As a long-time lover of lemons, I never quite got the full meaning of when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I fail to see how getting a lemon is a down-on-your-luck, Charlie Brown experience like not getting picked for the baseball team. I guess the promise is that this sour thing could potentially be transformed into something positive through ingenuity or the right attitude. However, for me a lemon IS a gift, not something to overcome!
Lemons are uplifting.
- An invigorating scent that shouts out: Fresh! Clean! Just Picked! Freshly Squeezed!
- A gladdening color.
- A stimulating taste.
- A refreshing essence that says: Wake Up and Smell the Citrus!
- And lemon is one of my very favorite flavours in dishes, sweet or savoury.
FIVE wonderful ways LEMONS have the fresh power to make your life a wee bit brighter
LEMONS CLEANSE and ALKALIZE
Squeeze a lemon wedge or add a teaspoon of fresh lemon juiceto a glass of water first thing in the morning and drink it before you begin the day.
While it seems acidic, when it enters the body, lemon is actually alkalizing (raises your system’s pH which helps to decrease inflammation) and supports your liver in its cleansing, detoxifying role.
LEMONS AID DIGESTION
Use lemon juice in homemade salad dressings in place of vinegar.Or sprinkle on greens or cauliflower after steaming.
It gets the digestive juices going (like hydrochloric acid and bile from your gallbladder) that start to break down protein and fat so you can have optimal digestion, metabolism and absorption of nutrients.
The addition of lemon juice to greens (like chard, kale, spinach) actually makes minerals, like iron for instance, more bioavailable (fancy talk for: easier for your body to absorb and utilize).
LEMONS are IMMUNE ENHANCING
An excellent source of Vitamin C, lemons also contain compounds like flavonoids and limonoids that have been studied for their anticancer and antibiotic effects.
For sore throats: making a tea with lemon and unpasteurized honey is a traditional remedy for aching throats during a cold. Combining the two in order to maximize their antioxidant power has in fact been substantiated by a March 2013 study reported in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition.
LEMONS are REFRESHING
Create a room freshener/humidifier: put lemon peels in a pot of water on a stovetop and simmer, checking water periodically. If you have a wood stove you can put dry peels right on top. If you have an essential oil burner you can use a few drops of natural lemon essential oil and create a beautiful aroma which can take away the presence of unwanted scents.
LEMONS are FLAVOUR ENHANCING
Perk up dishes with fresh lemon zest. Invest in a fine grater; a rasp or microplane grater makes it super simple and easy to add zest to marinades (fish and poultry are especially good), baked goods, sauces and dressings.
The zest or yellow rind is, well – zesty! – and potently heightens flavours. The tartness of lemon creates a chemical reaction in the mouth which we register as intense sensation and big flavour.
Blander foods, on the other hand, lack that ability to impact and alter our taste receptors.
TIP: When zesting, make sure to grate just the yellow surface of the lemon, not the bitter white underneath, and use organic lemons to minimize exposure to pesticides.
From the Summer issue of Ecoparent Magazine (www.ecoparent.ca) available in hard copy at Chapters/Indigo, Nature’s Fare Markets, Whole Foods, and other independent newsstands and baby stores.
Dr. Heidi is a regular food and health contributor to Ecoparent.