Are Lemons Healthy? Yes, would be the short answer. Most people would consider lemons a very healthy food. However, if you’re allergic to citrus (oranges, grapefruits, limes), then lemons wouldn’t be considered healthy at all. People allergic to grass pollen may also have a problem with lemons and would experience symptoms similar to a grass pollen allergy… itching, burning, or swelling of the mouth and throat.
Lemons are packed with vitamin C, antioxidants and plant compounds that have been found to lower cholesterol. A lemon’s fiber content is nothing to sneeze at either which contributes to overall good heart health. There are studies that show citric acid may help with reducing kidney stones formation as well. While there are several favorable health benefits of supplementing lemons into your diet, their can be risks as well.
What are the risks of eating lemons?
The first obvious risk is having open cuts, sores, or ulcers in your mouth, lips, etc. These may cause a stinging sensation when met with a high concentration of citrus like lemons. Anyone who’s had a paper cut on their fingers and juiced a couple lemons can relate to the sting.
Lemons have a high acid content and this will produce a high acid environment when consumed. Some people prone to gastro reflux issues or indigestion may have an increase in symptoms because they’re raising the level of acidity in their stomach and beyond. The high concentration of Vitimin C or citric acid also means that lemons may deteriorate the enamel on your teeth over time.
Are there health benefits to drinking lemon water?
Drinking lemon water on a daily basis is a choice many people make to improve their health, so you’re not alone in having a “lemon a day”. If you plan on having one lemon a day, then equate that to one drink a day. Two lemons a day would be two lemon waters and one should space them out over the day. For example, one in the morning and then another drink midday.
How do you make Lemon Water?
For me, lemon water is the juice of one lemon with a large glass of water (12 -16oz). That’s it. I love the tartness. I love the refreshment. Many times the stronger the better. If I’m in the mood for sweetness, I reach for the honey and I always add turmeric to round out the flavor. However, using mint, cinnamon, and your favorite tea blend work great too. Drinking lemon water regularly should never be the only thing you take in for vitamins and nutrition.
There are, of course, many recipes for lemon water or acidulated water out there. Feel free to experiment and come up with your own. I find that citrus “zest” tends to lend more of a refreshing slant to your drink. While having more pith (the white part of the peel) tends to add more bitterness to the water.
The pulp or segments of the lemon will be the sweetest and coincidentally where the juice is. Last but certainly not least, if you want to add lemon water into your diet but can’t handle the tart taste; lemon water with your sweetener of choice (my fave is honey), will get you to lemonade… and a more palatable taste.
Some heads up thinking here… I’ve seen several lemon water detox regimens pop up over the years and I wouldn’t recommend any of them. You simply won’t take in enough nutrition to maintain a healthy body when you drink nothing but lemon water all day, even if you’re trying to “detox”. Lemon water should always be treated as a supplement to your daily nutrition and not a replacement.
Why are lemons sour?
The citric acid in the lemons is what gives lemons their distinct sour taste. All citrus fruits carry citric acid but you’ll find higher concentrations of the chemical in lemons and limes compared to their cousins (oranges, grapefruits, etc.) which may be sweeter or more bitter than lemons. Your taste buds will interpret your food to be sweet, sour, salty, or bitter.
These receptors on your tongue gather information when you eat and then transmit the information to your brain. When you bite into a lemon, the citric acid activates the taste buds that send “sour” signals to your brain.
While there have been many studies as to why humans developed the ability to taste certain things like sweetness, saltiness, and bitterness. There still doesn’t seem to be a definitive consensus on how we developed the ability to taste sour notes in our food.
How do you use a lemon?
Lemons can add a tremendous amount of flavor to a plethora of recipes in cooking and baking. Every part of this fruit can be utilized to add some kind of flavor to a broad base of recipes.
- A lemon wedge can add a refreshing flavor to water, tea, smoothies, and salads.
- Lemon zest can be added to baked goods, beverages, seafood, sauces, vinaigrettes and any number of beverages.
- Use the entire rind for lemonade and any number of beverages
- Lemon juice paired with butter for fish, seafood and chicken
- Really, any dish looking for a “refreshing” and “bright” addition
How do you prepare a lemon?
To prepare a lemon for a culinary dish usually starts with removing the peel of the lemon and segmenting the fruit. If you are going to need the zest of the lemon then you should zest the fruit beforehand. If you are only juicing the fruit then simply cut in half and grind into the fruit with a juicer or use a kitchen tool over a bowl.
When preparing lemons for vinaigrettes and salads, you should try and remove as much of the white pith and spongy structure that holds the segments together throughout the lemon. You only want the pulp for these kinds of recipes so break out the pairing knife to slice out the wedges of pulp.
Is store bought lemon juice just as good as fresh lemons?
No. There is no comparison. ALWAYS use FRESH lemons to make your lemon juice. Don’t know the difference between store bought lemon juice and juice made from fresh lemons? I encourage you to buy some store bottled lemon juice (yes, even the ones in plastic bottles that look like lemons) and then squeeze some fresh lemons to judge for yourself.
Miles apart in my opinion. Even if you set the fresh juice in the fridge for a day, there will be a taste difference.
Once you get by the lemon tartness to discover the actual flavor of the lemon, the bottled has ALWAYS come up short and usually more bitter.