Citrus fruits such as lemon do more than just provide vitamin C. According to an article published in "Food, Nutrition and Agriculture," consuming these fruits may help you lower your risk of heart disease, anemia, cancer and cataracts. Preliminary research indicates that lemon juice may also be helpful in lowering your cholesterol levels.
Lemon Juice and Cholesterol
An animal study published in the "Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences" in 2010 found that lemon juice may help lower total cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein -- LDL, the "bad" cholesterol -- while increasing high-density lipoprotein -- HDL, the "good" cholesterol. This may be due to the antioxidant effect of the vitamin C and flavonoids found in lemon juice. While LDL cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, HDL cholesterol decreases your risk.
Increasing the Effects
While lemon juice on its own may help improve your cholesterol, you may experience an even greater reduction in your cholesterol levels if you combine lemon juice with lime juice. An animal study published in the "Asian Journal of Medical Sciences" in 2012 found that a combination of lemon and lime juice was more effective at reducing cholesterol levels than either juice alone.
Using Lemon Juice
Add lemon juice to your water to give it more flavor, or use lemon juice to make a vinaigrette to top your salads. Mix lemon juice with tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to make a virgin bloody Mary, or make a marinade for chicken with olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, garlic and spices. Tossing pieces of apple and avocado with lemon will help keep them from turning brown.
The research on lemon juice and cholesterol is still very preliminary, so don't rely on lemon juice alone to get your cholesterol down to a healthy level. Proven ways to reduce cholesterol include taking cholesterol-lowering medications, eating fewer foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, losing any extra weight you might be carrying, exercising regularly, and increasing the amount of healthy foods that you consume, such as fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.