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10 Benefits of Lemon Juice You Never Knew

10 Benefits of Lemon Juice You Never Knew

When you first tried tasting lemon as a child, it might have gone something like this:

Now, you probably know that although lemons can be nasty on their own, they’re commonplace in the kitchen and often used for cooking and preparing food.

But they shouldn’t just be commonplace…they should be an essential. Why? Because the juice in lemons is pretty much your body’s saving grace. Check out the ways lemon juice can help your body. You’re sure to be surprised by some of them!

Note: For any time I mention consuming lemon juice, you don’t have to drink it straight! Add it to some water and save yourself some pain.

1. It’s crazy high in vitamin C

Sure, you might already know that lemon has vitamin C, but do you know how much? Interesting fact for all you history buffs: for gold miners in the mid-19th century, lemons were practically gold themselves. In fact, they cost a whopping one dollar each. That’s pretty pricy for a lemon now, so imagine how much that cost in 1849!

Why were they so sought after? Because lemon juice has a ridiculously high amount of vitamin C, which could protect them from scurvy.

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Scurvy isn’t exactly a problem now, but it’s still essential to get your daily dose of vitamin C every day. One large lemon contains 45 mg of vitamin C (75% of your daily requirement).

2. It cures…everything

Well, maybe not everything. But lemons juice does help treat swine flu, the common cold, the flu, kidney stones, and even ringing in the ears.

Vitamin C can strengthen your immune system and keep other illnesses at bay…and, well, you already know how much vitamin C is in a lemon!

3. It helps you concentrate (no pun intended)

According to fitness and nutrition expert Jay Cardiello, the mere scent of lemon oil can actually improve your concentration and increase your alertness. If you really need to concentrate on something, try boiling some lemon juice mixed with water on your stove for an extra boost.

4. It’s a natural highlighter for the hair

Who says lemon only has health benefits? It has beauty benefits, too!

When I was a kid, my mom always used to squeeze lemon juice in my hair before I went out on the beach. After a day in the sun, bam! Beautiful highlights. Try it out – it really works!

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5. It can prevent kidney stones

Anybody who’s ever had a kidney stone knows that they’re pretty much the worst thing that can ever happen to you. If you’ve had them before (or even if you haven’t), start adding lemon juice to your daily diet. One half-cup of pure lemon juice per day will do the trick.

6. Makes your skin look amazing

Another beauty benefit: lemon has great antibacterial properties…meaning it can prevent acne and make your skin brighter and clearer! Plus, the citric acid can gradually lighten any pesky acne scars.

You might feel a little weird smearing a big slice of lemon on your face initially, but try it out for a few weeks and watch your skin glow. According to The Dr. Oz Show, you can also combine a cup of milk, two teaspoons of lemon juice, and one tablespoon of brandy for a great face mask.

7. Makes you relaaaaax

Chill out, man.

Tiesha D. Johnson, RN, explains that lemons can be used to help you sleep, sooth your stress, and even help those suffering from anxiety.

8. Helps you….um, go

According to Dr. Oz, all those antibacterial properties in lemon juice helps your stomach process and digest, which is great for stomach pain, but also helps constipation.

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Try combining one cup hot water, ¼ lemon, and one teaspoon of ground flax seed…then mix like crazy and drink. Might not be the tastiest beverage you’ve ever had, but hey, it’ll help ya poop.

9. It’s a great detox

Detoxes are all the rage these days, and for good reason. We consume so many toxins every day in normal foods and beverages we drink, which can affect our mood, performance, and health much more than you’d think.

According to Dr. Mike Roussell, you should be skeptical about many detoxes out there – but lemon is a great detoxifier you can depend on.

10. Helps you lose weight…faster!

If you add lemon juice to your water and drink it regularly, you’ll lose weight. Sounds like one of those fake, crazy health myths, doesn’t it?

Good news: it’s not!

Firstly, lemon juice has practically no calories, so that’s pretty great. But it goes deeper than that. We’ve already determined that lemon water helps clean out your digestive tract well, but it also reduces hunger cravings because of pectin fiber.

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You don’t really need to know what that is – just know that it helps you stop craving those really unhealthy cookies in your cabinet.

Tips To Heed On Your Grand Quest For Lemons

If you want to include lemon juice in your diet (you should after reading this post!), here are a few tricks to buying and storing lemons.

