For many of us, we are fortunate to live in an area filled with beautiful citrus groves. In fact, the Valencian region is the largest exporter of citrus fruits in the world. Oranges and lemons surround us here in our region, but have you considered what benefits you can get from lemons, other than a slice in our gin and tonic?
Lemons are a low-calorie food choice that provides a variety of nutrients and general health benefits. Although lemons are generally added to food and drinks there are many benefits to making lemons a daily part of your diet. Here are some you may not have known about:
Lemons are part of a team of substances called antioxidants which group together to fight free radicals which can damage your cells and lead to health problems. Lemons have the highest level of eriocitrin, a flavonoid which is a strong antioxidant agent that could inhibit many diseases.
Keep Wrinkles Away
Lemons are full of vitamin C which your body must get from food sources as it can’t create it. It naturally helps make collagen which keeps the springiness in your skin – without it, wrinkles start to appear and although that’s a natural part of aging, you can slow it down with the right vitamins and nutrition.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Both the peel and the juice of the lemon squeezed into a glass of water can help with blood pressure issues. The ideal time to drink is before or with breakfast in either warm or cold water. This kick starts your day, but you can drink at any time of the day and especially good before meals. Ditch the sugary, fizzy drinks, and replace them with lemon water. Remember reaching out for fizzy drinks is often a habit and you can control and change your habits when you are mindful of what you are drinking. If you are taking blood pressure medicines, don’t stop or reduce your intake without checking with your doctor.
Pump Up Your Heart
Lemons are good for heart health as they are high in fibre which helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL). This enables the blood to flow more freely through your arteries, which in turn lowers risk of blockages in the arteries. Lemons are also rich in flavonoids which scavenge free radicals to improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. According to the US National Library of Medicine, the intake of citrus flavonoids has been associated with improved cardiovascular outcomes.
Boost Your Brain
When you feel sluggish or have that afternoon dip in energy, a large glass of water with lemon will re-energize you and help you clear your mind. A big glass of water will also do this, but the addition of lemon adds potassium which helps the water rehydrate the brain and enables more oxygen to reach the brain. The flavonoids also help protect against general cell breakdown and inflammation of the brain which can lead to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Drinking water with lemon protects your brain cells from toxic substances.
It’s that salad time of the year and you want to ensure there are no hidden bugs in your greens. Because of the high acid content in lemons, it can help kill bacteria that may be on your food or your chopping board. Mixing half and half, vinegar, and lemon juice, and adding it to your lettuce or greens and letting it sit for 15 minutes should ensure, as well as adding flavour, it eliminates any bacteria.
Lifestyle, diet, stress, and lack of sleep can add to poor heart health including the development of high levels of cholesterol. According to an article in India Times, a popular tea in India, made with lemon, ginger and garlic could be the answer to lowering cholesterol. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins from ginger, lemon and garlic, the natural components help reduce the fat and assist in unclogging the arteries. Simple to make, just get a pan and add 5 cups of water, 3-inch piece of ginger root and 4 cloves of garlic and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and then add the juice from 3 lemons with a little bit of the lemon zest. Store the drink and warm it up when you fancy a cup. You can add some honey for a bit of sweetness.
Kidney Stone Prevention
A diet too high in animal protein and sodium can lead to the formation of calcium that creates painful little rocks called kidney stones. The citrates in citrus fruits, lemons, and limes, binds to the calcium and helps block the formation of the stones. Studies have shown that drinking one half cup of lemon juice concentrated in water each day can reduce kidney stone risk.
Bleeding gums could relate to a lack of vitamin C in your system. Lemon is a natural antiseptic which can be helpful in helping with skin problems and helping you to protect your gums.
Fresh lemon juice can help reduce toothache when dabbed on the aching tooth. Also, dabbing lemon juice onto your gums can stop them from bleeding. Be aware that lemon juice is acidic and too much acid can damage the enamel on your teeth so don’t go mad, just use it on the areas that are causing a problem.
As with anything in life, to get a positive result you need focus and commitment. If you are looking for miracle weight loss, I am sorry to say you are not going to find it. However, as part of a healthy regime of eating and exercise, there is hope. Lemon diets which involve a detox and only drinking lemon water should be avoided as they are too restrictive and unhealthy.
Including lemon water, with all its amazing health benefits, in your new healthy regime can make a lot of sense.
- Lemon water has diuretic properties, helping you lose excess water that is stored in your body.
- Remember that lemons have flavonoids with antioxidant properties that can help detox and cleanse your intestinal track.
- Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, beneficial for your health and can assist in burning fat.
- Lemon peel is high in pectin, a type of fibre that keeps the food longer in the intestine and avoids the blood sugar spikes, keeping you full longer and minimising the risk of snacking.
In conclusion, there are immense benefits of adding lemon juice and a little lemon zest to some water and making this part of your daily regime.
What have you got to lose?