The Mighty Lemon

The mighty lemon

If there’s one fruit touted the world over due to its widely known health benefits it is the mighty yellow citrus fruit called lemon. From the Rutaceae family of citrus  emerges the Citrus Limonum Risso which comes in several varieties particularly the lemon and the lime, it’s closely related green  cousin. Cultivated in the warm mediterranean region, lemons have a wide variety of  uses such as juices, teas, drinks, dressings, soups, poultices, in the bath and more. There are so many ways to take advantage of lemons’ natural healing power, it is just one of those super foods with innumerable health and cosmetic benefits.

Health Benefits of Lemon

The main components of this fruit are the flavonoids including hesperidoside and limocitrin. In terms of the acids the lemon is rich in ascorbic acid also known as vitamin C and caffeic acid found in the fruit itself.  Also present in this little powerhouse is a range of essential oils such as isopulegol, alpha-bergamotene, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpinene, alpha-thujene, beta bisolobene, beta-bergamotene, beta-phelandrene, citral, limonoene, and sabinene and lots of pectin.

There are endless benefits gained when consuming lemons and you will be surprised to learn that caffeine is prevalent in the leaves and flowers of the lemon tree as well.

Some minerals include potassium, calcium,  and magnesium which when coupled with the vitamins and acids promote immunity and fight infection.

It would be extremely helpful for you to become aware of the benefits of potassium since it takes part in many metaboloc processes including helping the secretion of the insulin, turning sugar into glycogen and synthesising proteins. In addition, all of our cells contain it on the inside, where as sodium is on the outside of the cell.  The movement of of these 2 minerals (potassium and sodium) is what determines the efficient transport of nutrients into the cell and the excretion of waste products and excess water from it. When wastes accumulate in our system, it can lead to various health problems down the road. That being the case, it’s important to have a wide variety of potassium sources in your diet.

Lemon is a common item used in my household for many reasons. The main reason is that consuming it creates a wide range positive effects on the system which we’re all deserving of. From increasing  the metabolism and aiding in weight loss to reducing fever and providing highly theraputic solutions to so  many ailments, lemon is my medicine of choice. If you suffer from high cholesterol, the pectin power in lemons combined with it’s other metabolism and circulation boosting nutrients can help lower your levels. Just mix it with a pinch of salt and drink in the moring to lower your cholesterol levels and bring down your weight.

Why  not squeeze it into a cold glass of ice water for a refreshing drink packed with nutrients for your well-being. It’s delicious! I rarely drink water without it since a small amount of lemon juice will quench thirst more effectively than many times the quantity of water. When lemon juice is added to drinking water it acts as an antiseptic and prevents illness attributable to allergy in many water supplies. It also  helps eliminate sour breath after consuming spices, alcohol or cigarettes. It removes plaque, whitens the teeth and strengthens the enamel, so what are you waiting for? You can’t go wrong, just do it!

Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Viral, Immune boosting

Some of the most prevalent benefits of lemons are the strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral and immune boosting powers as well as their use as a weight loss aid. This is possible because lemon juice is said to be a digestive aid and a liver cleanser. It’s strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties can treat or prevent urinary tract infections in view of the fact that lemon facilitates the production of white blood cells and and other antibodies in the blood which attack the invading microorganisms and prevent infection.

Marinate your meats and seafood in it to kill bacteria or other organisms present in them.

Consume lemon to  reduce fever and subside chills.  I have experienced this first hand when I was recently stricken with the  the nasty flu several weeks ago. To fight a cold, the  healing power of lemons work both internally and by supplying desparately needed vitamin C to your defense cells and externally through  the applicaiton of it’s antiviral properties on the virus and on the mucous membranes in the nose and throat.

Cosmetic Benefits of Lemon

The alkaline nature of this fruit is based on the citric acid that it contains. The antibacterial and antiviral characteristics of this component kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne and canker sores, making lemons effective at clearing up  the acne while the vitamin C is vital for healthy and lustrous skin. For this reason when applied to the face, it removes wrinkles and keeps you young. It’s also an exceptional treatment for dandruff and greasy hair.

Lemon can help eliminate eczema. Using honey with the lemon has anti-inflammatory effects which strengthens the healing power of the lemon and gives support to the fight against infection.

Lemon Works Against Bug Bites

Just the way mother nature has graced us with the presence of certain buzzing nuisances, she has also endowed us with the  natural remedies for treating the poison and pain of these stings when we do get them. Using lemon juice or lemon peel will help the healing process begin and will keep the wound from becoming infected from dirty scratching fingernails.

Incorporate Lemon Into Your Diet and Lifestyle

– Make a home made acne treatment
Mix 1 part of freshly squeezed lemon juice wiht equal part of rose or honey water. Dab onto effected area and allow to remain for at least 30 minutes.  Repeat twice daily for maximum benefits.

– Use for it’s calming effect
Research has shown that lemon balm has a calming effect and may be able to remove fatigue exhaustion, dizziness, anxiety, nervousness and tension. Inhaling the oil also helps increase concentration and alertness.

– Use Lemon To sooth a sore throat
Add the juice of 1 lmon and 1 teaspoon of sea salt to 1 cup of luke warm water and gargle with it 3 times a day for about a minute to diminish the burning sensation.

– Use it in your cooking!
Try a mediterranean okra stew by adding lemon juice to tomato sauce with garlic, salt and pepper, then boil the okra in it till soft. This can be eaten over quinoa or brown rice.

Italian Fish stew is the perfect recipe in which to use the juice of fresh lemon. Add it to tomato sauce, orange juice, white wine garlic, basil, red onion chopped
creamy potatoes and the fish of your choice. Great with clams or muscles but also amazing using flounder or another flakey white fish. This makes a tangy delicious broth to dip your bread into!

Go Middle east with this Lebanese salad dressing. Squeeze the juice of 1/2  a lemon, add salt, pepper, cumin, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil and some oregano flakes. Drizzle over your favorite salad.

Lemon dill salad dressing is a nice addition to your table. Mix mayonaise, lemon juice, dried dill weed, and either buttermilk or coconut milk for those of you that are vegetarian.

Lemon vinaigrette is another choice you have. Mix extra virgin olive oil, (hazlenut or walnut oil) freshly squeezed lemon juice, dijon mustard, fresh chopped thyme leaves and voila, your home made recipe can be served over cooked asparagus, broccoli etc. Be creative!

Try tasty tahina. Add the juice of a lemon to sesame paste, add minced garlic, water, salt and cumin. Mix ingredients well and use as a condimon for sandwiches or poultry,  as a dressing for your salad or just dip some veggies into it and enjoy!

Tabouli is a great dish that uses lemon. Squeeze one, and mix some crushed garlic, extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and sea salt. Then dice tomatoe, cucumber, parsley, scallions and some sliced Kalamata olives. Add this to cooled quinoa for a healthy lunch or light dinner.

Sweet potato souffle stuffed lemon cups are always a unique side dish. Use sweet potatoes, fresh lemon juice, water, cashews, pine nuts, vanilla extract, some pitted medjool tates, ground cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. For this recipe,  you can either cook or use raw cubed yams, blended with the other ingredients and stuff the lemon cup (after juicing it for this recipe). Top with shredded carrots doused with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and maple syrup.

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