Lemons are food and medicine at the same time. It is best to use the whole fruit, i.e. not just the lemon juice but also the peel. Both fit perfectly into gourmet cuisine and at the same time serve to prevent numerous diseases.
Lemons originally come from the Far East
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe asked his readers: Do you know the land where the lemons bloom? Of course, he meant Italy, the place of his longing. Even today, the lemon is associated with the Mediterranean region. But where it really comes from is still unclear. Both northeast India and southwest China are possible regions of origin.
The lemon (Citrus × Limon) is probably a cross between the bitter orange and the citron. The latter was long thought to be the only citrus species known in antiquity. Researchers from Italy and France have examined all known sources of lemons – archaeological finds, ancient texts, and depictions – and have come to the conclusion that they must have existed in Italy in pre-Christian times.
Excavations at a temple in Pompeii have unearthed six pits that have been positively identified as lemon pits. The scientists stated that lemons were probably offered to the gods as offerings and were considered extremely valuable.
Lemons: Ancient remedy for plague and scurvy
It was a long way before the cold-sensitive lemon could make a name for itself in Europe, especially since it was reserved for the rich and powerful for a long time. In Italy during the Renaissance, it was considered fashionable for noble families such as the Medici to have lemon houses in which precious collections of lemon trees could be admired. The lemon was a symbol of love, fertility, and eternal life.
In late medieval cuisine, the juice and the outer skin were often used to refine all kinds of dishes. Moreover, the lemon was regarded as a remedy, the peels were e.g. B. an ingredient in plague medicines, and in the 17th-century doctors found that seafarers suffering from the vitamin-deficiency disease scurvy recovered more quickly with the help of lemons.
The nutritional values of the lemon
The lemon is one of the healthiest fruits in the world. 100 grams of fresh lemon contain almost 90 grams of water and hardly any fat. The calorie content is only 39 kcal (162 kJ). The nutritional values are as follows:
- Protein: 0.7
- Fat: 0.6
- Carbohydrates: 3.16 (glucose: 1.4, fructose: 1.35, sucrose: 0.41)
- Water: 88.8
- Fiber: 1.3
- Bread units: 0.3
The vitamins and minerals of the lemon
The lemon is a fruit that is extremely rich in vital substances. However, since they are only consumed in small amounts due to their sour taste, one cannot generally benefit fully from their wealth of essential importance.
Can you meet the need for vitamin C with lemons?
Vitamin C is the dominant vital substance in lemons. Two small fruits would be enough to cover 100 percent of the officially recommended daily dose of vitamin C. Apart from the fact that it is certainly not a pleasure to eat two lemons a day, the vitamin C requirement is actually much higher than is officially stated.
And even the official recommendations only refer to the needs of healthy (!) people. For example, smokers or patients suffering from infections or other diseases, but also pregnant and breastfeeding women, have a higher requirement, which (officially) lies between 150 and 200 milligrams per day. However, these doses are also likely to be far too low, so Orthomolecular physicians recommend multiple of these vitamin C quantities, especially for illnesses.
The lemon alone is not enough to cover the daily vitamin C requirement. Other fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C should therefore be part of the daily menu.
Which vitamin C preparations are recommended?
If you are toying with the idea of meeting your vitamin C needs with dietary supplements, be sure to take at least some of them in the form of natural supplements, as studies have shown that the need for vitamin C increases Fruits could be covered significantly better than in the form of synthetic ascorbic acid, since the bioavailability is higher.
Natural vitamin C preparations are e.g. e.g. acerola powder, rosehip powder, sea buckthorn juice, or similar. B. the following preparation:
Lemons can promote iron absorption
Vitamin C promotes iron absorption and can thus prevent iron deficiency. Since Eisen et al. are responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood, which in turn strengthens the immune system, vitamin C-rich foods such as lemons are extremely important for the oxygen supply and health of the body.
If you always add some lemon juice (freshly squeezed, of course) to the salad dressing (e.g. instead of vinegar), then the iron contained in the vegetables can be absorbed much better, although the vegetables themselves naturally contain vitamin C.
