Background on lemon
Lemon is the most popular citrus fruit in the world. Lemon’s juice is used for flavoring salads, making soups, lemonade, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, etc. Even lemon’s zest (peeled outer skin of lemon) is used for adding flavor to food especially sweet foods such as desserts, pastries, pies, biscuits, tarts, candies, etc. Lemon is also used in marinating fish, meat and chicken, as it enhances the flavor of roasted and grilled foods.
Just like ginger, even lemon has great medicinal uses. In ancient times lemon was mainly used to treat many wounds due to its antiseptic properties. Not only that, but it was also considered a major antidote for various poisons. However, now days lemon are used as a home remedy to treat common colds and flu infections. As lemon is rich in Vitamin C, its major use as a medicine is to treat gum disease called scurvy, which occurs due to deficiency of Vitamin C in the blood. Juice of lemon is also used to treat various skin infections and skin diseases.
Benefits Of Lemon:
Fights gum diseases
Like other citrus fruits such as orange, passion-fruit, lime, etc. even lemon is rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin-C helps in preventing and fighting the dangerous gum disease ‘scurvy’. When our body lacks Vitamin-C, it struggles in the manufacturing of collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein present in mammals that acts as a connecting tissue between organs. In the absence of Vitamin-C, these collagens deteriorate thus loosening the connection between tissues in the body. It is due to this effect that gums become loose and diseased (scurvy), thus resulting in bleeding from gums and fall of teeth.
Vitamin C is also known to boost the immune system. This is because Vitamin C is one of the most powerful anti-oxidant. As discussed in our article on “How well do you know your olive oil”, anti-oxidants help in preventing chain reactions in the body that can damage the cells. Vitamin-C being an excellent anti-oxidant, helps preventing these cell damaging reactions, thus improving the overall cell activity which in turn boosts our over all immune health.
Antibacterial in nature
Lemon juice contains citric acid. Many types of bacteria cannot sustain or survive in the environment of citric acid. This is because these bacteria needs alkaline (non-acidic) environment (high pH.) to grow. Citric acid has low pH.(acidic in nature) and helps in neutralizing solutions that have higher pH. Due to this effect many bacteria die when coming in contact with citric acid.
As lemon helps in fighting bacteria, it is used in preserving foods. When foods such as avocado, pear, apple, etc. come in contact with air, they tend to turn black. This is because, microorganisms present in the air can oxidize with these foods at room temperature. Lemon juice when poured on or mixed with these foods can disrupt this effect, due to the presence of citric acid. Hence citric acid present in lemon can help fight various type of coughs, colds and flu related infections. Due to this property lemon also helps relieve in stomach pains and food toxicity.
Rich source of fiber
Lemon is known to be rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. As mentioned in our article “Are you eating enough fiber”, soluble fiber is known to reduce bad cholesterol and remove excessive sugar (glucose) from blood, whereas insoluble fiber helps in absorbing waste and pushing it through the intestines out of the body.
This means consumption of lemon can help neutralizing blood sugar, thus preventing diabetes and fighting it in some cases. Removing bad cholesterol from the blood means fewer chances of heart disease and a healthier heart activity. Lemon also helps in removal of toxic waste from the body. When consumed with water it makes us feel fuller (property of soluble fiber), thus reducing chances of over eating and gaining extra calories. It is because of high amounts of soluble fiber present in lemon that helps the person in their weight loss efforts. In times of diarrhea or loose motions, soluble fiber helps in solidifying the waste and healthy removal from the body.
Improves skin quality
Due to antibacterial properties in lemon, it helps fighting some bacteria that causes skin diseases. People who suffer from black spots, acne and skin irritations use lemon to combat them. Also good amount of anti-oxidants present in lemon, help in fighting oxidation reactions that may be damaging your skin.
Drinking lemon water daily can help in cleaning blood that flows through the skin, thus enhancing the quality of the skin and lightening the color of it. When applied exterior on the skin, it helps removing black spots, skin marks, dead skin and toxins. If used regularly, lemon juice can combat acne and the damage done by acne. However, it’s considered better to use with honey, as direct lemon can cause burning sensation to the skin.
As discussed earlier Vitamin C present in lemon juice helps in manufacturing and maintaining collagens. These collagens hold the muscle tissues together by strengthening ligaments and tendons. Also Vitamin-C is good source of anti-oxidants. Thus it helps in restricting the growth of free radicals, that can damage the cells in ligaments and tendons causing pain and inflammation. Hence the overall effect of Vitamin – C helps in reducing inflammation.
Sports persons can consume lemon water on a day to day basis to keep their ligaments and tendons strong, thus preventing chances of injury. Lemon water can also help reduce overall joint pains and muscle pains by reducing inflammation in joint tissues and muscles.
Helps losing weight
When consumed with water, lemon can really help improve the chances of weight loss. As we know that lemon is rich in soluble fiber. When mixed with water the soluble fiber forms a gel like material in the body. It makes one feel bloated and feel less hungry, thus avoiding the chances of overeating. Also the citric acid in lemon kills the bad bacteria in the body and destroys toxicity of food and waste in the body. Lemon juice triggers the liver to start the detoxifying process thus eliminating waste quickly and releasing quick energy to the cells. The insoluble fiber helps in pushing this excess waste from the body.
Consuming lemon water regularly helps in improving metabolism, waste removal and burning extra calories. The increased energy levels without over consumption of food and excess removal of waste help to achieve those weight loss goals faster.
How to include lemon in your daily diet:
During summers lemon water with honey can be a very refreshing drink. I tend to add cinnamon and mint, as I enjoy that extra flavor.
During winters lemon tea or hot lemon water can keep you away from cold and flu infections.
Using lemon with other spices to marinate meat, chicken and fish. It will help in preserving the quality of food as well as providing a good flavor to the food.
Applying lemon with oil or honey to skin can be used as a natural skin mask. Will definitely give you lighter and healthier look.
Lemon zest and lemon juice can be added to your everyday salads, soups, some foods and desserts.
Athletes can consume lemon by adding it to their drinks. Drinking prior to a sports activity can give that extra boost of energy and keep those muscles hydrated during workout or match sessions. Consuming it after the activity can help in the maintenance of muscle tissues.
Interesting fact about lemon : Lemon trees are ever green trees that produce lemon all year round. The estimated produce of lemons from a tree is 500-600 pounds a year.
EAT FRESH AND STAY HEALTHY 🙂