The ubiquitous lemon fruit that has been extensively used by human beings for centuries for its culinary and medicinal properties is actually native to the Asian continent. The common variety of lemon has a characteristic yellow color and has an ellipsoidal shape. Lemon is an evergreen species of plant that was first believed to have been grown in northern Myanmar (now Burma), India, and China. Every part of the fruit starting from the rind to the pulp is widely used all over the world for culinary, medicinal and industrial purposes.
It is the juice extract of lemon that finds maximum use. The juice serves as the principal ingredient for flavouring drinks and making lemonade. Parts of the fruit or sometimes the entire fruit are used for making pickles. The juice extract has a typical sour taste because of its rich citric acid content ranging from 5%-6%. Different varieties of this fruit are cultivated in various countries of the world like the ‘Verna’, ‘Ponderosa lemon’, ‘Meyer lemon, ‘Eureka’, ‘Bonnie Brae’, and many other variants. India is the largest producer of lemons contributing to nearly 16% of the overall global output. Mexico, Brazil and Argentina are also big producers.
The Nutritional Content Of Lemon
Lemons have a universal appeal because they are abundantly endowed with a lot of nutrients. Taking lemon water on an empty stomach is extremely beneficial for your health and hygiene. An average sized lemon contains nothing less than 3-4 tablespoons of juice extract. One can identify raw lemon juice by its strongly pungent and sour taste that comes from its high citric acid concentrations.
Lemons are rich in carbohydrates as every 100g of raw lemon juice contain 9.32g of it. The sugar content is moderate with 2.5mg in every 100g of lime juice. Fat content is very low with good protein content. Lemon is highly rich in vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It has a smattering of thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, choline, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.
The Different Uses Of Lemon
The entire fruit including its juice, pulp, and rind are widely used in different food preparations and drinks. The extract is used as a marinating agent in fish and meat dishes and copiously used for making cocktails, lemonades, and soft drink concentrates. The juice also serves as an additive for certain types of perishable food items and as a temporary preservative for some fruits and vegetables. The citric acid in lemon prevents apple, guavas, and avocados slices from turning brown.
Lemons are also used for garnishing various food and drink preparations. The rinds and juice extract of the fruit are used for preparing lemon liqueur and marmalade. Lemons are used for flavouring rice dishes and baked products as well and the leaves are used for peppering and embellishing seafood and meat preparations. Lemon has long been used as an industrial cleaning agent as it was the principal source for supplying different types of industries with citric acid.
The extract is also used as a domestic cleaning source mainly for getting rid of stains and greases from utensils and cookware. It also serves as an excellent kitchen deodorizer and sanitary agent. Lemon oil derived from its peel is used as a solvent for cleaning and polishing wooden surfaces and also for melting old wax, grime, and fingerprints. Lemon oil also finds use in aromatherapy. Furthermore, the antibacterial and antiviral properties of lemon have long been used in traditional Indian medicinal systems like Ayurveda.
Lemon has immense health benefits that have been known to mankind for centuries. Apart from its antiviral and antibacterial properties, it also helps in weight reduction, speeding up digestion, and boosting the functioning of the immune system. Drinking lukewarm lemon water helps in cleansing up the gastrointestinal system. Besides that, there are several other Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water.
1. Helps In Digestion
The juice of lemon is instrumental in expediting digestion as it helps to clear toxins and waste products from your body. The molecular composition of lemon is somewhat akin to human saliva as well as the chemical composition of hydrochloric acid that is contained in digestive juices. Lemon extract’s digestive properties help in neutralising the acidity that causes heartburns and abdominal bloating which are signs of indigestion.
The juice also stimulates bile production in liver that aids in digestion. Drinking lemon water that is lukewarm boosts bowel movements early in the morning and is particularly recommended for cancer patients. Lemon juice being rich in minerals and vitamins helps in flushing out toxins and excretory products from your body.
2. Expedites Weight Loss
You start feeling quite hungry usually within an hour or two of getting up in the morning, more so if you had a workout. This is so because your body had used up quite a lot of energy in digesting the dinner that you had last night. However, if you consume a glass of lemon water that is lukewarm just after getting out of bed, it helps you to control your hunger pangs. It is the pectin fibres in lemon that does the trick.
3. Lemon Water Acts As a Diuretic
Whenever you have a meal or consume any food item, the entire gastrointestinal tract releases many enzymes that help in masticating, digesting and assimilating the food items. There are enzymes in your saliva, gastric juices secreted by the abdominal and intestinal linings, and the bile juice released by the liver. Drinking lime water speeds up the functioning of all these enzymes that ultimately helps you to digest and assimilate foods in a better manner. Lemon juice is also an ideal diuretic that accelerates the urination rate and the renal processes of cleansing out toxic effluents and excretory waste from the urinary tract.
4. Cleanses Skin And Help Maintain Its Texture
Vitamin C which acts as a good antioxidant is abundantly found in lemons. Lemons are also rich in other types of antioxidants. Antioxidants help your body get rid of free radicals that can impede proper functioning of the metabolic and immune systems. Antioxidants negate the detrimental effects of free radicals that sags your skin prematurely and make it coarse by causing the epidermis to develop folds and wrinkles.
Lemon juice extract being rich in vitamin C assists in retaining the brightness of your skin lending it a youthful glow. Lemon extract is also very effective against some skin diseases like acne and psoriasis as it is an excellent antibacterial agent. Applying lemon juice on blemishes and scars on the skin evens them out to a great extent. The vitamin C in lemon is an ideal skin rejuvenator as well.
5. Immune System Booster
Lemon juice is an extremely efficient immune system booster. Lemons endowed with vitamin C helps in battling flu and common cold symptoms. Ascorbic acid found in lemons is a good anti-flatulent, stimulates iron absorption and aids in alleviating asthmatic symptoms. Potassium, a mineral that nourishes the brain and nerve cells abounds in lemon juice. Lemon juice also curbs the production of phlegm in your body.
6. Accelerates The Healing Process
Lemon juice which is abundant in ascorbic acid helps wounds and injuries to heal faster. It is also essential for the healthy growth and development of bones, cartilages, and connective tissues that make up the skeletal system of your body. It aids in reenergizing you as well when you feel stressed.
7. Uplifts Your Mood
The invigorating fragrance of lemon and its juice extract works as a perfect mood enhancer. The unique smell of freshly picked lemons functions as an antidepressant in some ways. The different varieties of lemon have slightly varying scents as well that can help relieve anxiety and uplift your mood.
8. Acts As A Breath Freshener
People who suffer from halitosis or bad breath will find lemon juice to be a good antidote or remedy. Lemon extract also has been found to be effective against toothaches and gingivitis that can cause halitosis. Since citric acid is very corrosive in nature it can eat away the enamel around your tooth if you brush immediately before or after having your glassful of lemon water everyday. To be on the safe side thoroughly cleanse your mouth with a mouthwash or pure water after you’ve had your glass of lemon water.