We’ve discussed the value of using lemon in your cooking — how it can add brightness to a dish or balance out the fattiness. But the benefits of lemon to our health are deeper than just helping to make dinner taste nice. In fact, lemon is rich in vitamins and nutrients that can impact a number of important systems of your health.

While there’s also evidence that lemon could help you control your weight, that won’t be the focus of this article. Losing weight isn’t usually the most crucial goal, as your overall health is more important. Besides, one minor change to your diet rarely makes a massive impact on your weight (sorry to disappoint you if you’re trying one of those miracle cure diets). What lemon can do, however, is become a component in an overall healthier diet that offers your body a wide range of health benefits and rich nutrients.

Rich Source of Vitamin C

Of all the beneficial components found in lemons, perhaps the most prevalent, and famous, is vitamin C. In fact, one lemon contains your daily recommended amount. You’ve likely seen Vitamin C content advertised on things like orange juice cartons or as a quick cold treatment, but how can it actually benefit your body?

For example, Vitamin C rich fruits, such as lemons, can reduce your risk of heart disease.

There’s a startling amount of evidence that Vitamin C is good for your heart. For example, Vitamin C rich fruits, such as lemons, can reduce your risk of heart disease. Lemons can also help prevent anemia — which can be caused by iron deficiency — as Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron. Additionally, Vitamin C is thought to be linked to a reduced risk of stroke. Since some argue that there’s no correlation, more independent research is needed to verify this claim. Finally, while Vitamin C may not be as effective as advertised, it can help shorten the duration of a sickness and improve your immune system’s response time.

Lots of Fiber in the Pulp

Lemons are also a good source of dietary fiber, with one lemon accounting for around 20 percent of your daily suggested intake. Dietary fiber is associated with many different benefits to your health, which we’ve covered in great detail already. Among the big benefits of having a healthy amount of fiber in your diet are that it may reduce your risk of certain cancers, help you feel fuller after meals, and lower your risk of diabetes. Fiber has also been found to significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and improve the symptoms of a number of digestive disorders. So, it would be accurate to say that dietary fiber can be effective at improving your general heart and digestive health.

In order to get the full benefits of the fiber in lemon, you’d need to consume the lemon itself, not just its juice.

It’s also important to note that the majority of fiber comes from the actual pulp of the lemon, not just the juice, which only accounts for around one percent of the 20 percent of total daily fiber that a lemon provides. This means that, in order to get the full benefits of lemon fiber, you’d need to also eat the lemon fruit — whether that’s in baked goods or candied lemon slices. You can also get some extra fiber from the lemon peel. The easiest way to do this would be by zesting the peel to add a delicious lemon flavor to your favorite recipes.

Gives an Antioxidant Boost

One health benefit that often gets overshadowed is the abundance of antioxidants found in lemons. Of course, Vitamin C is an antioxidant, but there’s a type of antioxidants that lemons have in abundance — flavonoids. The most prominent of these flavonoids is the similarly named flavanones. Besides the usual prevention of oxidative stress that may help guard against cardiovascular disease and cancers, flavanones may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties that have a lot of potential health benefits as they become better understood.

Both flavonoids prominently found in lemons can be used to make medicines due to their benefits.

Two other flavonoids that are present in lemons are diosmin and hesperetin. Both can be used to make medicines due to their benefits. Diosmin may help with inflammation and blood vessel conditions like hemorrhoids. They’ve also been found to lower HDL cholesterol (the bad kind) in lab studies. Hesperetin similarly has been found to aid in lower cholesterol, but the benefits go beyond that. It may also help with wound healing and heart and cognitive health. While you shouldn’t expect these antioxidants to be curing hemorrhoids and eliminating all your bad cholesterol on their own in small quantities, as part of a healthy diet, they may be able to help.

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These are only a few of the ways that lemons can be beneficial to your health. We bet you didn’t know that there’s evidence that lemons can help prevent kidney stones, for example. While you may not want to have lemons with every meal — variety is the spice of life, after all — it’s certainly worth adding lemon to your diet.