By Matthew Lee

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.

Hot cup of tea, herbal leaves and ripe fruits
credit: czekma13/iStock/Getty Images

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.

Iron Absoprtion

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.