Lemon-aid Me Right…
GARDENING has always been my love apart from writing. And the plant/fruit that I pay extra attention to lately is lemon. Yes, you know, that bright yellow citrusy fruits which grab our attention due to its commanding look-at-me colour whenever we walk through the fruit/ vegetable section at the market.
I believe for most of us Malaysians, and myself particularly, for example, are more familiar with limes than lemons.
We used limes in our daily life for cooking and also for other things such as cooking and beauty regime ingredients.
And of course, I was aware of that bright-coloured fruits as far as I can remember but I wasn’t really interested about it. Mainly because it is pricey. One piece of lemon can cost up to RM2 each (could be more in the cities) while a kilogram of limes only cost about RM4.
And being an avid-but-amateur gardener, I am also aware that it is very unlikely for me to cultivate it locally (from seeds) as almost 99.9 % lemons sold in the shops were imported from Turkey and other country with temperate climate. I guess milder climate yields better quality fruits in terms of size and harvest.
For the uninitiated, lemons and limes are highly acidic citrus fruits. Limes are green, small, and generally more acidic than lemons. Lemons are yellow and larger than limes. Good thing is both fruits have good nutritional qualities. And surely, we can see our family have been using either lime or lemon or both in their cooking from time to time. Despite the difference in flavor, colour and size, limes and lemons have the same nutritional benefits and are low in calories.
According to some reports, limes and lemons both contain limonoids that supports most favorable health and helps to treat and prevent cancer.
My fascination with lemon grew thousand folds after my trip to Perth, Australia, last year. Stumbled upon a big lemon tree bearing hundreds of ripe-and-bright-coloured lemons at the back garden in Victoria Park, Perth, was just too much to ignore.
And since then, I have been turned into a newly-converted lemon fan.
If you are an avid fan of American, British and Australian cooking shows on TV, you can see how most of the chefs were using succulent lemons in almost every dish they prepared.
According to Medical News Today, lemons first achieved their healthy claim to fame onboard the ships of early explorers to help treat scurvy, a then-common disease among the sailors. In 1747, James Lind found that lemons and oranges were extremely effective at treated the disease, which we know was caused by a vitamin C deficiency from months at sea without any fresh produce.
According to the USDA National nutrient database, one raw lemon, without peel (about 58 grams) provides 17 calories, 0.6 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, 5.4 grams of carbohydrate (including 1.6 grams of fiber) and 1.5 grams of sugar, 51% of daily vitamin C needs as well as small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.
One fluid ounce of lemon juice provides 7 calories, 0.1 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, 2.1 grams of carbohydrate (including 0.1 grams of fiber and 0.1 grams of sugar) and 23% of daily vitamin C needs.
Some of health benefits of drinking warm lemon water:
- Lemon is an excellent and rich source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that protects the body against immune system deficiencies
- Lemons contain pectin fiber which is very beneficial for colon health and also serves as a powerful antibacterial
- It balances maintain the pH levels in the body
- Having warm lemon juice early in the morning helps flush out toxins
- It aids digestion and encourages the production of bile
- It is also a great source citric acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium
- It helps prevent the growth and multiplication of pathogenic bacteria that cause infections and diseases
- It helps reducing pain and inflammation in joints and knees as it dissolves uric acid
- It helps cure the common cold
- The potassium content in lemon helps nourish brain and nerve cells
- It strengthens the liver by providing energy to the liver enzymes when they are dilute
- It helps balance the calcium and oxygen levels in the liver In case of a heart burn, by taking a glass of concentrated lemon juice
- It is of immense benefit to the skin and it prevents the formation of wrinkles and acne
- It helps maintain the health of the eyes and helps fight against eye problems
- Aids in the production of digestive juices
- Lemon juice helps replenish body salts especially after a strenuous workout session
Here’s are general benefits of incorporating lemon in our daily food intake:
- Lowering stroke risk – Eating higher amounts of citrus fruits may lower ischemic stroke risk for women and men too
- Combating cancer – As an excellent source of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C, it can help fight the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer
- Maintaining a healthy complexion – The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form or applied topically, can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin texture
- Preventing asthma – The risks for developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients, one of these being vitamin C
- Increasing iron absorption – Pairing foods that are high in vitamin C with foods that are iron-rich will maximize the body’s ability to absorb iron
- Boosting the immune system – Foods that are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants can help the immune system battle germs that cause a cold or flu
In short, many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of foods like lemons decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight… A