Lemons and walking as exercise are both thought to be good for the heart. But can they, together, add up to a bigger effect than the sum of either alone? A Japanese research study from 2014 seems to suggest that may be the case.
A Lemon A Day
Lemons contain many different components that contribute to human health. Among them are,
- Citric acid;
- Polyphenols, such as Hesperidin and Narirutin;
- Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C.
Prior studies have already shown that lemon consumption can lower systolic blood pressure. That’s the first number in your blood pressure reading, and it indicates the pressure in your blood vessel as your heart beats. That effect was confirmed by the new (2014) study.
The researchers used middle-aged Japanese farm women for the study, in fact, many worked on lemon farms. One of the unexpected findings of the study was that the amount of lemon that the women ate actually increased during the study, as did the number of steps taken. Taking part in the study seems to have spurred a kind of health awareness.
The best news is that the subjects’ systolic blood pressure was lowered in relation to how much lemon they consumed, and how many steps they walked. While the mechanism isn’t clear, there are many fact-based theories, including,
- Citric acid can promote the absorption of both magnesium and calcium from food into the intestinal tract. That may contribute to lowered blood pressure.
- Citric acid also seems to be involved in the was blood itself is composed.
- The flavonoids in the peel (which may be ingested, for example, if a lemon slice is steeped in tea,) are also thought to act on lowering blood pressure.
Walking seems to lower blood pressure by a different mechanism in the body. That means, potentially, together walking plus a lemon a day can have an additive effect. You get a bigger bang for your buck, in other words.
The researchers end their paper by expressing the need for more research into the effects of lemons and walking together on other cardiovascular functions such as diastolic blood pressure as it relates to atherosclerosis, and pulse wave velocity, a measurement of how stiff the arterial walls are, as well as a long term study of more than one year to rule out seasonal variations.
With the benefits of both walking and lemons well established, what can you possibly have to lose by combining them together?