Nutritional qualities and Benefits
Sixty-seven grams of lemongrass equals 66 calories and only three of them are from fat. Lemongrass is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, a very good source of iron, potassium and manganese, and a good source of folate, magnesium, zinc and copper. Iron is essential in the formation of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that bring oxygen to all parts of our body. Potassium is necessary for healthy muscles and nerves while manganese functions like an antioxidant, and assists in maintaining the health and proper functioning of our reproductive, nervous and immune systems.
Folate is necessary for the production of our basic building blocks, DNA and RNA and red blood cells, and the prevention of changes in our DNA that may trigger off cancer. Magnesium on the other hand, bolsters our support system, keeps our hearts beating steadily, and promotes a healthy immune system. A zinc deficiency retards our growth, damages our immune system, and causes mental lethargy.
Lemongrass is showing potential as an anti-cancer substance. In a recent study, citral, the main component of lemongrass oil, was able to induce cancer cells to "self-destruct" while normal cells were untouched. A separate Philippine study showed that lemongrass contained beta-carotene, an antioxidant which may be able to prevent cancer. Still another study confirmed that 15 lemongrass varieties had antibacterial and antifungal properties. Lemongrass oil also displayed the potential to protect our eyes from inflammation of cornea, which results in the blurring of our vision and from burning, discomfort or pain.
Lemongrass is also considered a mild diuretic, tonic and stimulant. It encourages the body to get rid (through urination) of accumulated fluids and excess salts, which helps people with high blood pressure and heart diseases, and promotes a sense of general well being. With more investigation in the future, we will be able to discover, in depth, what this fragrant herb can do.