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The Million Benefits Of Lemon

LEMONS LEMON WATER LEMON TEA

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Anti-Inflammatory property

    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.

  1. 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 🙂

-NAKUL BAJAJ

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Are you eating enough fibre

Goodness of fibre

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We often hear people saying, that fibre is good for the body and helps in weight loss. However they fail to mention, that why it is good for the body and how it helps to achieve weight loss. Fibre is one of the most important nutrients studied by doctors, nutritionists and dieticians. Also fibre has a great reputation in the world of ‘dieting and weight loss’. In recent years due to rising blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, fibre has become a focal point of interest for many research institutes and scientists.

So what is fibre?

Fibre or dietary fibre which is also referred as roughage(ruffage in American English) is simply the indigestible part of plant foods. Yes, fibre is never digested i.e. fibre is never broken down by the human body. Hence fibre has no calories.  As partially mentioned in one of my previous reads – ‘What carbohydrates you are eating, fibre is a type complex carbohydrate. However it is not digestible.

This characteristic of fibre raises an important question-If fibre doesn’t get absorbed by the body and doesn’t provide energy, why do we need it in our diet?

Just like carbohydrates fibre can be divided into two categories – Soluble fibre and Insoluble fibre.

Soluble fibre is a fibre that dissolves in water. Do not get confused, I said dissolved not digested. This fibre forms a gel like material after dissolving in water. Water carries this fibre through our body where it absorbs excess glucose from the food in small intestine, hence helping in removing excess glucose to stabilise blood sugar. Another great property of soluble fibre is that it absorbs bad cholesterol from the blood. The gel like material flowing through our blood sticks to cholesterol and leaves the body through waste removal.

Insoluble fibre is the type of fibre that does not dissolve in water. It rather acts like a sponge where it absorbs waste and become bulkier. Due to its characteristic of being non-digestive it leaves the body intact through intestines with all the absorbed waste. Its main purpose is to improve the movement of food through the digestive system and promote healthy removal of stool from the body.

Some great benefits of fibre rich diet

Soluble fibre helps in removing excess glucose from the blood. It stabilizes blood sugar thus keeping the energy level normal. As a result there is no pressure on pancreas to release excess insulin. As pointed out in the post – “What carbohydrates you are eating’’, excess insulin production in the body can make the body less sensitive towards insulin and increasing the chance of diabetes in the long run. Soluble fibre is recommended to prevent diabetes in people. Food rich in soluble fibre is also prescribed by doctors for diabetic patients.

A diet rich in fibre helps to maintain healthy bowel movement in the body. Insoluble fibre acts as a vacuum to absorb waste associated in the intestines. It accumulates the waste and form a bulkier state before leaving the body. This helps in preventing certain diseases related to constipation. If waste does not leave the body, it starts decomposing in the body due to reaction with bacteria. In some cases constipation can cause serious infection. Insoluble fibre helps in removing this waste.

As mentioned earlier soluble fibre helps in absorbing bad cholesterol from the blood. Bad cholesterol sticks to the artery walls and can damage the heart tissue or can even result in stroke. Research has suggested a diet rich in soluble fibre is very good for removing bad cholesterol from the blood.

Soluble bacteria due to its property of dissolving in water can help to aid the condition of diarrhoea. It solidifies the stool by absorbing water thus helping in smooth removal of toxic waste.

One of the greatest advantages of fibre is that it helps in losing weight. Soluble fibre absorbs water in the stomach thus making you feel full. Another reason is, that soluble fibre absorbs excess glucose from the blood thus lowering the state of insulin production. Due to this, energy is conserved in the body which makes you feel full for a longer time. It’s quite unlikely for a person to overeat when feeling full.

An indirect benefit of fibre is that its presence is usually accompanied with other complex carbohydrates that help in conserving and slowing down the release of energy. Hence a diet rich in complex carbohydrates is a diet rich in fibre.

Foods rich in fibre

Whole foods such as brown rice, brown bread, oats, bran, whole pasta, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, cabbage, carrots etc. are rich in insoluble fibre. Hence these foods can help in aiding constipation and help in healthy bowel movement.

Lentils, beans, carrots, apples, cucumbers, celery, strawberries, nuts, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower etc. are rich in soluble fibre. Hence these foods are good for maintaining healthy blood sugar and removing bad cholesterol.

Some of the foods mentioned above are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. It’s good to maintain a balance between the two. Hence foods rich in both should be considered on daily basis.

Daily healthy intake

According to study conducted by Institute of Medicine in 2012, men and women below fifty should consume at least 38 grams and 25 grams respectively. Above fifty men and women should consume at least 30 grams and 21 grams respectively. Most of the labels mention fibre content per serving on the pack. The good thing about fibre is unlike other nutrients it doesn’t get destroyed while cooking. It’s a good idea to include leafy greens in your cook and some salad on the side daily to maintain a good fibre balance in your diet.

One fun and interesting fact about fibre to think about: The human digestive tract is twenty-eight feet long. Fibre helps move waste along this large muscle.

Keep fresh and stay healthy 🙂

NAKUL BAJAJ