Home  >  Carol LeBeau  >  Carol's Health Journal | 24 June 2013 - Eat

When life gives you lemons, don't stop with lemonade

24. June 2013

Pucker up and enjoy the health benefits of the lowly lemon!

Most married couples fight over things such as finances, how to raise the kids and control of the TV remote. Not Tom and me. No sir. We argue about lemons.

My love of lemons has caused a scene in plenty of restaurants. It starts as soon as the server delivers the water. Tom begins to squirm and I make my request for lemon slices – as many as he or she can carry or is allowed to give out without getting fired. And it’s not just water. I go for lotsa lemon in hot tea, iced tea, Pelligrino, tonic water, diet Coke and yes…lemonade.

I know my lemon obsession drives poor Tom crazy. (He winds up having to tip extra for the hassle!) But I can’t help myself. I love lemons.

From lemon drops to lemon bars, my love affair with lemons actually began in childhood. I was the only kid on the block who could peel a lemon and eat it just like an orange! Talk about sour power! Instead of cake, my Mom would bake me a birthday lemon meringue pie. You get the picture.

So when a friend sent me one of those e-mail forwards about the near miraculous health powers of lemons, not only was I intrigued, I felt vindicated. According to the blog, the lowly lemon could reverse the aging process, cure cancer and more!

There was just one problem. With no real science to back up the outlandish claims, it just didn’t pass the smell test. After clicking “delete,” I went online to some reputable health websites and got the real low-down on the lowly lemon.

Turns out, a little lemon can go a long way to improving your health! In fact, many health benefits from the sour citrus fruit have been known for centuries. Lemons have strong antibacterial, antiviral and immune-boosting powers and are used as a weight loss aid because lemon juice cleans the liver and aids in digestion.

Lemons contain many substances notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin and limonene – all of which promote immunity and fight infection.

I was fascinated to learn that lemons actually help balance your pH level. Though acidic to the taste, lemons are alkaline-forming on the body. (That explains why I’m sensitive to OJ…but lemon juice is no problem!)

The citric acid in lemons can also help eliminate calcium deposits in the arteries as well as pancreatic and kidney stones.

While green juices and fresh smoothies should still feature in your daily diet, the real super beverage may just be water with freshly squeezed lemon. And it’s so easy. At home. At your favorite eatery. Pull out your pucker face and pop a few lemon wedges in your drink. (Just don’t let Tom catch you pestering your server!)

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.