Jul 11, 2017

When life gives you lemons…

The lemon.

More than just the slice that accompanies the ice in your tipple of choice, the humble lemon has many redeeming qualities. And it’s not just the sour juice that holds the most healthy of benefits -  it’s everything -  including the pith and skin.

So if you don’t eat many fresh lemons in your day-today diet, then perhaps you should? These small yellow fruits that deliver a face scrunching hit offer a myriad of health benefits…

Diabetes: Lemons contain hesperetin, which belongs to a class of flavonoids. Saving you the full chemistry lesson, the Flavanoid nutrient group is most famous for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Hesperatin can help to lower blood sugar levels (when they are high). Lemons also contain the bioflavanoid, Rutin, which has been shown in research to improve the symptoms of eye disorders, including diabetic retinopathy.

Nutrition: Probably less of a surprise, but lemons also contain a whole host of nutritious vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C is the obvious one, but did you know that they also contain citric acid, a weak organic acid that plays a key role in metabolism and can be helpful for people with kidney stones? And it doesn’t stop there, they also contain B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fibre. They are literally bursting with natural goodness.

Balances Body Chemistry:  The human body likes to operate at an optimum PH level. It is thought that a PH level that is “off kilter” can contribute to fatigue, weight gain, cancer and heart disease. Lemons however, while acidic, interact with the body’s metabolism to have an alkalising effect on the bodily fluids; helping to restore balance to the body’s pH. So if you have a diet that is high in dairy, red meat and sugar, try to get more lemons into your diet and get your pH levels back to normal.

Allergies: It’s back to those old flavonoids again, but the combination of vitamin C and bioflavonoids in lemons act as a natural antihistamine and natural decongestant, and possess strong anti-allergy properties. So, if you’re a sufferer of Hayfever at this time of year, regularly drink water with a squeeze of lemon juice to help alleviate your symptoms.

Cancer:  Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds, including limonene—a naturally-occurring oil that slows or halts the growth of cancer tumors in animals. They also contain a substance called flavonol glycosides which stop cell division in cancer cells. Furthermore, the peel of the lemon contains a potent phytonutrient tangeretin. Avoiding another science lesson; phytonutrients are the chemicals produced by plants that help them to stay healthy by protecting them from the likes of UV rays and insect attacks for example. In humans, phytonutrients have been seen to be effective for brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

Anti-Aging:  Put down that face cream and grab a lemon. The good news is that the vitamin C found in lemons helps to neutralise free radicals linked to aging and most types of disease. Perhaps the secret to eternal youth isn’t so secret afterall?

So, what’s the moral of this story?

When life gives you lemons – eat them!

We’re a nation that loves a superfood. From kale to sweet potatoes, blueberries to acai, we’re always looking for the next best healing superfood. But perhaps in our quest for the next best thing we’re forgetting some of the good old basics?

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