Does Lemon Lower Cholesterol?: Lemon Flavonoid May Lower Cholesterol

Lemons are an extremely versatile fruit, but did you know they have qualities that can help improve cardiovascular health? While lemons have zero cholesterol content, they do have properties that can help lower cholesterol and improve the health of the human circulatory system.

Antioxidants in Lemon

cholesterol antioxidantThe antioxidant power in the human body of substances is measured by the ORAC value. (ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.) Though lemons have a number of specific antioxidant properties, the ORAC value is the best overall measure of the antioxidant power of lemons that food scientists currently have available. Lemons (raw, without peels) contain 1,346 micromoles/liter of Trolox equivalents per 100 grams, making 1,346 the total ORAC value of lemons. This is a fairly solid antioxidant value and can enhance other high antioxidant food preparation, such as berry dises.

While lemons do not have nearly a high enough ORAC value to rank among to top antioxidant fruits, they have a very high content of one antioxidant, Vitamin C. One hundred grams of lemon (without peel) contain 53 milligrams of Vitamin C, which amounts to 88% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C for a person with a 2,000 calorie diet.

Research has shown Vitamin C to have a couple of major benefits for cardiovascular health — reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and it can lower total cholesterol in people with high cholesterol numbers. [1]. Lemons are also somewhat high in the class of antioxidants called polyphenols (of which flavonoids are a part). Pure lemon juice ranks 73rd in the list of the one hundred foods with the highest polyphenol content [2].

A study specifically about lemons shows that the main flavonoid in lemons, eriocitrin, lowered the levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and VLDL cholesterol (which transforms in the body into LDL cholesterol) in the blood of the subject rats that were fed the flavonoid along with a high-cholesterol, high-fat diet [3].

Lemon Fiber

cholesterol fiberLemons, without their peels, are moderately high in fiber. When you slice a lemon, you will see the white membrane around the lemon wedges and between them. This is the primary fiber element of the lemon which is largely missed in the case of lemon juice. Lemons do contain 2.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams of lem. A gram is a measure of weight. To put 100 grams in perspective, consider another measure for this food: 1 cup equals 212 grams. A 100 gram serving is about one-half a cup of lemon — quite a bit of this sour fruit, but it does have a lot of great properties and can be integrated well into many different recipes.

Lemon slices and, especially, juice are added to many savory dishes, such as fish, seafood, poultry, and pasta entrees. Lemon juice is also an ingredient in many marinades. Lemon juice or lemons are added to many soups, salads, and side dishes, for example tabbouleh and hummus. Lemon juice is frequently found in mouthwatering desserts, such as cookies, cakes, baklava, and even apple pie. The sour of the lemon contrasts nicely with the sugars in the dessert. Lemon juice is also found in many drinks, such as punch and, of course, lemonade!

Macronutrients and Cholesterol In Lemons

These tables present nutrition data on raw lemons without peels. Lemon is loaded with vitamin C but it also has an array of additional vitamins and minerals to benefit your health.

Component
Amount
% Daily Value*
Calories
29
Protein
1.1 g
2%
Carbohydrate
9.32 g
3%
Fat
.3 g
0%
Fiber
2.8 g
11%
Sugar
2.5 g
Water
88.98 g
Ash
.3
*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Fat Types In Lemons

Fat Type
Amount
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
.04
0%
Monosaturated Fat
.01 g
*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Minerals in Lemons

Mineral
Amount
% Daily Value*
Calcium
26 mg
3%
Magnesium
8 mg
2%
Iron
.6 mg
3%
Zinc
.06 mg
0%
Sodium
2 mg
0%
Phosphorus
16 mg
2%
Potassium
138 mg
4%
Manganese
.03 mg
1%
Copper
.04 mg
2%
Selenium
.4 mg
1%
*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Vitamins In Lemons

Vitamin
Amount
% Daily Value*
Vitamin C
53 mg
88%
Vitamin E
.15 mg
1%
Vitamin A – IU
22 IU
0%
Vitamin D – IU
0 IU
0%
Thiamin – B1
.04 mg
3%
Riboflavin – B2
.02 mg
1%
Niacin – B3
.1 mg
1%
Vitamin B6
.08 mg
4%
Vitamin B12
0 mcg
0%
Folic Acid
0 mg
Food Folate
11 mg
*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Citations

[1] Simon, JA. “Vitamin C and Cardiovascular Disease: a Review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 11, no. 2 (April 1992): 107-125

[2] Pérez-Jiménez J., Neveu V., Vos, F., and Scalbert A. “Identification of the 100 Richest Dietary Sources of Polyphenols: an Application of the Phenol-Explorer Database.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64, no. 3s (2010): S112-S120.

[3] Miyake, Y., Suzuki E., et al. “Lipid-Lowering Effect of Eriocitrin, the Main Flavonoid in Lemon Fruit, in Rats on a High-Fat and High-Cholesterol Diet.” Journal of Food Science 71, no. 9 (November-December, 2006): S633–S637.

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