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Lemons: Good for Your Blood

We’re all familiar with the bright yellow fruit that seems to needlessly accompany our of water at every restaurant. However, that little slice of lemon may go a long way for your bloodstream.


Lemons contain high amounts of vitamin C, an important water-soluble antioxidant that provides many benefits to the body.Specifically, vitamin C neutralizes free radicals, which cause inflammation and damage to cell membranes in the bloodstream. Therefore, vitamin C reduces symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

Although lemons do not have the highest amount of vitamin C per fruit (i.e. lemons contain roughly 31mg per fruit, whereas fruit such as papayas contain 180mg per fruit), lemon peels provide high amounts of limonene—an oil that provides many health benefits. In addition to strengthening veins and supporting blood circulation, limonene is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease and heartburn in homeopathic medicine, as well as lowering LDL cholesterol and preventing various types of cancer (particularly breast cancer).

However, limonene isn’t the only anti-cancer component of lemons. Limonin, a white crystalline liminoid found in many types of citrus fruit, is absorbed in the bloodstream and remains in the body for a long time. Since limonin is present in lemons as limoninglucoside—a glucose molecule that is absorbed in the bloodstream during digestion—limonin is easily digestible. Furthermore, researchers found that traces of limonin could remain in the bloodstream for up to 24 hours after consumption, with the highest concentration present within the first six hours of consumption. This research suggests that the bioavailability of limonin plays an integral role in preventing cancer cells from multiplying rapidly.

Lemons may not be the most essential fruit of a healthy diet, but the combination of vitamin C, limonene, and limonin acts as a vital anti-carcinogen, while also helping to maintain healthy blood circulation.

100 Best Health Foods. Bath, UK: Parragon Books Ltd., 2010. Print.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.