Truths and lies about lemon: is it really useful for weight loss?

Everything has been said about the fruit of the lemon tree. That if you lose weight if you take it on an empty stomach, that if it serves as an air freshener if you break it in half and leave it in the refrigerator, that it is capable of burning fat or even that it works as a kind of natural organism purifier … But All these claims, especially this supposed detox capacity, have no scientific evidence or studies to support these theses. What is known about him lemon is that it is a fruit that we can find in the market throughout the year and that it is rich in C vitamin (50 mg per 100 grams of edible portion), with few calories and properties antioxidants. It is also a food of proximity As explained by AILIMPO (National Lemon and Grapefruit Interprofessional), Spain stands out for being the world’s leading producer of fresh lemon, thanks to the more than nine million lemon trees present in the Spanish geography. According to this association, in the 2020-21 campaign, Spanish farmers achieved a historical record with a harvest of 1,340,000 tons, 8% more than the previous one.

Lemons can be classified according to their size, into: small, medium and large; and by its color in verdes and yellow. The one that is most consumed in Spain is the yellow and large one, with a pulp that barely has seeds and with a thick, somewhat rough and very aromatic rind.

Its nutrients are distributed in its pulp, its rind and in the white layer that is under the rind. Thus, according to the experts of the FEN (Spanish Federation of Nutrition), the pulp contains organic acids such as citric, malic, acetic and formic; and phenolic compounds such as caffeic and ferulic acids that are powerful antioxidants. Although in reality the most interesting components of lemon are the phytonutrients, specifically the limonoids, which are found in the crust. Hence, it is not surprising that popular wisdom has included lemon zest in many recipes, both sweet and savory.

In addition, both that mentioned white layer that we find under the rind (which also provides soluble fiber in the form of pectin) and the pulp contain flavonoids (citroflavonoids) among which hesperidin, diosmin, naringenin and eriocitrin stand out. All of them are anti-inflammatory compounds that contribute to the prevention of diseases.

Lemon rind contains phytonutrients.
Lemon rind contains phytonutrients.

Therefore, it is not that lemon has miraculous qualities, but that it is one of the foods whose nutritional properties make it a good option from which to benefit in the framework of a balanced diet. In fact, another advantage of consuming lemon is that the fact of being a source of Vitamin C helps the body to improve the absorption of “non-heme” iron (The one provided by foods of plant origin such as legumes, green leafy vegetables or nuts). For example, if we dress a lentil salad or a plate of spinach with lemon juice, we will increase the absorption of “non-heme” iron from these foods. Although another option may be to accompany the intake of these vegetables with a water-based drink with squeezed lemon.

Vitamin C also plays an important role in collagen synthesis and in reducing the risk of infection, according to Carme Ferrer, dietitian-nutritionist at Alimmenta.

Other interesting nutrients are vitamin A and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. Regarding its caloric value, it should be noted that it is low (22 kcal per 100g), since its content is mostly water (about 90%).

You can damage tooth enamel if …

The frequent and excessive consumption of the juice extracted from the lemon can become abrasive and put the health of the teeth at risk, causing dental erosion, weakening and damage to the tooth enamel. That is why when consuming lemon, dietician-nutritionist Carme Ferrer advises: sipping the juice through a straw so that it does not touch your teeth; rinse off with water after taking the juice to remove as much of the acid from your mouth as possible; consume water on a recurring basis, wait 1 to 2 hours to brush your teeth and try to use a fluoride toothpaste to reduce the sensitivity and preserve teeth.

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