Acidic, yet soothing to an upset stomach, lemon juice offers powerfully healthy physical properties along with a pleasingly tart taste. It is valued for its vitamin C and potassium content as well as its versatility in cooking and baking. Lemon water and lemonade help settle morning sickness during pregnancy and other sources of nausea. Researchers are also exploring the ability of lemonade to prevent kidney stones.
Plentiful Vitamin C
Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C. The body needs vitamin C to resist colds, fight disease and aids absorption of iron from vegetables and grains. It wards off a broad range of health problems including the condition called scurvy that once plagued seafarers who lacked access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Scurvy causes a wide range of ailments including tooth loss, aching bones, vision problems and slow healing of wounds.
The juice in a lemon can weigh up to 1.5 ounces, which is equal to about 43 grams. It takes roughly three lemons to gather 100 g of juice, which contains about 50 mg of vitamin C. Healthy adults 18 and older need the largest dose -- 90 mg of vitamin C for men and 75 mg for women. But conditions such as pregnancy, being a smoker or being ill, require slightly increased consumption, according to Medline Plus.
A glass of lemonade also provides lots of potassium. There are about 145 mg of potassium in 100 g of lemon juice. Potassium works to balance acid and alkaline blood chemistry known as body pH. It helps nourish the body by aiding in synthesis of amino acids from protein and use of carbohydrates. Potassium also assists functions such as expansion and contraction of muscles. While infants need less than a half gram of potassium daily, adults need almost 5 grams.
Acidic Yet Alkalizing
Lemon juice is a boon to anyone experiencing nausea, such as sea travelers or pregnant women during their first trimester. No one knows exactly what causes morning sickness, but lemon juice combined with water creates an alkalizing substance that settles stomach acid and vomiting. Its soothing aroma also helps settle nausea, according to Kara Rogers, a biomedical sciences editor at Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Kidney Stone Prevention
Drinking lots of lemonade can help prevent kidney stones, according to Roger L. Sur, M.D., of the Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center at the University of California at San Diego. Lemon juice inhibits the growth of kidney stones due to its citrate, a substance that also occurs in other citrus fruits but is highest in lemons. Drinking about 2 quarts of lemonade daily made with 4 oz. of lemon juice and artificial sweetener can decrease kidney stone formation. Other citrus juices are helpful as well, but not if they are supplemented with calcium or if they contain oxalates, a natural substance that promotes the formation of kidney stones, Sur says, as do salt and protein.
- MedlinePlus; Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid); July 2011
- MedlinePlus; Potassium in Diet; David Zieve, M.D., et al.; May 2010
- Kara Rogers, PhD. Pharmacology and Toxicology; Biomedical Sciences Editor, Encyclopaedia Brittanica; Chicago, IL