Lemon juice and olive oil are ingredients that appear in many of our favorite dishes. But did you know that the two — when paired — have tremendous health benefits? On its own, lemon juice supports everything from weight loss to better skin clarity, and the nutritional and wellness value of olive oil is well-known. Together, however, their impact is amplified. Read on to learn how (and why) incorporating the combination of olive oil and fresh lemon juice can improve your health.
What are the health benefits of olive oil?
Olive oil has a rich history. Cleopatra’s famous golden glow is believed to be a result of bathing in olive oil. The Ancient Greeks viewed the olive as a “sacred fruit,” and the Romans associated olive oil with elite society and consumed the liquid to extend longevity. Dubbed the “golden nectar of the gods,” this rich source of healthy fats and antioxidants has been a coveted commodity for centuries. Today, it remains a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Here are some of the reasons olive oil is so special.
It’s packed with polyphenols
Just a teaspoon of olive oil — specifically, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) — provides an abundance of polyphenols, which are natural bioactive compounds whose antioxidant properties promote wellness. This is good news for those experiencing age-related bone loss. Why? Because according to recent research, polyphenols in olive oil help support bone health by helping to keep oxidative stress in check. What’s more, animal studies reveal that intake of certain polyphenols has produced positive effects on bone mass, resulting in greater strength. In other words, the polyphenols in high-quality olive oil help to promote bone health as part of a complete healthy diet.
It promotes heart health
Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of premature death worldwide? It’s a sad but true statistic. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the deadly disease claims an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. Interestingly, populations residing in Mediterranean regions have low rates of mortality from heart disease. While this is likely due to a combination of factors, their high consumption of EVOO is thought to play a role.
This isn’t the only data suggesting olive oils’ importance in maintaining cardiovascular health. In a 2014 review study, researchers found that participants who consumed the most olive oil were almost 10 percent less likely to have heart issues compared to participants who ate the least olive oil. While additional conclusive research is needed, the science around olive oil thus far is promising.
It has anti-inflammatory properties
Chronic inflammation is one of the leading culprits behind a number of diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. EVOO is proven to help keep inflammation in check, thanks largely to its antioxidants —specifically, oleocanthal. The oleic acid in EVOO is also known to help reduce levels of inflammation.
What about the benefits of lemon juice?
The humble lemon may make your mouth pucker, but just a spoonful of its juice has numerous health benefits. Here are some of them.
Lemon is rich in antioxidants
Lemons are an excellent source of plant compounds called flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Antioxidants are natural substances that help protect the body’s cells from damage. By keeping cell damage in check, antioxidants may help reduce the overall risk of many health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These powerful compounds do this by eliminating free radicals — the harmful, disease-causing intruders created by oxidative stress. Flavonoids from lemon can also help reduce inflammation in the body (and as mentioned earlier, chronic inflammation is a major marker for many illnesses).
It has antibacterial effects
In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, lemon juice has antibacterial and antifungal properties that may support overall health. In a recent study, the bioactive plant compounds in lemon juice effectively inhibited the growth of staphylococcus, salmonella, and candida infections. But that’s not all — lemon juice was also effective at fighting an antibiotic-resistant bacterial strain that’s known to cause pneumonia and blood infections.
It supports healthy skin
Lemon juice’s high vitamin C and vitamin E content makes it especially beneficial for the skin. Its powerful antioxidants help support collagen production, which is what gives skin its bouncy, plump appearance. Lemons are also rich in magnesium — an important mineral that promotes healthy, supple skin and prevents damage from oxidative stress.
Does this home remedy have any benefits?
Many folks claim that drinking olive oil and lemon juice together yields positive health outcomes. While more research is needed, the potential benefits of combining the two are many.
It naturally cleanses the body
Cleanses and detoxes are believed to flush out waste and toxins that have built up in the body over time. While there aren’t many studies exploring whether olive oil and lemon juice can help detoxify your digestive system, researchers suggest that the antioxidants and polyphenols in the two could be “cleansing” to the body.
It supports healthy weight loss
Research shows that the vitamin C in lemon juice and monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil may promote weight loss. In the human body, vitamin C is essential to the production of carnitine, a compound that transports fat molecules into the cells, where they are broken down and used as fuel. In other words, inadequate vitamin C intake may result in a reduced breakdown of fat. Additionally, select studies show that diets high in monounsaturated fatty acids lead to weight loss similar to weight loss resulting from low-fat diets.
It promotes proper digestion
The gentle laxative action of olive oil — along with lemon juice’s ability to combat belly bloat and constipation — improves food digestion.
Is combining olive oil and lemon juice safe?
It is absolutely safe to combine olive oil and lemon juice. In fact, this natural remedy is a combination of two ingredients that appear in many cuisines, particularly those found in Mediterranean regions.
Note: If you experience a negative reaction, such as allergies, after consuming olive oil and lemon juice, consult a healthcare professional.
The Final Word
So, do olive oil and lemon juice have combined health benefits? In a word, yes. The fatty acids and minerals in olive oil and the antioxidants and vitamins in lemon juice are believe to improve digestion, prevent premature skin aging, and more. Of course, more research is needed to support these claims, but if you’re looking for a simple way to boost your overall health, consuming olive oil and lemon juice couldn’t hurt.
Keep in mind, though, that olive oil is calorie-dense and lemon juice is acidic, which may harm tooth enamel. If you are watching your calorie intake or have especially sensitive teeth, consume these ingredients in moderation. Lastly, if you have a health condition or are taking prescription medications and are wondering if olive oil and lemon juice is right for you, consult your health care provider or nutritionist for guidance.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.