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15 Health Benefits Of Lemon Juice, Backed By Science

( Update: 16/08/2019 )

The powerful health benefits of lemon juice include its ability to heal respiratory infections, treat acne, lower cholesterol, manage blood pressure levels, and detoxify the body. This humble pantry staple is a multipurpose solution for something as simple as cleaning stains to important properties like its potential ability to prevent cancer.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice refers to the freshly squeezed, tart, and slightly floral juice of lemon fruit. This vitamin C-rich juice is not just beneficial for our body, but it is also used to clean and freshen your house. It can be counted on to remove stains from your clothes and your teeth! Store-bought lemon juice, popularly sold in bottles, is lemon concentrate diluted with water, and usually contains preservatives. [1]

Lemon juice has a high content of naturally occurring citric acid. [2] It has a pH value of just over 2, making it extremely acidic. [3]However, lemon juice is good for you as the juice has an alkalizing effect once it is consumed. The most popular way to have it is to make lemonade by diluting it with water and adding saltsugar, or honey. Lemonade is a refreshing and healthy way to stay hydrated on a hot, summer day.

Glass bowl of lemon juice with halved lemons on a wooden board

Lemon Juice Nutrition

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 1/4 cup of lemon juice contains 13 calories, with just over 4 grams of carbohydrates and 23.6 mg of vitamin C. It is high in potassiumcalcium, and folate. [4] The juice also contains bioactive compounds such as citric acid, citrus limonoids, polyphenols, and ascorbic acid. [5]

Lemon Juice Benefits & Uses

Lemon juice is good for you because it can help boost your immunity, improve skin and hair health, and aid digestion. It is an effective fat burner and has anticancer potential. Let us look at the health benefits and uses in detail.

 

Treats Respiratory Infections

Lemon juice diluted in warm water, sweetened with honey, is an age-old remedy for sore throat. A 2017 study published in the Advances of Biotechnology and Microbiology journal found that lemon juice with honey can be used as alternative medicine in the treatment of respiratory tract infections. [6] It inhibits the activity of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes, two kinds of bacteria that cause severe infections. Also, vitamin C in the freshly squeezed juice strengthens the immunity system. [7]

Skin Lightener

Pure lemon juice may be too harsh on the skin due to its acidic nature, but a mixture of honey and lime juice is a hydrating and safe face mask with a natural bleaching effect on the skin. The blend is effective against Candida albicans and has a strong antibacterial and antifungal profile. [8] You can use this face mask for an instant glow! For a simple homemade body scrub, mix lemon juice with sea salt and sugar.

Treats Acne

Lemon juice is a natural astringent with antimicrobial properties. Research published in the International Journal of Science Inventions Today reveals that lemon juice contains L-ascorbic acid which helps fight acne. [9] It is highly effective against Propionibacterium acnes. Furthermore, it helps remove excess oil while also exfoliating the skin. The best way to use lemon juice for acne is to dip a Q-tip in the liquid, apply it on the acne-affected area, and leave it overnight. The juice, with its skin lightening properties, can also help lighten acne scars

Hair Health Enhancer

Lemon juice can be used to reduce grey hair, according to a report in the International Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine. [10]Coconut oil and lemon juice is a popular remedy for grey hair; however, grey hair is caused due to a lack of pigment. Nevertheless, the citrus juice acts as a natural antiseptic and helps keep hair and the scalp clean.

 

Anticancer Potential

Citrus limonoids, present in lemon juice, are rare natural compounds that have anticancer potential. According to a study published in the American Chemical Society journal, limonoids slow down cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. [11] In animal studies, these powerful compounds were shown to stop cell metastasis. Another 2017 animal study found that a blend of garlic and lemon juice extract had an anticancer effect. [12] Further human studies are required to explore the therapeutic potential of the juice against cancer.

Antibacterial Effect

Lemon juice has antibacterial properties, as proven by a study published in the Journal of Oral Hygiene Health. The study evaluated the effectiveness of the juice as an oral rinse as compared to a commercially available mouthwash. [13] The citric acid in lemon juice significantly helped suppress bacterial growth. In calibrated quantities, the juice can also be used as a disinfectant, inhibiting Vibrio cholerae in drinking waterVibrio cholerae is a gram-negative bacterium that can cause cholera.

