Lemon – A Lot More than Vitamin C
The lemon, in Arabic laimún, native to Asia, is an edible fruit with an acidic and very fragrant flavor, used mainly in cooking. Nero, the famous emperor of Rome, drank large quantities of lemon juice to counteract possible attempts on his life by poisoning.
In the 18th century, before the power of vitamin C was specifically discovered, the English fleet traveled with a cargo of lemons on its voyages in order to prevent sailors from suffering from scurvy, a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C.
Lemon – Vitamin C and Beyond
Lemon is rich in soluble in water vitamin C. It is a powerful antioxidant necessary for the growth and repair of body tissues, strengthens the immune system, protects against colds and flu, and can neutralize and eliminate toxins from our body.
It also slows down the aging process by neutralizing free radicals, fights certain types of tumors, promotes wound healing, and prevents inflammatory diseases.
Vitamin C is required to form collagen, a protein found in the skin, blood vessels, and other body tissues.
The bioflavonoids in lemon juice strengthen the blood vessels and maintain eye health.
Lemon contains more vitamins, such as E and B vitamins. It also has minerals such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese.
Its combination of vitamins and minerals is ideal for the body. When consumed with its skin, this fruit improves the digestive system’s function due to its high vegetable fiber content.
Its low caloric contribution, only 30 calories/100 gr, makes it ideal for consumption in weight-loss diets, in juices, or as an ingredient for dressings.
Lemon in Our Health
It exerts a beneficial action on the cardiovascular system in a preventive way and cases of arteriosclerosis.
Citric acid helps oxidize and eliminate fats that hinder the heart’s work and are an excellent solvent of toxic substances in blood plasma. Lemons control high blood pressure due to their high potassium content.
Due to its high amount of vitamin C, it promotes the absorption of iron and calcium. Therefore, eating lemons helps prevent diseases such as osteoporosis or anemia due to a deficiency of this mineral.
It stimulates bile secretions and helps metabolize fats. The lemon reinforces the anti-toxic and protective function of the liver.
Due to its refreshing and antiseptic properties and its content in vitamin C, the lemon alleviates certain affections of the respiratory tract and some inflammation of the throat, aphonia, and tonsillitis.
Its powerful antibacterial and antiviral action are indicated in mouth ulcers and gingivitis.
Drinking lemon juice regularly can help people who suffer from rheumatic problems, as it dissolves toxins and crystals in those who suffer from gout.
The juice is not the only medicinal part of the lemon. By unit weight, citrus peels contain considerably higher amounts of phytochemicals than those found in the juice; they contain higher concentrations of citric acid and anti-cancer compounds than those found in the rest of the fruit.
Lemon as Food
It is used to make desserts. Its peel is used for flavoring or in natural drinks such as lemonade. The slices are used as decoration for the drinks.
The peel, pulp, and juice are used to season, preserve, marinate, macerate or give its characteristic flavor to a specific dish.
Due to the acidity of its juice, it can be used to make water drinkable, adding 4 or 5 drops to each glass of water, and leaving it to work for a few minutes.
Due to its high acidity level, it should be consumed with caution by people with ulcers, gastritis, hiatal hernia, or heartburn.
Only buy lemons when they have a peel free of bites, bruises, and black spots. The rounder ones tend to have more juice.
Store lemons in the fruit and vegetable drawers of the refrigerator for up to 8 or 10 days because after that period, they lose most of their qualities.
Before squeezing a lemon and get more juice, place it in hot water for a few minutes, and then roll it over a hard surface by gently pressing it.
Drink its juice at the time of extraction because if it is left to rest for a long time, it loses its nutritional and healing properties.
Lemon Healthy Recipes
Chicken Salad with Lemon and Pineapple
A nutritious and original recipe.
1 pound of chicken, boiled and cut into small squares
1 stick of finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon of low-calorie mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 pound pineapple chunks
Pineapple pieces for decoration
Salt to taste
- In a suitable container, mix all the ingredients and stir gently to prevent them from falling apart.
- Refrigerate until serving time.
It is recommended to prepare one day in advance and, when serving, decorate with small cubes of fresh pineapple around the tray.
Lemon and Yogurt Cold Cream
For a delicious dessert.
2 large lemons
4 skimmed yogurts
8 egg whites
Sweetener to taste
- Squeeze the lemons.
- Mix the juice with the sweetener and the yogurts.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff and slowly add the cream made with the yogurts and the lemon juice.
- When the mixture is frothy, put it in the freezer for about two hours to cool it down.
- Serve decorated with grated lemon rind.
Lemon Baked Potatoes with a Special Touch
Potatoes are usually one of the most used complements in gastronomy. It’s time to try them with a citrus scent.
3 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of sweet paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch slices.
- Spread the oil on a baking tray, spreading it well over the entire surface to prevent the potatoes from sticking.
- Salt and pepper the potatoes and place them on the tray sprinkled with the lemon juice.
- Bake at 350º for about 20 minutes.
- Before serving, add the parsley, pepper, paprika, and a dash of lemon.