Health Benefits of Lemon

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on August 11, 2022

The lemon is a round, vibrant fruit from the flowering plant family Rutaceae. Its scientific name is Citrus limon, and it’s native to North-Eastern India. This bright yellow citrus fruit possesses a distinctive sour taste due to its richness in citric acid. The lemon’s unique flavor makes it a popular ingredient in drinks, desserts, and meals. Almost all parts a lemon can be used in cooking and cleaning.

Health Benefits

The vitamins, fiber, and plant compounds in lemons can provide essential health benefits. The pulp, rind, and juice are rich with vitamins that stimulate immunity and reduce the risk of disease. The soluble dietary fiber in lemon aids in healthy digestion.

Lemons can also provide other important health benefits like:

Heart Health

Lemons contain about 50 mg of Vitamin C, which is over half the amount of Vitamin C needed in your daily diet. Along with boosting immunity, this burst of Vitamin C can reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease with regular consumption.

Lemon also contains a high level of dietary fiber, which can reduce risk factors for heart disease by lowering LDL or bad cholesterol. A surplus of cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries within the heart.

Digestive Health

Lemon contains high amounts of dietary fiber. Fiber, especially soluble fiber, can help reduce constipation and a variety of other gastrointestinal issues and discomfort.

Weight Management

The pectin fiber found in lemons expands once it is ingested, making you feel full sooner and longer. Lemon water is often advertised as an effective tool in weight loss and weight management. Researchers used mice for this study, and the effects on humans weren’t tested. It’s also important to note that drinking water may keep you full and help you avoid snacking as effectively as lemon.

Anemia Prevention

While lemon doesn’t contain extremely high iron levels, it can help your body absorb more iron from plant-based foods in your diet. Maintaining proper iron levels helps prevent anemia, which is a lower than average number of red blood cells, often as a result of iron-deficiency.

Kidney Stone Prevention 

Lemons get their sour taste from their abundance of citric acid. Some studies show that citric acid may help prevent the formation of kidney stones.


Lemons are an excellent source of:

Nutrients per Serving

A 1/2 cup serving of lemon contains:

Portion Sizes

Lemon is a flavorful and healthy addition to most recipes, but, like all fruits, it contains natural sugar. You should moderate your lemon intake to a half cup or less of its cut and peeled form to maintain a balanced diet.

How to Prepare Lemon

With their distinct sour taste, lemons add a bold flavor to many recipes. Lemon is a popular ingredient in cooking and baking, and you can use almost every part of this versatile fruit. 

A simple lemon wedge can add a soothing and refreshing flavor to water and tea. 

Lemon juice and zest, often paired with butter or oil, is a crucial ingredient to many popular seafood and meat dishes as well as desserts.  

The rind of the lemon can be zested and added to baked goods, tea, soup, and beverages of all kinds. Here are a few ways to prepare this versatile and vibrant fruit:

  • Make a classic, ice-cold lemonade with organic sugar or sugar alternative and water
  • Use lemon to add flavor to a risotto dish
  • Create a refreshing lemon and butter sauce for a salmon or chicken plate
  • Bake a zesty and sweet lemon meringue pie
  • Indulge in a luxurious, zesty lemon bar
  • Use lemon zest as a tasty garnish in your tea or alcoholic beverage
  • Make a delicious Greek lemon and chicken soup

Show Sources


Annals of Internal Medicine: “The effect of fruit and vegetable intake on risk for coronary heart disease.” 

British Journal of Nutrition: “The digestion of pectin in the human gut and its effect on calcium absorption and large bowel function.” 

British Journal of Nutrition: “The effects of fruit juices and fruits on the absorption of iron from a rice meal.”

Chemistry Central Journal: “Citrus fruits as a treasure trove of active natural metabolites that potentially provide benefits for human health.” 

Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition. “Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in beta-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue.” 

Journal of Endourology: “Quantitative assessment of citric acid in lemon juice, lime juice, and commercially-available fruit juice products.”

Stroke: “Serum vitamin C concentration was inversely associated with subsequent 20-year incidence of stroke in a Japanese rural community. The Shibata study.”

National Institues of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements

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