5 Fantastic Health Benefits of Lemons
“A lemon a day keeps the doctor away.” We vote to swap lemons in for apples in this famous idiom. After all, the grocery staple can boost our digestive and kidney health plus help us lose weight. Here’s the lowdown on how this citrus fruit could brighten our futures, plus ideas for how to cook with it. Our prediction: when it comes to your diet, lemons will become your main squeeze.
Ways Lemons Boost Wellness
Lemons feature dietary fiber, which helps lower our blood sugar levels and makes it easier for our bodies to create and pass stool. The only catch: you need to eat the whole fruit (minus the peel) to glean this fiber. As another plus, the Vitamin C and citric acid in lemons assist our bodies in absorbing the iron from plant foods, like spinach and lentils.
Sometimes, waste products build up in our bodies and we create kidney stones, which are hard and difficult to pass. Fortunately, the citric acid in lemons can help combat this. Specifically, it can assist us in producing more (and less acidic) urine, to reduce the chances we’ll experience this painful condition. For a noticeable effect, try to take in ½-cup of lemon juice each day.
The dietary fiber in lemons (a soluble fiber called pectin) expands after we digest it, helping us feel full. The fuller we feel, the less compelled we’ll be to eat more, which can help us lose weight. Drinking lemon water (or water with lemon) offers the same satiation, amplifying this benefit.
Research suggests that the Vitamin C in lemons might help fortify our immune systems against the germs causing the common cold and the flu. So, the second you start to feel under the weather, start drinking lemon water or hot water or tea with lemon. You just might shorten the duration of your illness.
Researchers believe the many antioxidants in lemons could help bolster our cardiovascular system. For example, in one study, subjects took in 24 grams of citrus fiber extract each day for a month. The results? Their total blood cholesterol levels decreased.
Watch your lemon consumption if you have mouth ulcers or GERD, as the fruit’s high acid content could worsen your symptoms.
If you drink lemon water in the morning, brush your teeth first. Avoid brushing less than an hour after consuming lemon juice or fruit. Otherwise, the acid could damage your tooth enamel.
If you dramatically up your intake of this nutritious but highly acidic fruit, consider taking in more alkaline food and water (like beans and tofu) to help compensate.
Ideas for Cooking with Lemons
Savory lemon salsa: Peel a lemon, then dice the fruit (remove the seeds). Toss fruit with chopped fresh parsley, drained capers, and a bit of extra virgin olive oil for a quick sauce to spoon over grilled fish or chicken.
Sweet lemon salsa: Combine diced lemon, chopped fresh mint, pomegranate arils, extra virgin olive oil, and a bit of honey. Serve over grilled vegetables or fruit (like watermelon or mango), tofu, or bread.
Moroccan roast chicken and lemons: Cut a whole lemon into eighths. Toss lemon wedges, red onion wedges, and chicken breasts or thighs with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Roast until cooked through, topping with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley leaves. For a sweet touch, soak chopped dried apricots or dates in hot water, then drain and sprinkle over the top.
Spinach and lentils with lemon vinaigrette: Toss together cooked lentils, halved cherry tomatoes, and fresh spinach leaves (washed and spun dry) with salt and pepper and vinaigrette. To make the dressing, whisk together fresh lemon juice, minced shallots, some Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, a bit of honey, salt, and pepper.
Hot lemon ginger tea with honey: Simmer chopped fresh ginger root in a few cups of water. Squeeze in lots of lemon juice and sweeten with a bit of honey. Drink hot.
Lemony chicken soup: Prepare or heat chicken soup. Stir in fresh lemon juice and chopped fresh dill.
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