When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or alkalize your water.
Growing up with Greek grandparents, Greek aunts and uncles, and greek cousins, I became acquainted with the health properties of lemons from an early age. I have been eating lemons for as long as I can remember, and in my family stories are told of toddlers eating them like apples and receiving enormous familial praise- they have innate good taste, and will live to be 110, no doubt.
It is not just my family, or Mediterraneans, who believe in the health benefits of lemons. Health gurus around the world praise lemons for their vitamins, minerals, and many natural uses. Big wave surfer and health guru Laird Hamilton says his morning routine is to drink a glass of warm water mixed with a whole lemon and quarter teaspoon of sea salt. He claims it’s the perfect morning cleanse- the salt purges, and the lemon cleanses, and both work together to prepare the stomach for coffee, which is acidic and therefore can be tough.
Lemons are packed with vitamins including Folate, Choline, Vitamin B6, and heaps of Vitamin C, to name a few. They also have significant minerals such as Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, and Phosphorus, among others. They can be used to enhance diet, to increase flavor, as a cleaning product, and as a beauty product. Lemons are unique, delicious, healthy, and cheap.
Below are a few suggestions for adding more lemons to your life. I don’t pretend to hold all of the secrets of lemons, so if you have other great ways to use them, please share!
Lemons and Health Tips
- For a head cold or a sore throat: Heat lemon and local honey together. Either sip as is, or if it’s too much flavor, add to warm water to drink.
- Alkalizing the body can help shrink cysts and prevent kidney stones from forming. Add lemon to water and drink throughout the day.
- Because it is structurally similar to digestive chemicals found in the stomach, lemon can aid digestion issues by tricking the liver into producing more bile and therefore smoothing out the digestive process. Some even believe lemon is a necessary ingredient to any weight loss plan!
- Related to digestion, lemon helps the body process mineral and vitamins more slowly, which keeps insulin levels steady, preventing sugar spikes and dips.
- Lemons are naturally anti-inflammatory, and those who experience inflammation and bloating should increase intake of lemons.
- Lemons prevent Scurvy- the sailor’s disease. It may seem outdated, but a long time ago this was a groundbreaking discovery. To this day, the British Navy requires each ship to carry enough lemons to provide an ounce of lemon juice per day to every sailor aboard.
Lemons and Food and Drink Tips
Note: Meyer’s lemons have a sweet flavor and probably can be eaten like an apple, in case anyone is interested in trying that…
- Squeeze a lemon onto your avocado toast.
- Cut up tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, and basil, add balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil, and top with lots of lemon juice.
- Add lemon juice to any vegan dressing to increase flavor and health benefits. *This is especially delicious with Annie’s Vegan Goddess dressing.
- For a simple salad dressing: mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and pour over leafy greens. Consider adding tahini.
- For a great vegan snack: Spread hummus on toast, add chopped avocado, and squeeze a whole lemon on top.
- When cooking Mexican food, lemon can be added to beans, rice, and/or guacamole in increase flavor.
- Add to any pasta salad recipe to increase flavor. For example: Toss cooked pasta (I like quinoa pasta from Trader Joe’s), tomatoes, avocado, basil, beets, steamed green beans and carrots, and organic balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Top with lots of lemon juice.
- Homemade lemonade 🙂
- For an early morning cleansing beverage (a la Laird Hamilton) add juice from a full lemon and a quarter teaspoon of Himalayan mineral salt to a mug of warm water. Drink prior to coffee and breakfast.
- Add lemon to your water for an easy, no-brainer way to alkalize the body throughout the day.
Lemons and Beauty Tips
- Lemon is a natural astringent and can help shrink pores. Apply fresh lemon juice topically to face and massage. You may either apply it before bed and sleep with lemon on your skin, or rinse it off with cool water. If you have sensitive skin, be sure to first test a small area. *True story: In high school the first time I slept with lemon on my skin, I received no fewer than 3 compliments on my skin the next day.
- Lemon can lighten your hair. Apply to your hair prior to sitting in the sunlight. Consider applying it with a spray bottle.
- Lemon can make your hair appear shinier by removing gunk and residue that cheap shampoo and conditioner leave behind. There are many ways to do this, but I like mixing lemon juice with aloe vera juice, applying to scalp and hair, rubbing for a few minutes, then rinsing out.
- For a moisturizing and clarifying hair mask, mix lemon juice with olive oil, leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with water and a gentle shampoo.
- To lighten the appearance of scars, put lemon juice on a cotton ball and dab area. Leave on for 15 minutes then rinse with water.
- Lemon is great at removing stains. If nails have any stains, apply lemon juice and rub with a q-tip.
Lemons and Other
- Write a secret message in lemon juice. Let it dry and it will disappear. Apply heat, and it will appear again. Magic!
Do you have any lemon tips of your own? Share!
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