Bright, flavorful, and juicy; lemons are the most popular citrus fruit in the world. From Indian Ayurveda, to Italian cuisine (where lemons are practically a culture themselves), lemons are used all across the world to enhance the flavor of food, soothe a sore throat, and even cure certain diseases. Lemons are rich in many nutrients, such as Vitamin C, pectin, flavonoid antioxidants, B-vitamins, potassium and calcium. It’s no wonder these little yellow fruits have so many different uses! Below you’ll find several benefits of lemons you may not know about that can make you healthier, improve your appearance and simply make certain tasks easier.
Balance Your Body’s pH
According to the Ayurveda philosophy, we should always start our day by aligning our body with nature’s rhythms. This includes restoring the pH balance in our bodies which often becomes acidic due to the stresses of modern life: junk food, pollution, lack of exercise and other toxins. It is important to keep the body slightly alkaline to prevent illnesses and chronic diseases like as cancer. Although lemons are indeed acidic, the nutrient content found in lemons is alkaline-forming. Lemons are one of the most alkaline forming foods around, which is why they are great for alleviating a number of health problems. Kick-start your day with a morning ritual of drinking a cup of lukewarm water with half a lemon squeezed in.
Relieve Indigestion and Constipation
Lemons are little antibacterial powerhouses. Their bacteria-fighting properties destroy bad bacteria and allow good bacteria to flourish in the body, which can relieve indigestion and constipation. Sipping a warm glass of water mixed with the juice of one lemon can stimulate peristalsis, as well as the production of saliva and stomach acids that start the digestion process.
Lose Weight Faster
If you’re on a diet, lemons can be your best ally. Several Hollywood starlets swear by the Lemonade Diet when they need to lose weight fast. Lemons aid with weight loss in several ways:
- Pectin, a type of soluble fiber found in lemons, can help you feel fuller and eat less. Drinking a cup of hot tea with half a lemon squeezed in before meals is a great way to prevent the overeating.
- Pectin also works double duty to slow the rate of glucose or sugar absorption in the body, thus preventing blood sugar spikes that are common to Type 2 Diabetes.
- As an added bonus, lemon juice also happens to be a natural diuretic! This means it helps the body flush out excess water weight through increased urination. Less water weight means less bloating and puffiness, so you look slimmer and fit into your jeans better.
- If you want to quickly shed some pounds before a big event, use this technique: In the mornings, you can make a diet lemonade drink by mixing about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons of honey in a large glass of water. For the remainder of the day, fill a large water bottle (about 500mL) with a mixture of purified water and the juice of 2 to 3 freshly-squeezed lemons. Carry the bottle with you wherever you go and take frequent sips throughout the day. You’ll feel fuller throughout the day, experience less cravings, and gently flush out extra water weight accumulating around your midsection. Just be prepared for frequent trips to the bathroom!
If you’ve ever suffered from parasites and intestinal worms, you know that they can be difficult to get rid of. The key to destroying parasites once and for all is creating an environment where they can’t survive. Parasites love acidic environments, so the best way to kill them is to make your digestive system alkaline. Eating a lemon or drinking the juice from a lemon is one of the fastest ways to make your intestines alkaline and kill off pesky parasites.
Improve Your Oral Care
Whether you suffer from bad breath or canker sores, lemons can alleviate a host of oral health problems. Got a toothache? Applying fresh lemon juice to the area can eliminate the pain. Can’t stop your gums from bleeding? Massage freshly squeezed lemon juice into your gums to stop bleeding and keep bacteria that causes gum disease at bay.
Boost Your Concentration
Lemon balm essential oil, which gives off a gentle lemon scent, has been scientifically proven to have a calming effect. One study revealed that sniffing lemon essential oil had the ability to boost the mood of the study’s participants. If you want to increase your concentration and alertness at work, keep lemon balm essential oil handy.
Exfoliate Your Skin
The vitamin C found in lemons is not only good for your health, it’s great for your skin. Vitamin C is a key ingredient in many skincare products because it neutralizes free radicals and stimulates cell renewal by exfoliating your skin. Try slicing a lemon in half and using it as a facial scrub at least once a week. This removes stubborn dirt and dead skin cells that build up on the surface of your skin and reveals a fresher layer of skin underneath. Your face will look healthier and younger, and the best part is, you used something fresh from Mother Nature!
Detoxify Your Liver
According to herbalists and naturopaths, the sourness of lemons signals the nerves and hormones of the body to activate the liver and kidneys. The antioxidants in lemons also help enhance your kidney and liver function, enabling them to detoxify your body. As previously mentioned, lemon juice is also a mild diuretic which encourages your body to let go of stored water weight and flush out accumulated waste products. You will feel cleaner, lighter and more energetic than ever before. Detoxify your liver with a glass of lemon-water each morning. Simply add freshly-squeezed lemon juice to the first glass of water you drink each day.
