Lemon Tea: Is It Good for You?

Lemons are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’ve been used for medicinal and beauty benefits for centuries, and were once thought to have healing powers and protect against poison. Today, lemons are a trendy weight loss aid believed to detoxify our bodies, but more research is needed to back up these claims.

However, modern science supports many other health benefits of lemons. Drinking lemon tea is a refreshing way to get many important vitamins. It’s easy to prepare, hydrates your body, and is low in calories and sugar. 

Depending on personal preference, people drink lemon tea with fresh lemons alone, add other teas, or mix in sweeteners like honey. 

Nutrition Information

The juice squeezed from one fresh lemon contains:

  • Calories: 10.3
  • Protein: 0.16 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3.2 grams
  • Fiber: 0.14 grams
  • Sugar: 1.2 grams

Lemon juice is a good source of: 

Lemons also contain citric acid, a natural diuretic that can reduce water retention, promote urinary tract health, and prevent kidney stones. One study also found that citric acid may improve your body’s absorption of minerals like calcium and phosphorus. 

Potential Health Benefits of Lemon Tea

Lemon tea is a low-sugar, low-calorie way to add a range of vitamins and minerals to your diet. 

Grating lemon zest into your tea also adds the peel’s limonene. This antioxidant, found in fruit peels, may lower your risk of cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and other chronic diseases. 

Other health benefits of lemon tea include: 

Immune System Support

One lemon can offer about half of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, which contributes to immune system defense and may help the body fight infection. Lemons also contain citrus flavonoids. These antioxidants fight free radicals, have anti-inflammatory effects, and can reduce your risk of brain disease and other degenerative diseases.

Lower Blood Pressure

Physical activity helps to control high blood pressure, strengthen your heart, and reduce stress. Studies have found that the flavonoids in lemon help lower your blood pressure as well. Additional research showed this effect enhances the heart-healthy benefits of physical activity. 

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Anticancer Properties

Lemons are rich in antioxidants, which work to prevent cell damage that may lead to chronic illnesses like cancer. Q uercetin, one of the antioxidants found in lemons, inhibits cancer cell growth in several types of cancer, including ovarian, prostate, breast, and kidney cancers.

Reduced Risk of Diabetes 

Lemons contain a natural compound called hesperidin that may lower blood sugar levels, decreasing your risk of diabetes. In addition, the citric acid in lemons slows the conversion of starch to sugar, helping reduce blood sugar spikes and aiding in weight management. 

Potential Risks of Lemon Tea

Lemon tea can help prevent diseases and improve your health, but lemons have a high acid content. In excess, lemons can cause discomfort or worsen symptoms of certain medical conditions.

Consider the following before drinking lemon tea:

Aggravate Acid Reflux

Lemons can worsen heartburn symptoms in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In high amounts, lemon juice can also irritate your stomach and cause nausea. 

Tooth Decay

In high concentrations, the acid in lemon juice can wear down your tooth enamel and cause cavities. Make sure to add enough water to lemon tea to dilute this acidity. 

Canker Sores

Lemons may trigger canker sores or irritate existing ones, which can cause discomfort and make them take longer to heal. 

Medication Interactions

While research specific to lemons is inconclusive, some citrus juices interact with certain cholesterol and blood pressure medications. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 24, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

American Dental Association: “Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth.”

American Heart Association: “Getting Active to Control High Blood Pressure.”

Canadian Medical Association Journal: “Grapefruit–medication interactions: Forbidden fruit or avoidable consequences?”

Cleveland Clinic: “Canker Sores.”

Cell & Bioscience: “Quercetin and cancer: new insights into its therapeutic effects on ovarian cancer cells.”

Chemico-Biological Interactions: “Limonene: Aroma of innovation in health and disease” 

International Journal of Food and Nutritional Science: “Hesperidin as a Promising Anti-Diabetic Flavonoid: the Underlying Molecular Mechanism.”

International Journal of Molecular Science: “Citrange Fruit Extracts Alleviate Obesity-Associated Metabolic Disorder in High-Fat Diet-Induced Obese C57BL/6 Mouse.”

Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism: “Effect on Blood Pressure of Daily Lemon Ingestion and Walking.”

Mineral and Electrolyte Metabolism: “Stimulation by citric acid of calcium and phosphorus bioavailability in rats fed a calcium-rich diet.”

Nutrients: Vitamin C and Immune Function.”

Plants: Citrus Essential Oils (CEOs) and Their Applications in Food: An Overview.”

Przeglad Gastroenterologiczny: “Risk factors for gastroesophageal reflux disease: the role of diet.”

University of Wisconsin: “Citric Acid and Kidney Stones.”

USDA National Nutrient database: “Lemon Juice.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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