Lemons prevent diseases
It is now widely accepted that lemons have powerful antioxidant powers due to their high vitamin C content. According to researchers from the Western Human Nutrition Research Center, people with high vitamin C intake have a lower risk of neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
However, in addition to vitamin C, lemons also contain a whole hodgepodge of extremely healthy secondary plant substances, including various polyphenols count. These include the flavonoids naringenin and hesperetin.
Numerous studies have shown that these substances have an antioxidant effect, protect the body from mutagenic substances, act against inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, and can therefore contribute a lot to maintaining health.
Lemons for diabetes
Fruits are generally not a problem for diabetics – as we have already described in our article Strengthening the immune system. Since lemon contains even less sugar than other fruits, it can of course be used even more in diabetes.
Yes, diabetics can actually benefit from the lemon. It is recommended to always season dishes with a little lemon juice, as this enhances the flavor of the respective food so that less salt is required. In this way, you also protect your blood pressure, which often also needs to be regulated in diabetics.
In February 2016, Diabetes in Control, a specialist diabetes journal, also read that the polyphenols in the lemon peel can reduce insulin resistance and also help regulate blood sugar levels. Diabetics can therefore use not only the juice of the lemon but also the peel to their heart’s content, e.g. B. in fruit salads, smoothies, salads, or in vegetable dishes, such as in this delicious zucchini salad with mushrooms and herb dressing.
Lemons protect the heart
Research Center in Cairo compared the peels of tangerines, grapefruits, and lemons and found that lemons have the highest polyphenol content and antioxidant potential of the three fruits.
Epidemiological studies also came to the conclusion that a regular intake of citrus flavonoids reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. According to a study by Spanish researchers, this is due to the fact that these substances counteract oxidative stress and have a blood-thinning, blood circulation-promoting, and vasoconstrictive effect.
Lemons reduce the risk of cancer
In terms of cancer research, the flavonoids in the lemon are so interesting because they have an anti-inflammatory effect on the one hand and counteract uncontrolled cell proliferation and metastasis on the other. Various studies have shown that people who eat or drink citrus fruit frequently are less likely to develop cancer.
According to Korean researchers from Jeju National University School of Medicine, eating 100 grams of citrus fruits per day can reduce the risk of stomach cancer by as much as 40 percent. A comprehensive meta-analysis at China Medical University has also shown that citrus fruits can significantly reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, which is one of the six deadliest cancers worldwide.
Lemons are good for the brain
In addition, lemons and just as naturally other citrus fruits also benefit the brain. Flavonoids like hesperetin protect our brain from free radicals, inflammation, and neurotoxins, all of which otherwise play a key role in the development of dementia diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Lemon cures for disease prevention
Due to all the obviously positive effects of the lemon on human health, numerous cure recipes with the lemon have emerged over the course of the history of traditional naturopathic medicine.
The lemon is traditionally carried out to “decalcify” the blood vessels and general regeneration. Whole lemons are mixed together with garlic and some ginger briefly boiled and strained. In the following 2 to 3 weeks you then take a shot glass with the resulting liquid every day.
The lemon water cure: In this cure, you mix some lemon juice (freshly squeezed) with a large glass of water and drink it in the morning on an empty stomach. This cure alone can bring great health successes.
Lemon peel is so healthy
As has already become apparent from some of the studies described above, many of the valuable vital substances in lemons are also found in their juice, but above all in the peel of the lemon, which is generally not eaten that often. And even if you do, you use the yellow part of the peel when cooking or baking – the so-called lemon yellow – but not the white part, which usually ends up in the garbage.
But these white fibers also contain very valuable substances. Only if you use the whole lemon, for example, to prepare a refreshing smoothie, can you enjoy all the medically relevant ingredients.
Lemon peel for detox
Citrus fruits are among those foods that contain the most pectin. These polysaccharides belong to dietary fibers. They counteract cravings, help with diarrhea, strengthen the intestinal flora and contribute to the detoxification of heavy metals such as arsenic and cadmium, as a study at the Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center has shown.
However, the pectins are mainly found in the white part of the lemon peel, i.e. that part of the fruit that is usually cut off generously, even if you use a little lemon peel for seasoning. Because the spongy fiber layer (mesocarp) has a relatively bitter taste and is therefore usually discarded.
But it is precisely these bitter substances that are a real health booster. They promote digestion, support deacidification, and detoxification, and also ensure that vital substances from food can be better utilized.
