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Lovely Lemons

Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2022
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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Bright yellow lemons are beloved citrus fruits known for their thick skin and fragrant yet acidic juice. Lemons are species of small evergreen trees in the flowering plant family Rutaceae, and they are native to Northeast India, Northern Myanmar, and China. Today are commercially grown throughout the Mediterranean region, including in Italy, Spain, Morocco, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, and Israel. They also grow in places that boast Mediterranean-like climates, such as California, Chile, and Belize. These pretty yellow fruits are delightful food additions to the kitchen of chefs throughout the world. The juice, pulp, and rind can be used in cooking and baking –  and the fruit is heralded the star of recipes such as lemonade, lemon meringue pie, and dishes such as chicken or veal piccata. With so many culinary uses, it is impossible to mention all the dishes whose flavor profiles are elevated by lemons.

Not only are lemons delicious and refreshing, but they are packed with nutrients and phytochemicals, the latter of which are chemical compounds produced by plants to help them resist disease. Scientists are exploring how phytochemicals can also protect cells of the human body. Though lemons are frequently praised in the news for the health benefits they hold, we still have much to learn. Many diets, for example, encourage people to drink lemon water for better health. Though it is widely accepted that water is the best source to stay hydrated, per Healthline.com, “Much of the evidence supporting lemon water’s health benefits are anecdotal. Little scientific research has been done specifically on lemon water, but research exists on the benefits of lemon and water separately.”

Inarguably, lemons are high in vitamin C, a primary antioxidant responsible for helping to protect cells from damaging free radicals. Lemons may also play a role in reducing cardiovascular disease and stroke and in lowering blood pressure, but there is still much to know. Research points to an association between lemons and people who have lost weight. Some research has shown the polyphenol antioxidants found in lemons significantly reduced weight gain in mice that were overfed to induce obesity. It also offset some negative effects on blood glucose levels and improved insulin resistance. This research is promising for folks who have diabetes, as those are the two main factors in developing type 2 diabetes.

Clearer skin, better digestion, fresher breath, and the prevention of some kidney stones are among some of the remarkable and documented positive effects of consuming lemons. Since lemons contain high amounts of Vitamin C and soluble fiber, many people seek to consume more. However, though lemons and lemon water are generally deemed safe, it’s best to talk to your doctor or dietician about adding or increasing your intake of lemons. That’s because there may be negative side effects such as erosion of tooth enamel, heartburn, and frequent urination. Thus, your doctor can help you determine what amount is safe for you to consume to maximize health benefits.

This article is purely informational and is not intended as medical advice.

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