Firstly, buy yourself some nice, yellow lemons, with thin skins. Make sure they’re not wrinkly, as wrinkles may mean the fruit is too ripe. Outside of the fridge, if kept at room temperature and away from exposure to sunlight, they keep for a week – but in the fridge, they keep for four weeks.

However, you can just squeeze the lemons right away, because the lemon juice can keep in the freezer for ages.

Happy squeezing!

Featured photo credit: aly chalk via flickr.com

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8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

Vegetarianism has been around for a long time, finding favor with many people, including Pythagoras clear back around 580 B.C. It’s been presented as one of the most healthy diets around, including being touted by the Egyptians to the point of abstaining from meat and animal clothing due to karmic beliefs. The vegetarian society (vegsoc.org) defines vegetarianism as:

“Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

While it’s pretty obvious that there are multiple benefits to following a vegetarian diet, it’s always good to be informed about the cons of this dietary choice as well.

Outlined below are several things you might want to be aware of before you say good-bye to meat forever. Whether you are a current vegetarian, or contemplating making a shift, keep in mind these 8 things to keep yourself healthy.

1. You could suffer from B12 vitamin deficiency

The B vitamins are especially important for stress management, adrenal health, and brain function. Vegetarians in particularly are at risk for B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is attached to the protein in animal products and without enough B12 you can suffer from depression, fatigue, and an inability to concentrate.

Due to its attachment to animal proteins, B12 is the hardest for vegetarians to obtain when they don’t eat dairy or eggs in their diet. This essential little vitamin can be found in some algae and has been added to some yeast, but research doesn’t currently provide enough information to say whether or not these forms of B12 are of good quality and can provide adequate supplementation.

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The body is unable to make this vitamin, meaning it has to be taken in through food or supplementation. Essential for making red blood cells, DNA, nerves and various other function in the body, a Harvard Health Medical report in January of 2013 found symptoms of a B12 deficiency can present in sneaky ways including depression, paranoia, delusion, and loss of taste and smell.

2.  You could suffer from higher states of anxiety/depression, lower sense of well-being

According to a CBS Atlanta report, vegetarians suffered from a higher rate of anxiety and depression than their counterparts. Read the full report here. Depression and/or anxiety can be a result of many possible deficiencies including essential vitamins and amino acids you can find only in meat products, including Omega-3s from wild caught salmon.

Without the correct supplementation and proper understanding of diet, including the importance of micro and macro nutrients, depression and anxiety can become a serious problem, bringing down the overall health and well-being of vegetarians.

Even though reports on health and lifestyle show vegetarians have a lower BMI and lower consumption of alcohol and drugs, it also shows they suffer from more chronic illnesses and more visits to the doctor than their meat eating counterparts.

3. You could suffer from excess weight

When you go vegetarian it opens up a lot of food, but just because there isn’t any meat in front of you, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary healthy. Though pizza and beer technically fall under the vegetarian diet, it’s not a healthy choice for your waist line.

Just because being a vegetarian is associated with a healthier lifestyle in many cases, doesn’t mean it’s always true. Making bread and pasta your staples and not understanding where your protein sources should be coming from, can pack on body fat, which increases your chances of health issues such as diabetes and chronic inflammation.

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If the choice to go vegetarian happens on a whim without the proper understanding of food control, portion, and nutritionally dense alternatives you can find yourself reaching for vegetarian foods, which could cause serious problems down the road. Nuts are a good example, but just because something is touted as healthy, it doesn’t mean, your should eat it in excess.

Eating too many calories in fat will still cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in carbs will cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in protein will cause you to gain weight. See a pattern here? Not to mention you’ll miss out on important nutrients the body needs by over-eating in one area and under-eating in another. Re-read number 2.

4. You could have a higher risk of heart disease

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables should be a goal we all strive for, but when you cut out meat, you also cut out what is known as complete protein, which you find in animal by-products. Complete means more than just the essential amino acids, it means those amino acids contain dietary sulfur. Without enough dietary sulfur, which is found almost exclusively in fish and pasture feed grass beef, the body will struggle with the biological activities of both protein and enzymes.

The effects cascade downward, effecting bones, joints, tissues, and even metabolic issues. In short, a low intake of sulfur associated with a vegetarian diet can result in high blood levels of homocysteine, which may lead to blood clots in your arteries, blood clots raise your risk of stroke and heart attack. To read the full report click here.

