The Real Health Benefits Of Lemons

Are lemons a superfood? Maybe! Lemons are good for your heart, may help with weight loss, prevent or reduce kidney stones, and may reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. One lemon (65 grams) has 34.4 milligrams of vitamin C, a significant portion of the 75 milligrams adult women need and the 90 milligrams adult men need in a day, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.

Citrus fruits like lemon contain flavanones that may offer some cardiovascular protection, according to a 2012 review published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. The citrus flavonoids can significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (via a 2013 review).

Lemons may also help with weight loss and even prevent weight gain, according to a 2014 study published in Advances in Nutrition. However, this study was on mice, so there needs to further studies on humans to determine if lemons have compounds that help with weight loss and weight gain prevention in the same way. Drinking lemon water is often seen as a weight loss aid, but as Healthline points out, it may be the water that's helping you, not the lemon specifically.

More health benefits of lemons

The citric acid in lemons can help prevent kidney stones (via a 2015 review). Kidney stones are hard deposits made up of minerals and salts that form in the kidneys and must be passed through a small tube called the ureter, to the bladder, and then through the urethra, another small tube. Dr. Brian Eisner, co-director of the Kidney Stone Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells Harvard Health Publishing that drinking the juice of two lemons every day can help reduce kidney stone risk due to lemons' citrate. 

A great way to add lemon juice to your daily diet is to enjoy some lemon water. Squeeze the lemon juice into a glass of water, add some ice if you'd like, and enjoy! Drink two of these, and you've reached Dr. Eisner's recommendation. Drinking enough water will also help prevent those painful kidney stones. 

All of this evidence shows that vitamin C, plant compounds, and dietary fiber in lemons have numerous health benefits. Add them to your diet to help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and potentially aid weight loss.