|photo via bigoven.com|
One friend of mine puts it on everything from broccoli to eggs. My daughter and I have been squeezing it on fish, salads, veggies and dips as long as I can remember. My yoga teacher told me that she’s been having it with warm water and honey as a beginning to her day and that she hasn’t had a cold in years.
A wonderful doctor told me many years ago--when I had a severe case of the flu for which I was nearly hospitalized--that one of the best things to decongest and clear the system is a lemon toddy--the juice of a whole lemon in hot water and honey. A folk remedy, she said, that along with many, many cloves of garlic in clear chicken broth, does wonders to combat colds, bronchial congestion, coughs, etc. So it looks like all of us are onto something. Intuitively, taste-wise, and good medicine-wise.
Most of us know lemons are full of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant in our bodies, but that’s not all. Lemons contain a host of beneficial properties, including one that actually increases peristalsis (the bowel pumping action that helps us eliminate waste). As a detoxifier, it’s powerful medicine--particularly for the liver. And for those of us who take statins (that includes red yeast rice, btw), this is of particular interest. The liver’s job in our bodies is to filter out toxins. Think of how important this is! But once this has taken place, where do those toxins go? They turn into free radicals, which are harmful to the liver. So there needs to be a counter-balance. That’s one of the reasons vitamin C is so important. One of its functions is to counter this free-radical activity. Further, when food is not entirely digested, some of it makes it way to the bloodstream and subsequently the liver, which puts a strain on this important organ. Vitamin C helps prevent food from entering the bloodstream and it helps clean the liver from toxin build-up.
In researching this post, I discovered some fascinating things about lemons that perhaps you didn’t know either. Did you know, for instance, that in addition to vitamin C, lemons contain healthy doses of flavonoids, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber? Not to mention 22 anti-cancer compounds (according to an article on Care2) that includes limonene—“a naturally-occurring oil that slows or halts the growth of cancer tumors in animals. Lemons also contain a substance called flavonol glycosides which stop cell division in cancer cells.”
These are only some of the health wonders of lemons. (Here's one of particular interest to diabetics: lemon lower blood sugar levels when they are high.) So start your day off with a lemon toddy and get inventive with all the ways you can add this wondrous food to your daily life. Here’s a start:
Next time you make a stir-fry (with tofu, of course), add a bit of lemon juice just before serving. In fact, throw in some thinly sliced slivers of lemon rind as well. Or, of you prefer, slice a whole lemon in several very thin slices and either add that to the stir-fry just before serving, or top your dish that way. The thing is, you can hardly go wrong with adding lemon. Bake, sautee, etc. Bon appetit!