Lemons contain folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and a compound that has demonstrated anti-cancer properties called limonene. All citrus fruit are high in flavonoids, which are highly potent antioxidants.
In laboratory studies, citrus limonoids have been shown to exert an anti-proliferation effect on cancers of the colon, lung, breast, stomach, mouth, liver, skin and even human neuroblastoma tumours, which are more common in children.
Whilst cranberries were also shown to provide a benefit, lemons showed the greatest level of activity. It is believed that the difference in effectiveness is due to the fact that limonoids remain in the bloodstream for longer. Other products studied, such as the phenols in green tea, only remained in the bloodstream for 4 to 6 hours.
In relation to rheumatoid arthritis, a study involving over 20,000 people discovered that those who consumed the least foods rich in vitamin C were over three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who maintained a high vitamin C diet.
Add lemon to your drinks, squeeze fresh lemon juice over fish and salad and try to include lemon zest in your cookery.
Please also see the Citrus Fruit section for other fruit with similar properties.