OPINION

Training for Life: When life gives you lemons, use six benefits

Ritchy Hitoto
Pratt Tribune
Ritchy Hitoto is the head athletic trainer and strenth training coach at Pratt Community College.

“If life hands you lemons, make lemonade! These are words to live by, especially when you kept in mind that the only way to make them into lemonade was to squeeze the hell out of them” said best-selling author Stephen King.  

That yellow, oval citrus fruit with thick skin and fragrant, acidic juice we call lemon is a very potent fruit filled with energy, nutrients and vitamins.  

There are multiple benefits in consuming lemons on a regular basis. The main ones are worth a closer look. 

  1. Support heart health — Lemons are a good source of vitamin C. One lemon provides about 31 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 51% of the reference daily intake. Research shows that eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. However, it’s not only the vitamin C that is thought to be good for your heart. The fiber and plant compounds in lemons could also significantly lower some risk factors for heart disease. 
  2. Help control weight (theories) — Lemons are often promoted as a weight loss food, and there are a few theories as to why this is. One common theory is that the soluble pectin fiber in them expands in your stomach, helping you feel full for longer. That said, not many people eat lemons whole. And because lemon juice contains no pectin, lemon juice drinks will not promote fullness in the same way. Another theory suggests that drinking hot water with lemon will help you lose weight. However, drinking water is known to temporarily increase the number of calories you burn, so it may be the water itself that is helping with weight loss — not the lemon. Tips lots of water with slices of lemon at the bottom of your bottle is a good compromise! 
  3. Prevent kidney stones — Kidney stones are small lumps that form when waste products crystallize and build up in your kidneys. They are quite common, and people who get them often get them repeatedly. Citric acid may help prevent kidney stones by increasing urine volume and increasing urine pH, creating a less favorable environment for kidney stone formation. Just a 1/2-cup (4 ounces or 125 milliliters) of lemon juice per day may provide enough citric acid to help prevent stone formation in people who have already had them. To avoid the stone, get your lemon on! 
  4. Reduce cancer risks — A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help prevent some cancers. Some observational studies have found that people who eat the most citrus fruit have a lower risk of cancer, while other studies have found no effects. In test-tube studies, many compounds from lemons have killed cancer cells. However, they may not have the same effect on the human body. Another study used pulp from mandarins that contained the plant compounds beta-cryptoxanthin and hesperidin, which are also found in lemons. The study discovered that these compounds prevented malignant tumors from developing in the tongues, lungs and colons of rodents. However, it should be noted that the research team used a very high dose of the chemicals — far more than you would get by eating lemons or oranges. 
  5. Protect against anemia — Iron deficiency anemia is quite common. It occurs when you don’t get enough iron from the foods you eat. Lemons contain some iron, but they primarily prevent anemia by improving your absorption of iron from plant foods. Your gut absorbs iron from meat, chicken and fish (known as heme iron) very easily, while iron from plant sources (non-heme iron) not as easily. However, this absorption can be improved by consuming vitamin C and citric acid. Because lemons contain both vitamin C and citric acid, they may protect against anemia by ensuring that you absorb as much iron as possible from your diet. Lemon and iron … the perfect combination! 
  6. Improve digestive health — Lemons are made up of about 10% carbs, mostly in the form of soluble fiber and simple sugars. The main fiber in lemons is pectin, a form of soluble fiber linked to multiple health benefits. Soluble fiber can improve gut health and slow the digestion of sugars and starches. These effects may result in reduced blood sugar levels. However, to get the benefits of fiber from lemons, you need to eat the pulp. People who drink lemon juice, without the fiber found in the pulp, will miss out on the benefits of the fiber. In conclusion, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and more.  

References https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/lemons https://www.google.com/search?q=lemons+definition&rlz=1C1CHZL_enUS749US749&oq=lemons+definition&aq s=chrome..69i57.4850j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-lemon-health-benefits