Treat High Blood Pressure
Pectin found in lemons can help lower cholesterol which causes high blood pressure. Flavonoids in lemons as well as vitamin P help strengthen the blood vessels. Lemons are also rich in potassium which helps prevent high blood pressure.
Get Rid of Dandruff
If you want a simple do-it-yourself treatment for dandruff, you can combine lemon juice with other natural ingredients like coconut oil to make a hair mask that heals and moisturizes your dry scalp, leaving you dandruff-free. Just don’t overdo this treatment because lemon juice also has the ability to lighten your hair.
Make Your Feet More Attractive
Do you have rough, scaly or calloused feet? The solution might be right within your own kitchen. Lemons contain citric acid or vitamin C which acts as a natural exfoliant to slough off dead skin cells, enhance skin renewal, and brighten dark areas. To harness the power of lemons to make your feet pretty and sandal-worthy, there are two things you can do:
- Make a lemon foot soak by combining the juice of 2 to 3 lemons with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ¼ cup of milk. Add this mixture to a basin full of warm water. Soak your feet for about 20 minutes,then use a foot file to file off any dead skin from your feet, especially on areas like your heels and the balls of your feet.
- You can also create a lemon and sugar scrub to exfoliate your toes. Combine two cups of brown sugar with about ¼ cup of olive oil. Make sure the mixture is soft but not too oily. Then add several drops of lemon essential oil. Use this as a scrub after soaking your feet, and top off the homemade foot spa with some lemon-scented lotion! Not only will you have amazingly soft feet, but they’ll smell like summer as well.
Get Rid of a Fever and Chills
Lemon juice can help break fever and chills by naturally increasing the rate of perspiration. To help alleviate a fever, add lemon juice to a cup of hot water or tea with honey. Drink the concoction once every 2 hours or until the fever subsides. If symptoms persist, consult your physician.
Get Glowing Skin
The Vitamin C found in lemons are one of the gentlest and most natural ways to lighten dark spots and even out your skin tone. Vitamin C is also a key component when your body produces collagen and elastin, the tissues responsible for giving your skin a plump and youthful appearance. Without adequate vitamin C, your skin can’t repair these connective tissues, which results in fine lines and wrinkles.
If you suffer from acne, lemon juice makes a great natural antibacterial treatment for acne. Simply wet a cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it to your face once at night on areas with acne, blackheads and eczema as an alternative to topical acne treatments. Wash the solution off with water the following morning, and follow your regular skincare routine.
Keep Insects at Bay
There’s no need to turn to commercial insect repellents and bug sprays with harmful chemicals if you have lemons on hand. To make a simple yet effective bug spray, simply combine 1 part of lemon essential oil to 10 parts of carrier oil like olive or sunflower oil or ethyl alcohol. You must use a carrier oil to formulate this concoction because water simply won’t mix with the essential oil.
Lemon essential oils create an aroma that relaxes blood vessels and reduces inflammation, which are key factors in pain relief. If you’re suffering from sore joints due to arthritis, rheuma or other inflammatory diseases, drinking a glass of lemon water each day could help ease your symptoms. Lemon extract can also help alleviate pain associated with sunburn if applied to the skin with water. Got PMS or premenstrual syndrome? Believe it or not, drinking the juice of a few lemons each day could help relieve your symptoms.
Reduce the Appearance of Varicose Veins
Tired of unsightly varicose veins and spider veins? Use the blood-vessel strengthening properties of lemon to make your legs look younger and more beautiful. Mix several drops of lemon essential oil with a moisturizing oil of your choice, such as jojoba or avocado oil. Massage the mixture into the affected area on a regular basis and watch your unsightly varicose veins slowly disappear.
Whiten Your Teeth
Store-bought teeth whitening treatments are expensive and contain plenty of strong chemicals that could leave your teeth painfully sensitive. Save money and go natural route with a homemade lemon juice and baking soda formula to whiten your teeth. Simply combine the two ingredients in equal proportions to create a bubbly concoction that you can rub onto your teeth using a Q-tip. Leave on for 45 seconds, but no more: the acids in the lemon juice and baking soda can weaken your tooth enamel, then gently scrub off with a toothbrush and clean water.
As you can see, lemons pack a lot of benefits in such a tiny package. Refreshing, invigorating,cleansing and detoxifying, lemons can make a great addition to your home life.
I was first introduced to the concept of lemon water when I started doing yoga. An avid drinker (of water!), it was refreshing to learn a new spin on an old favorite. 11 Benefits of Lemon Water You Didn’t Know AboutFeatured photo credit: bitzcelt via photopin cc