables can make a person’s diet more nutritious and healthful.