A COVID-19 vaccine is a miracle drug. A lemon is a sour and tangy, yellow natural miracle bursting with health benefits.
Pour yourself a glass of ice water, add a lemon wedge (you’ll see why) as you consider these five reasons to make lemons a bigger part of your life:
1. Fortify Your Immune System
India Today this week encouraged a country devastated by COVID-19 to “Build Your Immunity to Fight Covid: Lemon juice in warm water.” Lemons and other foods high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, in fact, help boost your immune system. In most years, health experts recommend vitamin C during cold and flu season.
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The India Today recipe, from a Noida hospital head nutritionist, includes 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and a quarter-tablespoon of sea salt (with an optional quarter-tablespoon honey) in a glass of lukewarm water. The American version is likely colder, hold the salt, with a lemon wedge supplementing the lemon juice.
2. Relieve Bloating After Meals
Dr. Pavlos K. Papasavas, Director of Surgical Research and Co-Director of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Hartford Hospital, offers several options to relieve common post-meal bloating that, of course, include lemon.
“If you develop postprandial bloating,” he says, “get up and go for a walk. You can also try sipping on chamomile, lemon juice, ginger tea or chew ginger.”
But, says Dr. Papasavas, do not drink a lot of water with your meal.
“Water dilutes the gastric fluids and slows down the digestive process,” he says. “Ideally, drink water before your meal or one hour after.”
Weight-loss studies have also noted the effects of lemon. Drinking lemon water, which keeps you hydrated, increases your metabolism. One glass burns at least six calories. It can also help you feel full, making it easier to resist an urge to snack.
One caution: Lemon’s high acid content might not be good for people with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, because it can make heartburn, regurgitation and other symptoms worse. Check with your doctor before adding lemons to your diet.
3. No Kidney Stones!
The citric acid in lemons can prevent painful kidney stones by increasing both your amount of urine and your urine’s acidity, making it harder for your body to produce a crystallized form of waste product that accumulates in your kidneys.
4. Beautiful, Healthy Skin
Vitamin C helps form collagen, a protein that gives skin its elasticity and suppleness. We produce less as we age, as evidenced by our wrinkles. Sun exposure and pollution don’t help, either.
5. Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke and Cancer
Fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamin C and healthful flavonoids — which also might help the body absorb the vitamin — are good for your heart. A 2012 study that reviewed data from almost 70,000 women over 14 years found that those who consumed the most citrus fruits had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the lowest amounts. (Smoking and alcohol consumption, however, nullifies some of the benefit.)
Antioxidants like vitamin C are also linked to preventing free radicals from producing cell damage that can cause cancer.