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Sweet on Lemons: Seven Reasons to Give Healthy Lemons a Loving Squeeze

Lemons, or "golden apples," were once traded throughout the world as a rare and precious commodity. They were cultivated in Palestine, and perhaps Greece, as early as the first century AD.

The first lemons had many uses. They were, of course, used to flavor and preserve food, but also their juice was used for antidotes to poison and venom, women would use them to redden their lips and sailors ate them to combat scurvy.

In fact, scurvy ran rampant during the California Gold Rush and miners were willing to pay $1 for one lemon-that's like paying $17 today! Other people savored lemons for their healing and soothing properties to the skin and body.

Today about one-fourth of the world's lemons are grown in the United States (mostly in California). Many Americans enjoy them in the form of lemonade, but lemon consumption ranked only eighth among other major fresh fruits, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Lemons can add tangy flavor and intense nutrients to your meals. Plus, they're great for your skin and keeping your counters clean!

1. Lemons are High in Nutrients

Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin B6, iron and potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. They also contain calcium, copper, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.

2. Lemons are Rich in Bioflavonoids

Lemons are a tasty source of bioflavonoids, which are natural compounds in some fruits and vegetables. If you haven't yet heard of them, you soon will. Here are just some of the reasons why you could benefit from bioflavonoids in your diet:

  • They protect against damage caused by free radicals, and enhance the antioxidant effects of some nutrients.
  • They help maintain capillaries and help the blood clot. Weak capillaries can lead to easy bruising, brain and retinal hemorrhages, bleeding gums and other abnormalities.
  • They may help prevent heart diseases.
  • They act as natural antibiotics and may protect the body from cancer-causing substances.

3. Lemon Juice is Anti-Bacterial

You can use a solution of half lemon juice and half hot water as an effective gargle for mouth ulcers, canker sores and sore throats. The anti-bacterial properties make it highly effective, plus it's inexpensive and pleasant tasting. Lemon juice can even be dabbed directly on cold sores.

When Life Gives You Lemons ... Some Lemony Tips to Use

  • A room temperature lemon will yield more juice than a cold one.
  • Fresh lemon juice can be frozen in ice cube trays and saved for later use.
  • Meat can be tenderized by marinating it in lemon juice.
  • Put lemon wedges inside a chicken and bake for a tasty meal.
  • Squeezing lemon juice on steaming vegetables will keep the colors bright.
  • When using the lemon peel, such as for lemon zest, wash it thoroughly first.
  • Lemons can be kept in a refrigerator crisper for about four weeks.
  • Lemons with green tinges will be more sour, as they haven't fully ripened yet.
  • Did you know that one lemon tree can grow 3,000 lemons in one year?

4. They Can Make Your Meals Healthier

Lemon juice is so tangy and flavorful that you can add it to a variety of foods-while emitting less desirable ingredients like salt and unhealthy fats. Fresh lemon juice added to your drinking water is an easy and tasty way to add nutrients to your diet and makes a great replacement for soda or other sweetened beverages.

5. Lemons May Lower Your Cholesterol and Blood Sugar Levels

Lemon pulp and skin contains pectin, a compound that studies have found may reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. Modified pectins may also prevent the spread of cancer.

6. Lemon Juice Makes an Excellent Cleanser

Lemon juice is antiseptic, meaning it fights disease-causing bacteria. A combination of baking soda, lemon juice and water makes a great natural and safe cleaner (many common household cleaners pose real health dangers) that can be used on countertops, microwaves, showers, bathrooms and more. For an even better clean, you can use it in conjunction with PerfectClean's Terry Cloths (or you can even just use them dry!).

Lemon juice also acts as a bleaching agent that can be used to remove stains from cotton or linens.

7. Lemons are Good for Your Skin

If you have acne, rubbing slices of lemon onto your skin and then rinsing with tepid water will help clear pimples. Because lemons are acidic, be careful using this remedy if you have sensitive skin or try diluting it with water. Lemons are also a natural exfoliant and will help to remove dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin.

So when life gives you lemons ... don't just make lemonade. Add a squirt of lemon juice to your water, a slice of lemon to your fish or some grated lemon peel to your next batch of cookies. Adding lemons to every food you can think of is a great way to get some added nutrition and added taste for very little added cost or effort.



History of Lemons



Lemon Production and Consumption

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