One of my favorite fruit trees in my orchard are my lemon trees. Thankfully they are generous producers and I enjoy the benefits for months each year. There are many reasons why I enjoy my lemons trees and wanted to share them with you.
Lemon is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. The nutritional composition of this citrus fruit makes it amazing natural cleansing and healing (anti-inflammatory and antibiotic) agent for your body.
Lemon belongs to the family of Citrus fruits (orange, pomelo, tangerine and grapefruit). Though, it is the smallest fruit in this family, it holds more health benefiting nutrients with least calories. Besides being excellent source of vitamin C and minerals like calcium, potassium, iron and copper; it is a good source of vitamin B (thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and folate) too.
Phytonutrients i.e. bio-flavonoids (limonoids) found in lemon are powerful antioxidants that help fight off damaging free radicals, reduce inflammation and boost immune system function. Lemon also has some vitamin A and other bio-flavonoids (ß-carotenes, xanthin and lutein) that help in maintaining healthy vision and firm younger looking skin. Research suggests that besides health promoting vitamins and minerals, these bio-flavanoids and pectin fiber in lemon help in reducing the risk of chronic diseases like obesity, arthritis, coronary heart diseases and cancers. These foods can also help lower your risk for heart disease.
With zero saturated fat and cholesterol, lemon is a low glycemic index food that is full of natural goodness. Here is a list of health benefits of making lemon a part of your daily diet:
- Improves Digestion: Citric acid in lemon gives it an acidic taste. It is a natural preservative, which stimulates secretion of digestive (gastric and bile) juices inside your body and facilitates healthy digestion. Lemon also helps in enzyme function and better absorption of nutrients from the food. This is the reason, why drinking lemon water is often recommended as a home remedy for indigestion, bloating and associated heartburn.
- Flushes out toxins: Lemon assists in functioning and cleansing of liver, which improves elimination of wastes from your body. Besides regulating your bowel movement, lemon also works as diuretic and is found useful in treating urinary tract infections (UTI) by flushing out toxins from the body.
- Aids in Weight Reduction: By improving digestion and bowel movement lemon helps in reducing your weight. Some studies also suggest that lemon contains a soluble fiber called pectin that aids in weight-loss by making you feel full for longer and reducing hunger cravings.
- Boosts Immunity: High vitamin C in lemon has medicinal properties. It stimulates production of white blood cells that are vital for optimal functioning of your immune system. Additionally, antioxidants in lemon are powerful free radicals scavengers that help in reducing inflammation. These therapeutic properties of lemon help in preventing and treating recurrent ear and respiratory viral infections (cold, flu, sore throat and tonsil inflammation).
- Promotes Healing: Vitamin C in lemon has anti-septic properties that help in healing wound and injury. The minerals (calcium, potassium, magnesium) found in lemon also aid in repair and strengthening of bones, joints, muscles and cartilages. These qualities make lemon water an excellent drink to replenish electrolytes after a strenuous workout session.
- Combats Cancer: The powerful antioxidants (Vitamin C and bio-flavanoids) in lemon provide protection against the pro-inflammatory free radicals, the main culprit behind the cancer menace. Studies suggest that consumption of natural fruits rich in bio-flavanoids like lemon helps body to protect against cancer of oral cavity, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. D-limonene is a unique phytochemical in lemons that has intriguing anti-cancer properties.
- Lowers Stroke Risk: Free radicals can cause serious damage to blood vessels and can contribute to cholesterol build up in the artery walls, which can lead to atherosclerosis and other heart disease. The antioxidant properties of lemon help in purifying blood and cleansing of arteries, which help in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Controls Blood Pressure: Besides antioxidant properties of lemon, the high potassium content in it helps in controlling your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Balances your Body’s pH: High mineral content of lemon helps in reducing overall acidity in your body and protect against many diseases associated with it. Lemon is found beneficial in relieving gout (knee and joints pain) caused by accumulation of excess uric acid in the joints. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones, gallstones and pancreatic stones.
- Protects against Arthritis: The diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties of lemon helps in preventing, treating and healing rheumatism, inflammatory polyarthritis and arthritis.
- Enhances Mood: The refreshing smell of lemon has natural mood enhancing and stress busting effects on your body. High potassium content in lemon also helps in nourishing your brain and nerve cells; and reducing anxiety and depression symptoms.
- Rejuvenates Skin: Vitamin C in lemon stimulates production of collagen, which is essential for maintaining healthy skin. Antioxidants and vitamin C in lemon also have anti-ageing effects on skin by providing protection against UV damage and reducing wrinkles, blackheads and acne.
- Relives Itching & Burning: Lemon has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that help in soothing inflammation, irritation and burning sensation in the skin due to sun burn, insect bites or bee sting.
- Prevents Asthma: High vitamin C content of lemon helps in reducing the risks of developing asthma.
- Increases iron absorption: Iron is important for optimal functioning of your immune system and vitamin C in lemon helps in maximizing absorption of iron from your food. So, next time remember to pair up iron rich foods (spinach and chickpeas) with lemon for that immunity boost.
Now, start using lemon as an ingredient in your daily meals to get these amazing health benefits. Though, lemons are commonly used as flavoring base in beverages or making refreshing drinks like lemonade or iced lemon tea. You can also grate the outermost part of the rind using zester to get lemon zest, which can be used in variety of dishes (pies, cakes, pastry dough, and marinades) to bring rich flavour.
However, to get the maximum health benefits of lemon, drink a glass of lukewarm water with lemon juice first thing in the morning. Just take one precaution, do not brush your teeth just after drinking lemon water. You can also consider rinsing your mouth with plain water after your lemon drink to protect your teeth enamel. Do you eat enough whole fruits and vegetables?