With an increase in reporting by major media outlets discussing the many health benefits of various fruits and vegetables and how they play a part in fighting disease, you may have already heard that lemons cure cancer. While this isn’t completely factual, there have been several studies that purport to show a strong basis in using lemons for cancer treatment. It should also be noted that there are conflicting reports detailing that, while lemons and other citrus fruits do contain cancer-fighting properties, exactly how effective they are against particular types of cancer has yet to be accurately determined. While the connection between lemons and cancer is yet to be established, it is quite clear that lemons have some clear benefits that are best not ignored.
Health Benefits of Lemons for Cancer
What are the health benefits of lemon when it relates to cancer? In addition to the Vitamin C found in lemon juice, which is already a very well known alternative cancer treatment in its own right, the peel of the lemon also offers many health benefits, one of the most important being that lemon peel can help to eradicate toxins in your body. This may be why lemons for cancer are being studied and touted as a great remedy.
The connection between cancer and lemons isn’t something new; for decades, scientists have wondered, “Is lemon a cancer killer?” and have developed numerous studies to determine its validity.
Studies have revealed that lemon extract can successfully destroy malignant cells in a wide range of cancers, including breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer (see references below). Several research studies also make the claim that lemons can destroy cancer much more effectively than chemotherapy, and in a safer and healthier manner. Additionally, the studies also show that lemon extract therapy only affects malignant cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed.
Additional health benefits of lemon include:
- It is antibacterial
- It is antiviral
- It aids in digestion
- It can be used to treat acne
- It helps to regulate blood pressure
- It fights against parasites and worms
- It possesses antidepressant qualities
- It helps to reduce stress and anxiety
Please be cautious of claims perpetuating through the internet of lemons being “10,000 times better than chemotherapy”. If that is true, it is probably not because of the effectiveness of the lemons, but because of the ineffectiveness of chemotherapy! Seriously though, this author could not find any authoritative scientific work that established that as a fact. The statement is unscientific and unfounded. We prefer to approach it from the angle of a natural product that can form a nutritional barrier between health and disease. When you read the next few paragraphs, please keep this in mind.
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Lemons for Cancer: How Much Do I Need to Consume?
So the question you may be asking yourself is, “Do lemons cure cancer and how much lemon do I need to consume on a daily basis?” Before answering this question, it must first be noted that while numerous studies have shown effectiveness in the consumption of lemons as a cancer killer, and is still undergoing a variety of testing and research to even come close to making that assertion. Until then we should think of lemons and cancer to have a nutritional relationship.
What is known is that the benefits of lemon could be realated to specific compounds found in them (and other citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit) known as flavonoids and limonoids. These may either stop the formation and growth of cancer cells, or have been shown in studies to kill them outright. These studies have mainly been conducted on animals and in laboratory conditions using human breast cancer cells.
In Europe, a study was conducted with participants afflicted with various forms of cancer, in which they consumed 150 grams of citrus four or more times a week. The citrus proved effective in decreasing the risks of cancer by significant percentages, with the exception of breast cancer. However, an American study did show a decrease in the risk of breast cancer in participants using the same portions of citrus—so long as they did not previously undergo hormone replacement therapy.
When consuming citrus, it is also important to not just consume the juice, but also the pulp and the peel, and even the seeds when possible. Further research shows that 75 grams of citrus on a daily basis might be the optimal minimum intake for those wishing to reduce the risks of cancer.
How to Add Lemons to Your Daily Diet
Because lemons are very versatile in a wide variety of dishes, it can be very easy to ensure that you have lemon in at least one of your meals each day. At the very least, you can add lemon juice to water and drink a glass of lemon water every day. This ensures that you get a good dose of Vitamin C. However, because the peel of the lemon actually contains a much larger amount of important vitamins than the juice, it is recommended that you find ways to incorporate the peel into your daily diet as well.
One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to either peel a lemon and place the peel in the freezer, or simply freeze a whole lemon. Then you can grate as needed, adding it to salads, soups, fish, chicken, rice, pasta, and many other dishes. You can add it to seltzer, to smoothies and other drinks.
Addendum: Lemons and Cancer Treatment
June 1, 2015: We wrote this article in May 2013 and since then it has been viewed by thousands of people across the world. One of the most common questions we get is whether lemons can be used as a cancer treatment, in other words are lemons a cancer treatment? This article truly describes the health benefits of lemons and the fact that they could be a good addition to an anti cancer diet. However, if you do have cancer, please do not try to use nutritional measures as your only tool against the disease. We believe that appropriately changing nutrition is an integral part of treating cancer – however, expecting nutritional changes alone to resolve the disease is a dangerous path to take. Treatment by a professional is essential.
We are also asked, what is the “frozen lemon treatment”. There is really no such thing! By freezing lemons and grating them whole over your usual foods while still frozen, you can really get the best from every part of the lemon, which helps maximize the benefit from that obtained by the lemon juice by itself. That suggestion should not, however, be construed to be a frozen lemon “treatment”.
We are writing a sequel to this article very soon which will have a lot more data and resources to help you understand better the impact of lemons in overall health and as part on an anti cancer diet.
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Kim J, Jayaprakasha GK, Uckoo RM, Patil BS. Evaluation of chemopreventive and cytotoxic effect of lemon seed extracts on human breast cancer (MCF-7) cells. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Feb;50(2):423-30.
Alshatwi AA1, Shafi G, Hasan TN, Al-Hazzani AA, Alsaif MA, Alfawaz MA, Lei KY, Munshi A. Apoptosis-mediated inhibition of human breast cancer cell proliferation by lemon citrus extract. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2011;12(6):1555-9.
Manners GD. Citrus limonoids: analysis, bioactivity, and biomedical prospects. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Oct 17;55(21):8285-94.
“This article reflects the opinions of the author and those of any of the source articles and should not be mistaken for medical advice. None of this information is evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and it is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.”