You probably squeeze it into your water or iced tea without giving much thought to how lemon juice may actually be good for you. Low in calories and rich in vitamin C, lemon juice boosts your nutritional intake without much effort on your part. It also may help prevent kidney stones and act as a natural remedy for oral thrush and other ailments.
Flavor Without Calories or Sodium
Not only is lemon juice good in drinks, but it also adds flavor to foods such as seafood, poultry, veggies and grains. It does all this without adding any sodium and very few calories. Juice from one lemon, which is about 3 tablespoons and more than you probably use, contains only 11 calories.
Most Americans eat too many calories and get too much salt in their diet, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, and finding ways to cut back, even in small increments, can make a big difference in your overall health.
Get Some Vitamin C
Like other citrus fruits, lemons are a source of vitamin C. Of course, how much vitamin C you get from lemon juice depends on how much you add to your foods. One lemon contains 18 milligrams of vitamin C. However, if you're only adding juice from a wedge of lemon, you'll only get about 2 milligrams of vitamin C. For reference, women need 75 milligrams of vitamin C a day and men 90 milligrams.
The vitamin C in the lemon juice acts as an antioxidant in your body, protecting your cells against damage from free radicals. Although research is still ongoing, including antioxidant-rich foods in your diet may help prevent or delay the onset of certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
Prevent Kidney Stones
If you're worried about developing kidney stones, including lemon juice in your daily diet may help. Citrate is a substance found in the juice that helps prevent the formation of kidney stones by binding with calcium in the urine and preventing the formation of crystals. Part of the dietary management for preventing the formation of kidney stones, specifically those caused by low urinary output of citrate, is to increase your intake of foods high in citrate such as citrus fruits like lemon juice, according to a 2009 article published in Reviews in Urology.
Treatment of Oral Thrush
Oral thrush is an infection that usually develops when your immune system is weak. It's a painful condition that causes sores in the mouth and can affect your intake of food and liquids. Treatment usually includes an anti-fungal medication, but a study published in 2009 in Phytomedicine found that taking lemon juice directly in the mouth may also help clear up the infection. While the study showed positive results with the lemon juice, consult your doctor first before trying a home remedy for oral thrush.
Lemon Juice Home Remedies
Lemon juice may also help ease a sore throat. Mix the juice in water and gargle for relief. Adding lemon to hot water with a bit of honey may also help lessen your nausea and relieve chills associated with a fever or the flu; it also provides some fluids for hydration.