The lemon is such a kitchen staple. We use it to flavor our morning tea, to add a kick to a glass of water, and to liven up recipe upon recipe, but the lemon’s uses go far past just that. We want to shed some light on a few you might not be aware of — and we encourage you to do the same!
First off, lemons and their juice are rich sources of vitamin C. A 50 gram serving of fresh lemon juice, or slightly less than 1/4 cup, provides 23 milligrams of vitamin C — over 33 percent of the recommended daily value, or DV. Vitamin C, like vitamins A and E, is an antioxidant that supports immune system function. In addition, it helps protect your cells from free radicals, which can cause significant damage. Free radicals are charged atoms that are formed when certain molecules interact with oxygen, according to the National Cancer Institute. They react with cell membranes and the DNA within cells, impairing their function. Damaged cells are the first step leading to cancer development. Choosing a diet high in antioxidants, from fruits and vegetables, play a role in cancer prevention.
Lemons (and limes) also contain disease-fighting compounds known as limonoids. The human body is able to readily absorb a specific, long-acting limonoid known as limonin, according to the US Agricultural Research Service. Both lemons and limes contain nearly as much limonin as they do vitamin C. The results of a 2001 culture study summarized in “Nutrition and Cancer,” revealed that this compound, at a concentration of 100 micrograms/milliliter, was effective at partially inhibiting the growth of human ovarian cancer cells and inducing the death of breast cancer cells.
Being said, lemon is obviously an AMAZING addition to meals & drinks of all types! Aside from being great in food and beverages, this cancer-fighting food has some other great everyday uses that we absolutely love. Lemon can be a great substitute to personal care and household items that tend to be pumped full of toxic ingredients. Lemon does the job well and it’s au natural, can’t get better than that. Check out some more uses for this amazing fruit:
AS AN EXFOLIATOR — Lemons are a natural exfoliant, meaning they help to slough off dead skin from the topmost layer, leaving your skin smooth and refreshed. I love concocting a homemade body scrub using olive oil, granulated sugar, and a little dash of lemon juice. You can use this as a lip scrub, too! Always be very careful when applying lemon to the skin, as it can cause irritation or photo sensitivity. Just a tad is all you need!
TO LIGHTEN & BRIGHTEN NAILS — Lemons are a necessary ingredient when giving yourself an at-home manicure. Add 4 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons honey into a bowl of warm water, and soak your fingertips for about 5 minutes. For added brightness, follow by rubbing a lemon-soaked cotton ball over your nails a few times. Then rinse.
AS HOME DECOR — We love the way a bowl of lemons looks sitting atop a dining room table. We wouldn’t recommend buying lemons just to use as decor, but it’s a lovely added use for them in the interim before using them for something else!
TO FRESHEN BREATH — If you’re in need of a quick freshener and don’t have access to a toothbrush, a lemon should do the trick! Simply swish a bit of water mixed with lemon juice in your mouth for 30 seconds, or chew on a lemon slice. Easy as that.
TO BRIGHTEN YOUR WHITE CLOTHES — Lemon is a great way to get the cleaning affects of bleach naturally on your white clothes. Just add a cup of lemon juice into your washing machine along with your normal detergent, and watch it work its magic.
TO AID DIGESTION & SUPPORT IMMUNITY — Drinking a glass of warm lemon water first thing every morning does wonders for digestion and immunity, as well as to detox the body, and so much more.
TO ELIMINATE ODORS — If you’ve got a strange smell in your refrigerator or other contained space, place a lemon peel or a lemon-soaked cotton ball in the area. The air will be refreshed in no time.
TO KEEP YOUR GUAC FROM BROWNING — The citric acid in lemons can help slow the oxidation process in certain fruits and vegetables, so add it to your guacamole! We also like to soak apple slices in lemon juice before adding them to a salad for this very reason.
TO HIGHLIGHT HAIR — Lemons have long been used as a way to bring out natural highlights in the hair.