Lemons and Your Immune System

Lemons and Your Immune System

Everyone knows that lemons and other citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, among many other nutrients. In recent years, researchers around the world have studied the effects of vitamin C and its important and multi-functional role in human health. One area where it is known to play an enormous role is in the immune system.

Lemons and zinc
A study by researchers in Switzerland in 2006 and published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism looked at the role of both vitamin C and zinc in boosting the immune system, and whether that effect could apply to patients with specific conditions, such as respiratory tract infections, and the common cold, among others.

It is known that the levels of vitamin C in the blood serum drop when the body is under physical or mental stress, or when it is under attack by an infection. That is likely because the body’s immune system is using more of it when it is under attack by infection.

• Vitamin C improves the function of what are called natural killer cells, which help to eliminate infection, and aid in antimicrobial activity;
• It helps the body’s own helper cells such as lymphocytes;
• It helps the body’s cells maintain their integrity, and resist oxidative damage.

Zinc also acts on specific elements of the body’s immune response, so the two were studied together. Both nutrients are crucial to maintaining good health.

• They help the body resist infectious diseases;
• They reduce the severity of an episode of infection;
• They reduce the length of infection.

Keeping you healthy
The study looked at the results of what it called a “large number” of trials where patients were given up to 1g of vitamin C and up to 30mg of zinc. What they found was significant.

• Intake of vitamin C and zinc improved symptoms;
• It was also associated with shortened time span of the infection, disease or condition.

This response was associated with a variety of conditions, including:

• Respiratory infections;
• The common cold;
• Pneumonia;
• Malaria;
• Diarrhea infections in children.

What does it all mean? Eating lemons – which contain about 60mcg of zinc per 100g – and other citrus fruits helps to boost your immune system and keep you healthy, and an extra boost will help when you are battling a cold or other infection.

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