Therefore, do not only eat lemons in the form of juice but rather use the whole fruit more often, for example in the form of the lemon-garlic cure presented above or as a delicious smoothie. In this, the white part of the peel can also be processed very easily and without the bitter substances dominating.
Whole lemon smoothie for disease prevention
Lemon with its peel does not taste particularly good on its own. So you mix them in a smoothie. Vegetables and fruits with a low acid content such as avocados, bananas, or carrots harmonize particularly well with the lemon and can be transformed into a wonderful smoothie for disease prevention.
- 1 small organic lemon
- 1 apple
- 300 ml freshly squeezed carrot juice
- Wash the organic lemon well, halve and stone it.
- Place the lemon halves, apple, and carrot juice in a blender and process the ingredients on the highest setting into a creamy smoothie.
This is how lemon oil helps you with depression and low mood
Essential lemon oil can also be obtained from the peel of the lemon, which now contains highly concentrated numerous active ingredients from the lemon peel. The lemon oil can be used for cooking, in the fragrance lamp, or as a body oil mixed with a base oil.
Used therapeutically, lemon oil can improve the ability to concentrate and help with low mood and depression. The latter apparently works better than the usual antidepressants – as you can read in our article about the effects and possible uses of lemon oil.
So you can use lemon juice in the kitchen and also in the household
If you prefer to only use lemon juice, you will find all possible uses of the acidic all-rounder in our articles about lemon juice. Lemon juice can be used as a natural remedy, but also serve as a valuable helper in the household, e.g. B. as a descaler, remover of grease stains, disinfectants, or as a metal polish.
How to store lemons
Store lemons in a dark place at temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. Then they keep for up to 5 months. But even at room temperature, the fruits can be stored well for at least a week. The cold-sensitive lemon should be kept away from the refrigerator, however, as it loses its aroma there.
Green and yellow lemons: the difference
If you bought a green lemon from a health food store in the fall or early winter, it would turn yellow after a few days in the fridge. Lemons need cool nights to turn yellow. In Spain and Italy, however, it often doesn’t get cool enough until January or February, so the lemons are naturally green until late autumn.
However, since the consumer associates green with unripe and would rather buy a yellow lemon, in conventional retail green lemons are gassed with ethylene (a ripening gas) to turn them yellow. Paradoxically, if the fruit was picked too early, the fruit may be unripe and taste bland despite the color change, because lemons – like oranges and other citrus fruits – no longer ripen once they have been harvested.
What to look out for when buying lemons
When buying lemons, make sure that the peel is intact and that there are no moldy spots. Ripe lemons can be recognized by their particularly intense scent, their peel gives slightly when pressed. Unripe fruits taste sour and tart more than ripe ones.
In any case, you should rely on organically grown lemons, because the conventionally cultivated fruits are almost always treated with pesticides and/or preservatives.
Why organic lemons are better
Organic lemons usually do very well in tests: the environmental protection organization Global 2000 tested twelve organic fruits for pesticides in 2016 and all of them were completely free of residues.
The situation is completely different with lemons from conventional cultivation: According to analyzes by the chemical and veterinary investigation office in Stuttgart in 2016, all 22 samples showed multiple residues, and one sample even exceeded the maximum permitted amount.
This was chlorate, which is actually no longer approved in the EU and, according to a statement by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, can lead to the iodine intake being inhibited. Since iodine is an important trace element, especially for the thyroid gland, it is mainly people with thyroid diseases and iodine deficiency who suffer from such residues, as well as newborns and children who urgently need sufficient iodine for their development.
“Untreated” does not mean “unsprayed”
Do not rely on labels such as “untreated” or “edible skin” as these refer exclusively to the treatment of the skins with preservatives after harvest! Of course, these fruits can still be sprayed.
Lemons: varieties and growing areas
Lemons – both organic and conventional – are grown in subtropical regions around the world and are available all year round. The most important European growing countries are Spain and Italy. There are countless varieties of lemons that differ in size, shape, thickness of the peel, and juice content. In the trade, however, varieties such as Eureka, Lunario, and Lisbon are primarily offered.
Not all varieties taste the same sour. There are also sweet variants, such as the low-acid Sfusato Amalfitano, which is grown exclusively on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It is used to make the limoncello liqueur or simply becomes.