Citrus fruits have many nutritious and antioxidant properties. Lemons (scientific name: citrus limon) are an example of citrus fruits. Other examples include oranges, limes, yuzu, tangerines and pomelo. Have a read through all the health benefits of lemons and see why you should make them part of your daily diet today.
Packed With Antioxidants
Antioxidant phytochemicals prevent diseases associated with free radical damage and chronic inflammation such as heart disease, cancer and asthma. The Journal of Food Composition and Analysis report in 2006 showed that lemons contain the flavanone antioxidants hesperidin, naringenin, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and eriocitrin. These keep your bones strong and protect your liver from cell damage.
Packed With Vitamin C
I have already written about how vitamin C is one of the top anti-aging supplements in a previous article. Besides its anti aging properties, Vitamin C in lemons also help prevent flu and colds. One medium sized lemon can provide 60 - 75% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
A study of 20,000 volunteers who kept food diaries was published in the Annal of the Rheumatic Diseases. In this study, the subjects were arthritis-free at the beginning of the study. The study then compared the diets of subjects who developed inflammatory polyarthritis and those who remained arthritis-free. They found that subjects who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were more than three times more likely to develop arthritis.
One ounce of lemon juice a day has enough vitamin C to prevent scurvy.
Packed With Limonin
Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds including liminoids. These are naturally occurring compounds that have been shown to reduce your risk of certain types of cancer, including colon, mouth, lung, skin, stomach and breast cancer. Citrus fruits contain the liminoid known as limonin. In citrus fruits, limonin is present in the form of limonin glucoside, in which limonin is attached to a sugar molecule. Our bodies easily digest this compound, cleaving off the sugar and releasing limonin.
In a study done by the US Agricultural Research Service, blood tests were taken from volunteers who ingested limonin equivalent to 1-7 glasses of juice. It showed that the limonin was present in the blood at highest concentrations 6 hours after consumption. Traces of limonin were still present in 5 of the volunteers 24 hours after consumption! Limonin’s persistence may help explain why citrus limonoids are potent anti-carcinogens that may prevent cancerous cells from proliferating. Other natural anti-carcinogens are available for much less time. Phenols in green tea and chocolate remain active in the body for just 4 to 6 hours.
The US Agricultural Research Service team are now investigating the potential cholesterol-lowering effects of limonin. Apoprotein B is a structural protein needed for LDL production, transport and binding, so higher levels of apoprotein B translate to higher levels of LDL cholesterol. Laboratory tests indicate that human liver cells produce less apoprotein B when exposed to limonin thereby reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
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Packed With Benefits For Your Organs
Lemons stimulate your liver to detoxify your blood. Lemons increase bowel peristalsis and regulate bowel movement. These two benefits combined explain why lemon juice taken in the morning have been associated with weight loss.
Lemons help to dissolve gallstones by liquefying bile. Lemons reduce calcium deposits and prevents kidney stones. It also reduced uric acid levels.
Lemon peel contain tangeretin phytonutrients which help prevent Parkinson’s disease.
Lemons can destroy intestinal parasites and bacteria including typhoid and cholera.
Lemons contain vitamin P which is a bioflavonoid that strengthens blood vessel walls and prevent internal haemorrhage.
Lemon contains a compound called rutin which may improve diabetic retinopathy.
Lemons may have an acidic taste but they are actually alkali-forming. This gives it a neutralising property that helps balances out our highly acidic bodies.
Packed With Other Nutrients
One lemon has just 29 calories per 100 g, the value being one of the lowest for the citrus fruits group. It contains zero saturated fats or cholesterol.
It is a good source of dietary fiber (7.36% of the daily recommended allowance). Lemon peel, in particular, contains pectin which is a type of soluble fibre that stabilises your blood sugar levels and may help suppress appetite. Pectin has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels in the European Journal of Nutrition 2002.
Lemon is one of the very low glycemic fruits. The fruit is also a good source of B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and folates.
Lemons contain a healthy amount of other minerals like iron, copper, potassium, and calcium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
Storage and Consumption
Choose lemons that are heavy for their size and that feature peels that have a finely grained texture. Lemons that are more yellow in colour have fully ripened. Lemons will stay fresh kept at room temperature, away from exposure to sunlight, for about one week. Alternatively, you can store the lemons in the refrigerator where they will keep for about four weeks. As they will produce more juice when warmer, always juice them when they are at room temperature. Rolling them under the palm of your hand on a flat surface will help to extract more juice.
Lemon juice is best taken with water first thing in the morning. This will help to flush out toxins in your body. You can also combine lemon juice with olive oil, freshly crushed garlic and pepper to make a light and refreshing salad dressing. Serve lemon wedges with meals as their tartness makes a great salt substitute. Lemons and lemon peels can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
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