“Good things come in small packages”. Similarly, a lemon is a small fruit that packs a huge punch of zingy flavour. Along with taste, lemons come with several health benefits too. But are there any benefits of lemons for high blood pressure? In this article, we discuss how lemons may help lower your BP, along with how to include more of them in your diet.Contents:
Lemons are fruits that grow on the evergreen Citrus limon trees.
They are an excellent source of antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids like hesperidin and eriocitrin. They are low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars, and have a negligible amount of protein and fats. Lemons are also rich in dietary fibre, though it is removed from products like lemon juice.
The following is the nutritional profile for 100 g of raw lemon juice according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
Several studies have shown that the regular consumption of citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits can help lower blood pressure, along with reducing your risk of developing heart disease.
Though the exact benefits of lemons and lemon water for high BP are still being studied, the following mechanisms of action have been proposed:
Lemon water helps improve the balance of electrolytes in your body by eliminating excess fluid through urine. Lemon juice has a decent amount of potassium and very little sodium, and it also promotes the absorption of calcium and magnesium from your diet. All of these minerals are essential in regulating your blood pressure levels.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that plays a crucial role in maintaining your heart health. Vitamin C, along with other antioxidants present in lemons like flavonoids, prevents the oxidation of fatty substances in your diet called cholesterol. Cholesterol, when oxidised, can stick to the walls of blood vessels that have been damaged by hypertension. This is known as plaque formation, which can cause your blood vessels to become clogged, stiff, and narrow.
When blood flows through stiff and narrow arteries, it can further increase your blood pressure. Thus, the antioxidants can prevent further elevations in blood pressure along with the heart diseases associated with it by preventing the oxidation of cholesterol.
Lemons are a versatile fruit that can be used to boost the flavour profile of beverages, salads, curries, meat, desserts, etc. You can use lemons and lemon juice in the following ways to help lower your blood pressure:
If you have high blood pressure, one of the main recommendations for blood pressure control is to reduce your sodium intake to 2300 mg a day, according to the DASH diet recommendations. This can sometimes make you feel like you have limited food options, or that the food you eat is bland. You can remedy this by adding lemon juice or lemon zest to your cooking. The tangy taste of lemons can mask the lack of salt, thus helping you cut down on your sodium consumption.
The best way to include lemon or its juice in your diet to lower your blood pressure is to add it to your water bottle. Staying properly hydrated is essential to maintaining healthy blood pressure. Adding lemon juice or lemon slices to your water can help you stay hydrated by balancing your electrolyte levels. It also helps improve your antioxidant and potassium intake.
Alternatively, you can also add lemon juice to your daily cup of green tea in order to amplify the blood pressure lowering effects of the drink and to make it more palatable.
You can make lemon water by squeezing about 15 to 20 ml of fresh lemon juice into 300 ml of water, or adding 3 to 4 slices or wedges of lemon to your water bottle. You can add more or less lemon juice to your water as per your personal preference. Avoid adding salt, sugar or honey to the lemon water.
You can consume the juice of about 2 to 3 lemons in a day, which amounts to about 4 to 6 tablespoons (60 to 90 ml). You can drink up to 4 to 5 glasses (of 245 ml each) of lemon water a day.
There is no fixed time to consume lemon or lemon water for high blood pressure. You can consume them throughout the day in the following ways:
Overconsumption of lemon juice or lemon water can cause the following side effects:
The following are the health benefits of lemons and lemon juice:
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