Lemon: 10 Health Benefits, Nutritional Info & How to Use (plus Recipes)

Updated in February 2024

Lemon is a citrus fruit that is rich in vitamin C and has excellent antioxidant properties. It is also rich in soluble fiber that helps reduce appetite and regulate the intestines. It is widely used to season fish, shellfish and chicken. Furthermore, lemon peel and lemon leaves contain essential oils that provide its characteristic smell and can be used to make tea.

Freshly harvested lemon contains around 55% of the required daily amount of vitamin C. It acts as a powerful antioxidant and helps improve the immune system, preventing illnesses such as the flu and cold, in addition to containing other antioxidant components, such as polyphenols, limonoids and caffeic acid.

Imagem ilustrativa número 1

Health benefits

The main health benefits of consuming lemons are:

1. Promoting weight loss

Lemons can help promote weight loss, as they are low in calories and rich in fiber. They form a gum in the stomach when consumed and can therefore reduce appetite. Furthermore, it is believed that vitamin C helps detoxify the body and it may accelerate the process of fat oxidation, which can promote the weight loss process.

Drinking lemon water, without sugar or sweeteners, helps cleanse the taste buds, reducing the desire to eat sweet foods. It also has a naturally diuretic effect, that helps to combat fluid retention.

Also recommended: Natural Diuretics: 14 Amazing Teas for Water Retention tuasaude.com/en/natural-diuretics

2. Preventing constipation

Lemon helps to trigger bowel movements as it is rich in fiber, which favors the passage of stool through the gastrointestinal tract. Its effects are heightened when it is consumed with warm water on an empty stomach.

3. Protecting the stomach

One of the active compounds in lemon is limonene, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects against  H. pylori bacteria. It can also play a role in preventing the development of stomach and duodenal ulcers.

4. Preventing infections

Due to the limonene in its composition, lemon has antifungal and antibacterial properties that help fight diseases such as yeast infections, flu, the common cold and other bacterial infections like Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Moraxella catarrhalis.

5. Improving skin appearance

Because it is rich in vitamin C, regular consumption of lemon promotes tissue regeneration and the formation of collagen. Collagen is a structure that makes the skin firm and elastic, and it also accelerates wound healing. Furthermore, lemons are rich in bioactive compounds with antioxidant properties, which prevent premature aging and the appearance of wrinkles.

6. Lowering blood pressure

Lemons could help regulate blood pressure, as it is rich in flavonoids that inhibit arterial vasoconstriction to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. Additionally, vitamin C has also been linked to a decrease in blood pressure.

7. Preventing anemia

Lemon helps prevent anemia because it contains vitamin C, which promotes iron absorption in the intestines, particularly iron from plant sources. To achieve this, it is important to consume iron-rich foods together with a vitamin C source, like lemon.

8. Preventing kidney stones

The citric acid present in lemons could help prevent the formation of kidney stones, as it makes urine less acidic. Furthermore, it has naturally diuretic properties which can also play a role in preventing kidney stone formation.

9. Preventing some types of cancer

Lemon contains several bioactive compounds such as limonoids and flavonoids that have anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These prevent the formation of free radicals, induce apoptosis and inhibit cell proliferation.

10. Preventing acne

Due to the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of lemon, it is possible to combat some bacteria that are related to the acne formation.

Nutritional information

The following table outlines the nutritional composition in every 100 g of lemons:

Components Lemon Recently-prepared lemon juice
Energy 31 calories 25 calories
Water 90.1 g 91.7 g
Protein 0.5 g 0.3 g
Fat 0.3 g 0 g
Carbohydrates 1.9 g 1.5 g
Fiber 2.1 g 0 g
Vitamin C 55 mg 56 mg
Vitamin A 2 mcg 2 mcg
Vitamin B1 0.04 mg 0.03 mg
Vitamin B2 0.02 mg 0.01 mg
Vitamin B3 0.2 mg 0.2 mg
Vitamin B6 0.07 mg 0.05 mg
Folate 9 mcg 13 mcg
Calcium 26 mg 7 mg
Magnesium 9 mg 7 mg
Phosphorus 16 mg 10 mg
Potassium 140 mg 130 mg
Iron 0.5 mg 0.2 mg

It is important to mention that to obtain all the benefits mentioned above, lemons should be included in a balanced and healthy diet.

How to use

The best way to obtain all the benefits of lemon is to use the juice, pulp and grated peel, the latter being important due to the fact that the essential oils of this fruit are found in the peel.

Lemon juice is important to consume cold and as soon as it is made, because 20% of its vitamin C is lost after 8 hours at room temperature, and 24 hours if in the refrigerator.

When consuming lemon to prevent anemia, it is important to consume it together with other foods that are rich in iron, as the vitamin C in the lemon promotes iron absorption in the gut. When aiming to treat acne, you should drink 1 glass of lemon juice every day in the morning.

Lemons are very versatile, and they also have other less common applications. They can be used to remove grease from the sink or stove, and prevent the growth of microorganisms on surfaces due to its acidity.

Furthermore, lemon essential oil can be used in diffusers or air fresheners for aromatherapy, perfuming rooms and purifying the air, especially in cases of respiratory infections. Its aroma can also help to improve mood as it stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine when inhaled.

Lemons can also be consumed with water and taken on an empty stomach to promote weight loss process. 

Lemon recipes

Despite being sour, lemon is a great ingredient for preparing delicious desserts and detox juices.

1. Lemon juice with pear

This juice stimulates digestion and has a laxative effect that helps treat constipation. It also helps to purify and detox the body.


  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 pear cut into cubes
  • 2.5 cm of fresh ginger root
  • Half a cucumber cut into cubes


Blend all ingredients in a blender and serve with some ice cubes. This can be consumed every day, preferably first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

2. Lemon peel tea

This tea contains essential lemon oils that have a purifying effect. It is also well-tolerated after eating a meal.


  • Half a glass of water
  • 3 cm of lemon peel


Boil the water and then add the lemon peel. Cover for a few minutes and then drink while still warm, without sweetening.

3. Strawberry lemonade


  • Juice squeezed from 2 lemons
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1/2 glass of water


Blend the ingredients in a blender and then drink, without sweetening.

4. Lemon and orange juice


  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 100 ml of sparkling water


Squeeze the orange and lemon in a fruit juicer. Mix this juice with sparkling water and drink afterwards. This is a great natural substitute for soda.

Furthermore, lemon juice prevents the oxidation of other fruits, and can be added to other fruits such as apples, pears, bananas or avocados or a fruit salad in order to prevent browning.