5. You could suffer from low cholesterol

I know, at first you’re thinking, wait, low cholesterol is a good thing. Yes, it is, when it’s LDL cholesterol, which you get from eating an unhealthy diet, but low HDL (good cholesterol) can cause serious health issues. HDL, according to the mayo clinic, is in every cell in our body and can help fend off heart disease, not enough of it though, and too much LDL can go the other way, will be building up plaque in the arteries and leading to heart disease.

Cholesterol, the good kind, is actually vitally important to the making of every steroid hormone in the body! There are six, and without cholesterol the body is unable to convert hormones, and it can cause damage in the endocrine system.

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A vegetarian without a balanced diet, meaning enough protein, enough veggies, and enough good fats, could disrupt his or her adrenals, which are directly connected to the endocrine system and the body’s ability to make and synthesize the hormones your body needs. The six major hormones in the body help do everything from metabolizing carbohydrates, to the electrolyte balance, to making sure if you’re a woman you can carry a healthy baby through pregnancy.

6. You could suffer from lower bone density and osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, the disease where the bones get thinner, weaker, and fractures become a high risk with day to day movements. It’s often associated with the older generation, but your risk for osteoporosis increases with a lower bone density. Bone density can be directly related to diet and lifestyle, along with many other factors.

When it comes to eating a vegetarian diet it’s possible to miss getting enough of the right nutrients, causing the bones to begin to break down. If your vegetarian diet isn’t balanced and providing you with the correct nutrients and the means to absorb the correct nutrients, your body could begin to break down.

Recently, Professor Tuan Nguyen of Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research led a review of both Australian and Vietnamese research around the bone density of vegetarian versus their meat eating counterparts. Helping Professor Nguyen was Dr. Ho-Pham Thuc Lan from Pham Ngoc Thac University of Medicine in Vietnam. The review was designed to sort though years of research surrounded by discrepancies and inadequate clinical data.

At the end of the review, with vegetarianism rising to around 5% of the populace in the western continents, and with wide spread osteoporosis reports – 2 million in Australia and closer to 54 million in America – the decrease in bone density of vegetarians is a serious issue which needs to be addressed, if you’ve cut meat and animal by-products out of your life.

7. You could be at a higher risk for colorectal cancer

Cancer seems to be running rampant through America, and it’s within everyone’s best interest to do all they can to keep their body healthy and happy to prevent cancer from finding a place to grow. In most studies it’s been found vegetarians are at lower risk for cancer, but a European Oxford study with over 63 thousand men and women in the United Kingdom found the risk for colorectal cancer higher in vegetarians than in meat-eaters.

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Extra care needs to be taken when establishing a diet to ensure the body is receiving and able to up take all the important nutritional benefits and requirements from food.

8. You could end up eating more processed food

Depending on how deep you choose to go as a vegetarian, it could create the need to substitute a lot of food and recipe ingredients in your diet, but what happens when you cut out meat, eggs, and dairy and your recipe calls for meat, eggs, and/or dairy? You have to end up using a “healthy” vegetarian alternative which include stabilizers, thickeners, and various other ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Lauren from Empowered Substance puts it into a great perspective with her comparison of Earth Balance, a vegetarian approved butter replacement compared to butter. She points out the ingredients in Earth Balance consist of: Palm fruit oil, canola oil, safflower oil, flax oil, olive oil, salt, natural flavor, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, annatto color. Meanwhile, the ingredient list in butter, is much shorter. It’s butter.

That’s only one example. To appeal to the vegetarian lifestyle food manufacturers have found alternatives which fall under vegetarian, but aren’t necessarily healthy for you. Consider baked goods, which though vegetarian can be filled with more sugars and binders than regular baked goods with diary products. It’s the same with vegetarian items like mac and cheese, without using real cheese you may just be getting oil and thickeners, without even the smallest amount of nutritional value.

The reality is, most vegetarian substitutes contain the same junky alternatives which even meat eaters should be avoiding to remain happy and healthy.

On one final note, whichever lifestyle you choose to work with, remember anything in excess – including protein and animal by products – isn’t healthy for the body. It takes a wide spectrum of food and nutrients to keep the beautiful body you travel around in all day running in prime condition.

 

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