THE POWER OF A LEMON
Whenever you are looking for a refreshing drink, reach for a nimboopaani (lime juice) in preference to a cola or packaged/bottled drink, and benefit from the manifold benefits of the lemon.
Back in the day, grandmothers would recommend frequent glasses of lime juice to bring down a fever, and address a number of other health issues, in preference to popping pills. Today, the need for speed even when it comes to recovering from an illness, has shifted focus away from the lemon, except when it comes to health gurus who constantly extol its many benefits.
If only people would take the lemon wedge off the rim of a cocktail glass and squeeze it into a glass of water and drink that instead, says a grandmother, who insists on glasses of lime juice being served twice a day during the hot summer months, garnished with fresh mint, and maybe even with a squeeze of ginger juice.
Did you know that lemons contain many of the nutrients that our bodies require to function properly? Do you often wonder where this wonder fruit comes from? Well, scientists believe that lemons originated in north western India and were subsequently brought to the Middle East and Africa by Arab traders sometime later. Lemons were introduced in Europe thereafter, and by 1494 they were being cultivated in the Azores, and shipped in large quantities to England.
There is a reason why grandmothers assiduously recommended lime juice as a panacea for all ills. A medium lemon contains 29 calories, 1.1 grams of protein, 2.8 grams of fiber, 9.3 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of sugar, and 0.3 grams of fat. The lemon also contains 53 mg of Vitamin C, which is 88 percent of the recommended daily allowance, as well as small amounts of iron, potassium, zinc and calcium.
Lemons are one of the most versatile of fruits, and offer the benefits of their peel, pulp and juice, that actually wield a positive influence over every part of the body.
Good for digestion
If you’re surprised that lemons contain carbohydrates, know that these are mostly comprised of soluble fiber, in the form of pectin. Soluble fiber, as you may be aware, slows down the digestion, thereby keeping your blood sugar stable, and inhibiting colon cancer tumour growth. Pectin is also known to keep your cholesterol levels in the healthy range. Like other citrus fruit, lemons also contain a nutrient in their peels and oils, called d-limonene, which is known to relieve symptoms of indigestion and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
Great for the heart
The Vitamin C in lemons is known to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, while pectin positively benefits your cholesterol levels and potassium relieves tension in the walls of your blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure.
Lowers your risk of cancer
Apart from the multiple health benefits of d-limonene, found in all citrus fruit and known for cancer prevention, lemons also contain a flavonoid called naringenin, also known to have strong cancer prevention properties.
Helps fight anemia
Though lemons don’t contain iron, they are high in Vitamin C, and thus help increase the amount of iron that your body is able to absorb, thereby staving off anemia.
Prevents kidney stone formation
Citrus fruit like lemons may prevent the formation of kidney stones, experts believe. In fact, an intake of just 4oz of lemon juice per day can make all the difference to kidney health.
Apart from the fiber content and ability to burn calories, lemon peel has polyphenols which prevent weight gain.
The Vitamin C content in lemons has a positive effect on the production of collagen – a protein which helps prevent wrinkles.
Boosts the immune system
Warm water with lime juice and honey is used for weight loss and to treat colds, as lemon reinforces your immune system.
Of course, as with all food groups, moderation is the key. Don’t overdo it, even with the healthy lemon. For all your dietary and health needs, first consult a medical expert.