ESTIMATED READING TIME 4 MINUTES
Did you know it’s National Lemon Juice Day this month? The humble lemon is not only packed with goodness, it has an array of uses around the home.
Read on to discover the health benefits of lemons, and some of their surprising household uses.
All modern lemons are descended from citrus trees living around eight million years ago in what is now India and Myanmar, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Nowadays, Mexico is the world’s largest producer of lemons, while Italy and Spain top the league for lemon production in Europe.
Lemon juice contains on average 5-6% citric acid. This acid is slightly weaker than vinegar and it’s naturally present in many fruits and vegetables. Your body produces a form of citric acid when your cells make energy in a process known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle.
Citric acid can be made commercially by fermenting sugar with a type of fungus. It’s used in the food industry as a preservative and flavouring.
If you take a mineral supplement like magnesium or calcium, the mineral is often combined with citric acid to make a citrate. This is because in this form they’re easier to absorb than some other forms such as carbonates.
Lemons are packed with vitamin C, with one fruit containing around 30mg of this essential nutrient. Vitamin C is crucial for supporting your immune system and maintaining healthy skin, it’s anti-inflammatory and assists with iron absorption.
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant too, preventing cells from damage. Have you ever sprinkled a few drops of lemon juice on an apple to prevent it from browning? The juice acts as an antioxidant, stopping free radicals in their tracks before they cause oxidative damage to the cells of the apple. A browning apple is simply an example of oxidative stress happening in front of your eyes. It occurs once the apple is exposed to the air because oxidation progresses more rapidly in the presence of oxygen. Oxidation will damage all your body cells, however, if there aren’t enough antioxidants in your diet to quench the process.
Lemons also contain small amounts of iron, potassium, vitamin B6 and folate.
Who hasn’t reached for a lemon when they’re suffering from a cold? Lemon juice, warm water and honey combine to make a soothing mixture for the sniffles or a sore throat.
When scientists investigated the actions of citric acid in the body, they discovered it decreased oxidative stress in brain cells and reduced liver damage.
Lemon juice contains other antioxidants called flavonoids. In studies, women who consumed more citrus flavonoids were at a significantly reduced risk of having a stroke 1. Other research found lemon intake was connected with lower blood pressure 2.
Lemon juice contains two specific antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, known to support eye health.
Lemon essential oil, extracted from lemon peel, is often used to ease anxiety, combat morning sickness, and as an antibacterial skin cleanser.
Certain antioxidants in lemons are believed to protect the liver, meaning many people swear by a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon to kickstart the day.
With so many uses for this amazing fruit, when life gives you lemons, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If you’d like to explore further how to support your health naturally with foods and lifestyle changes, contact me today.
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