Forget the lemonade – the real benefits come straight from the source. Lemons are a powerhouse of nutrition often sidelined as a simple salad dressing ingredient – but these citrus fruits are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to heart, brain and gut protection. Here are 3 sweet reasons to get a good dose of this sour fruit.
While oranges, mandarin and tangerines may be the citrus fruit of choice for many of us, you won’t want to overlook the power of a simple lemon – not when you discover the impressive amount of nutrients they’re holding. Whether you add it to your salad, soup or stew or enjoy it with your pancakes – toss the maple syrup, a squeeze of lemon is no doubt the superior way to enjoy this classic brekkie – just be sure to get your daily dose! Here’s why you’ll want to.
They might combat kidney stones
Just the name itself is enough to bring fear to even the most stoic among us – luckily, a few lifestyle changes can drastically reduce your risk for the condition, from eating healthily and staying hydrated to getting in some exercise. But there’s another unexpected thing you can do to lower your chances of developing the painful condition – eat lemons! The citric acid is believed to reduce the risk of kidney stones as it raises the amount and volume of your urine, along with taking the urine’s pH level up a few notches to create an inhospitable environment for these painful stones to develop. Some research suggests just half a cup of lemon juice a day may be enough to prevent kidney stones in people who have previously been afflicted – and it’s worth noting that many people who have kidney stones once, are likely to get them again… and again.
They may reduce your risk for cancer
Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the nation – and around the globe – and while genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle choices all play a role in the development of these diseases, there are a few simple changes we can make to lower our risk. For starters, consuming mainly whole foods like fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts and legumes instead of ultra-processed foods is known to lower our risk for all manner of diseases, including cancer. But there’s an unexpected hero when it comes to prevention, and that’s the humble lemon. Most of us don’t think much of adding a squeeze of the stuff to our salads and soups, but it’s not as ordinary as we might think. Test tube studies found that lemon is capable of killing cancer cells, and though we haven’t proven this in humans yet, there are promising studies that suggest those who regularly consume lemons have a smaller risk of developing the big C. Researchers believe it may be the special compounds lemons possess, known as limonene and naringenin, which are the cancer-fighting elements. These antioxidants are responsible for a number of other health benefits, from boosting gut health and warding off inflammation, along with fighting free radicals and pathogens in the body.
They protect your heart
Lemons are loaded with heart-boosting vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C. While this vitamin is known for its immune-strengthening properties, research shows it also lowers your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Just one lemon has over half our daily needs for the nutrient. The fibre and antioxidants are other contributors to this effect, with research showing fibre from citrus fruits lowered cholesterol levels, while the antioxidants were found to have similar effects.
Keen for a little lemony cooking inspiration? Try our Airfryer Lemon Puffs – they're the perfect lunchbox snack, and they double as an indulgent dessert too. Get yourself a dish that can do both!
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