They are pretty, they are fragrant and they are oh so powerful. Although you may be used to lemons as a garnish to brighten up your culinary favorites, they are a nutritional powerhouse that should not be ignored as a main event. Be sure to stay stocked up on this citrus superfood and learn how you can improve your health with a simple squeeze!
Here’s the key: Lemons are healthy because they’re high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and B vitamins; they contain an impressive collection of essential minerals; they are alkalizing, detoxifying, and they’re antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory… to name a few of the many wonderful things lemons can do.
1. Lemons supercharge the immune system
Lemons bolster the immune system — it’s probably the best-known benefit of lemons, but it’s still worth discussing. The high concentration of ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C, found in lemons is an essential component of a healthy, functioning immune system. Not only that, lemons are high in potassium, which protects your brain and nerves from cellular damage. Lemons also contain saponins, which have antimicrobial properties that fight off cold and flu viruses.
Lemons discourage the excessive production of mucus in your body and make it easier to break down, meaning you’re less likely to get all gunked up and beset by coughing fits. The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin C in lemon also encourage strong respiratory health and discourage respiratory conditions like asthma.
2. Lemons restore a healthy internal pH
Sure, lemons contain loads of citric and ascorbic acid, meaning they’re acidic before you eat them, but once you swallow that lemon water or pulp, these acids are broken down. The combination of minerals contained within that yellow goodness is released into your digestive system, thereby alkalizing your blood.
What’s the significance of all this pH mumbo jumbo? Well, it turns out that most common diseases occur in an acidic environment. The more acidic your blood is, the more susceptible you are to disease or sickness. Consuming lemon on a regular basis can, therefore, lower your risk of developing a disease or health condition.
3. Lemons aid in the digestion process
The acidic profile of lemons is very similar to the digestive fluids found in your stomach. Therefore, eating lemon pulp or drinking lemon juice can trick your liver into producing bile. As a result, the food you eat moves through your digestive system more smoothly and doesn’t overstress your gastrointestinal system.
The digestive benefits of consuming lemons don’t stop there. The ascorbic and citric acids found in lemons encourage your digestive system to break down foods in your stomach at a slower rate. This is good news for your health, as it means you absorb more nutrients from the food you eat and your insulin levels remain steady, rather than spiking.
4. Lemons ward off free radicals
You’ve probably heard of these guys before (or perhaps the band, if you’re familiar with the 90s pop music scene), but you may not know what kind of havoc these little critters are wreaking in your body every single day. Free radicals are arguably one of the greatest causative factors for aging. The oxidative damage they impose results in cell death, and in some cases, the development of cancer.
The high concentration of vitamin C found in lemons is the natural enemy of free radicals. Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants available to us (anti-oxidant — get it?). Vitamin C not only helps our body to heal itself faster and prevent the development of cellular mutation, but it also keeps our skin looking young and producing collagen, which ensures it stays hydrated and prevents wrinkles.
5. Lemons detoxify the body
Lemons promote the removal of toxins from the body in a number of ways. Firstly, they increase urination frequency, meaning the body can remove undesirable or harmful compounds and minerals at a faster rate. Secondly, the high level of citric acid found in lemons encourages increased enzyme production in the liver, which is the primary organ responsible for eliminating toxins from the body. So, the next time you have a few too many glasses of wine and wake up with a throbbing headache the following morning, a nice glass of warm lemon water might be just the ticket.
3 ways to use lemons for great health
Lemon water – Yes, simply adding lemon to your filtered drinking water can have dramatic positive impacts on your health. Keep fresh lemons around and add one daily to your water bottle daily. For even more benefits, try warm lemon water.
Lemon and green tea – The dynamic duo of lemon and green tea makes not only a soothing warm drink but also an internal cleansing superstar. Add fresh lemon to warm or iced organic green tea.
Lemon and honey – If you feel a cold or sore throat coming on make yourself a warm and delicious drink by adding the juice of a fresh lemon to warm water along with a tablespoon of organic local honey.
Pucker up and enjoy lemons daily!
– Susan Patterson, CBHC