Lemons are my favorite citrus fruit without a doubt. They’re loaded with vitamin C and bring great flavor to any dish. Lemons are grown on trees and are yellow in color with a firm peel and juicy segmented flesh inside. Lemons have a very refreshing, light, slightly sweet and sour taste to them. Lemons are one of several fruits we typically don’t consume whole, lemons are normally used as a flavor catalyst or to bring an acidic profile to a dish. The sweet lemon varieties, such as Meyer lemons, do not contain as much citric acid, which is responsible for giving lemons its sour and tart taste. Lemons can be used in both sweet or savory dishes.
How to use | lemons are great to use in warm water first thing in the morning instead of coffee, added to hot tea, or cool water for a refreshing taste. Lemon zest is also great to use in cooking, baking, and in salads to give it a refreshing taste. Lemons can be used in desserts as well for a bright taste.
Nutrient breakdown of LEMONS | *per 100g, about 2 lemons
Vitamin C | 77%
Small amounts of potassium and B vitamins
Lemons mostly contain vitamin C, which is a water soluble vitamin/antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables and is responsible for many of lemons health benefits. How it works as an antioxidant in our bodies- given that vitamin C is water soluble, the antioxidant travels nicely through our bodies in both the aqueous (fancy word for water-like) environments inside and outside our cells neutralizing the free radicals. Free radicals damage our healthy cells causing oxidative stress, which ultimately can cause harm to our hormones, blood vessels, proteins, lipids, and genetic code; causing cancer, inflammation, pain, degenerative diseases, heart disease, and aging itself. Lemons may also help protect against other inflammatory diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and help reduce free radical damage to fight some cancers.
Even though lemons are quite acidic, they’re actually the opposite in the body, they’re alkalizing. Potential renal acid load (PRAL) is the measurement of how much any particular food will produce more ammonium (acid) when metabolized. For example fish, cheese, eggs, meat, and grains are acidic because they have a high/positive PRAL value; whereas veggies, fruits, and lemons are considered to be alkaline because they have a negative PRAL value. There is a lot more evidence needed regarding alkaline vs. acid diets, although we can say we all can benefit from eating more alkaline foods for our health!
Where to purchase | health food stores, grocery stores, or farmers markets.
Tips and tricks | use lemon juice to help reduce browning on apples and avocados simply by squeezing a little juice on the cut portion of that fruit/vegetable. Don’t throw away lemon peels- recycle them by putting them in your compost outside or throw down the disposal to freshen the scent of your kitchen sink.
For more a more in depth review of this nourishing food, check out my Spotlight On Lemon post.