Lemons are often noted as one of the better fruit options for people with type 2 diabetes, but some believe lemons may actually have curative properties.
Despite its reputation, the research supporting a strong link between lemons and type 2 diabetes prevention is minimal. A 2015 meta-analysis in Primary Care Diabetes found that eating citrus fruits did not seem to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
That being said, lemons can definitely provide benefits for people with diabetes. Here’s what you need to know about this fruit and type 2 diabetes:
Lemons and Diabetes
The nutritional profile of lemons makes the fruit a great option for everyone – including patients with diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association includes lemons on their list of superfoods due to soluble fiber and the high amount of vitamin C. Both soluble fiber and vitamin C can benefit people with diabetes because these nutrients can help promote better metabolic control. Lemons also have a low glycemic index (GI), and a meal with a low GI promotes lower blood sugar and insulin levels after eating.
Citrus fruits like lemons also contain flavonoids, naringin, and naringenin – all of which can have anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects, according to a 2014 study in Advances in Nutrition.3 However, more research is required to determine how much of a link there is between these compounds and effectively managing diabetes.
Fiber and Vitamin C
There are two components in lemons that can help support positive effects in diabetes management: soluble fiber and vitamin C.
High-fiber diets have been shown to reduce blood sugar. Soluble fiber can also help lower heart disease risk by helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and help with weight loss.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that reduces free radical damage in the body. Free radicals damage cells and membranes in the body. Many people with diabetes have low levels of vitamin C. Because vitamin C helps with the production of collagen, it helps maintain the integrity of the walls of the arteries and can be helpful to people who have circulation problems and arterial damage.
Some studies have shown that vitamin C may help decrease levels of fasting blood sugar, triglyceride, cholesterol, and inflammation.4 It may even improve insulin resistance. Keep in mind too much vitamin C, especially from supplements, may be harmful.
Food for Thought
If you have diabetes, and you think you might want to go on a lemon diet, consult your healthcare provider first. There are a few tips and considerations you should additionally think about.
Tips and Considerations
- Ask for expert advice on how to incorporate lemon in your diet and how much is ok. You do not need to drink high amounts of lemon juice to gain benefits.
- Due to its acidity, lemon can aggravate or cause heartburn in those with a history of acid reflux and heartburn.
- Lemon juice can erode tooth enamel and increase tooth sensitivity due to its acidity. If you have sensitive teeth, consider drinking lemon juice in beverages through a straw and rinsing your mouth afterward.
- Lemon peel contains a high amount of oxalates. Consuming a high amount of oxalates can cause problems such as kidney stones and pain from inflammation in those at risk for or prone to these conditions.5
- Lemon can act as a diuretic. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Squeeze lemon on greens and use it along with extra-virgin olive oil as a simple dressing or try the following dressing: Lemony diabetes salad dressing recipe.