Adding lemon to your tea not only lends a tangy flavor, but also boosts its nutritional benefits by adding a bit of vitamin C and potassium. Lemons may also help to counteract some of the potentially negative effects of tea on another nutrient.
Antioxidant and Anti-Cancer Benefits
Tea and lemon both have powerful antioxidant properties. These effects arise primarily from the polyphenols in tea, while lemons contain large amounts of the antioxidant vitamin C. These antioxidants help to reduce damage to healthy cells, promote the death of unhealthy cells and help prevent cancerous cells from reproducing. The antioxidant properties of lemon in tea also give it potentially powerful anti-cancer effects. In addition, lemons contain large amounts of compounds called limonoids, which fight mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon cancers, reports the USDA.
Despite their antioxidant effects, the polyphenols in tea can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb non-heme iron, which is the major source of iron in plant foods. However, because vitamin C helps to boost non-heme iron absorption, adding lemon juice may help counteract the tea’s effect. A tablespoon of fresh lemon juice added to tea provides about 6 milligrams of vitamin C, which is less than 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance for the vitamin.
References and ResourcesThe Journal of Nutrition; Effects of Tea Consumption on Nutrition and Health
U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Lemons, Raw, Without Peel
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service: Citrus Compound: Ready To Help Your Body!
U.S Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database: Lemon Juice