Prevents Kidney Stones

 

Drinking the juice of two lemons diluted in water daily can potentially reduce the risk of kidney stones. According to the National Kidney Foundation, the stone formation is inhibited due to the presence of citrate, a salt in citric acid, which binds with calcium. [14] However, other citrus juices like orange juice can also work. [15] Furthermore, a 2015 study reveals that lemon juice thins the bile produced by the liver and helps it flow more easily, allowing the body to detox in a more efficient manner. [16] In turn, this improves hepatic enzyme action and prevents gallstoneformation.

 

Aids Weight Loss

Lemon juice diluted with water, also known as lemon water, is well-known as a fat burner. [17] The results of an animal study, published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, revealed that the polyphenols in the juice inhibited weight gain and fat accumulation. [18] An ancient Ayurvedic recipe for obesity calls for drinking a glass of warm water with 10 ml of honey and 5 ml of lemon juice early in the morning. [19]

Helps Manage Cholesterol

Lemon juice is used in folk medicine to improve heart health, due to its lipid-lowering properties. In an animal study reported in the Comparative Clinical Pathology 2015, laboratory rats fed with a high-cholesterol diet were administered the juice. [20] There was a significant reduction in plasma total cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. It also helped increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. 

Lowers Blood Pressure

A study conducted in Japan on middle-aged and older women showed that consuming lemon juice daily, coupled with walking, helped lower systolic blood pressure. [21]

Detoxing Properties

Lemon juice cleanses are known to help detox the system and keep the liver, gut, and kidneys healthy. In her book “The Lemon Juice Diet“, health writer Theresa Cheung says the juice’s low glycemic index helps keep energy levels stable while firing up the body’s metabolism. [22]

Enhances Nutrient Absorption

A squeeze of lemon on your salad greens or meat helps the body absorb nutrients, especially iron, better. [23] Also, a 2016 report published in the Natural Science journal found that green tea, with lemon, has a greater phenolic content than just the tea alone. [24] Free radical scavenging activity was also shown to have increased.

Hepatoprotective Effect

Lemon juice can help protect the liver from the damage caused by chronic alcohol consumption. According to the BioMed Research International 2017 issue, the flavonoids in it aid in detoxing harmful metals from the blood. [25] Additionally, the lemon essential oils and pectin have an insulating effect on the stomach and intestine.

Household Cleaner

 

It works can be effective to clean grout, wooden surfaces, as well as grease stains from clothes. [26] To make a handy household cleaner, mix the juice of a medium-sized lemon with water in a spray bottle. It helps remove food odors from the refrigerator and oven too.

 

Insect Repellant

You can use lemon juice or lemon peels to repel ants and mosquitoes. Sponging your pet with water mixed with the freshly squeezed juice of the lemon can help get rid of fleas and give them a lovely fresh fragrance.

How Much Juice is in One Lemon?

A lot of recipes call for the juice of a lemon. However, lemons differ in size depending on the region they are produced in. There are 4 to 5 medium-sized lemons in 1 pound. On average, 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice equals one lemon. A bigger lemon will give a 1/4 cup (60 ml) of lemon juice, about 4 tablespoons. [27] If a recipe calls for the juice of 1 lemon, you can substitute it with 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice as it has a concentrated flavor. Also, 1 lemon has 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon rind or lemon zest in it.

Older lemons may not give as much as juice as they dry up. To get the maximum juice from a lemon, microwave it for 10-20 seconds. This will help loosen the lemon and you can squeeze out the juice more easily.

Does Lemon Juice Go Bad?

Lemon juice can go bad if it is not stored properly. Freshly squeezed lemon juice can go bad within hours if stored at room temperature. You can tell if it has gone bad if it tastes or smells extremely sour or if it appears dark yellow. While the citric acid in lemon juice can inhibit bacteria growth, it will eventually spoil and get mold. Freshly squeezed juice of the lemon can last for up to a day in the refrigerator. The best way to make the juice last is to freeze it in ice cube trays. You can remove the ice cubes and store it in a freezer bag, and pop an ice cube whenever you need it.

For store-bought lemon juice, it is advisable to stick to the expiry dates to be safe. Once opened, it usually lasts for 6 to 12 months in a refrigerator or the pantry cupboard, unless mentioned otherwise. However, before using an opened lemon juice bottle for baking, it is best to check it for spoilage.