Loveable lemons

This juicy fruit is tasty, healthy and immensely useful

Lemons

Lemon fruit is the most used flavouring agent after sugar and salt. It not only tantalises the taste buds but also benefits your body.

Health benefits

  • Lemon detoxifies the system and flushes toxins. It contains citrate, which prevents the formation of calculi/stones.
  • It helps ward off sea sickness [a boon for sailors] and prevents scurvy due to its anti-emetic [preventing nausea and vomiting] property and high content of vitamin C. Pregnant women use it to reduce morning sickness and nausea.
  • The high amount of vitamin C makes it a potent antioxidant and reduces free radicals.
  • It prevents constipation and cleanses the digestive system.
  • Lemons come to the rescue in urinary infections as they offer the alkaline medium the body needs. The alkaline property also helps reduce deposition of uric acid in gout.
  • Lemons work as an expectorant [when beaten well with egg white and taken at bedtime].
  • Lemons reduce the oiliness of the skin and help clear acne marks.
  • Athlete's foot can be treated by applying a mixture of lemon and papaya juice.
  • A mix of lemon juice and olive oil helps in reducing eczema.

Culinary benefits

lime juiceLemon is known as a 'flavour catalyst' in the culinary world as it contains citric acid and enhances the taste of the other food. It is a great appetiser; it's no wonder then that restaurants serve lemons and lemon pickle before serving you food.

It can be used as a tenderiser for meat as it breaks down the connective tissue to render meat softer and easier to cook. It also acts as a preservative in home-made jams and pickles and assists in setting of jellies.

Not only is the juice of lemons beneficial, its peel/rind is useful too; it is an important ingredient in several bakes and cakes.

Other benefits

  • It acts as a deodoriser in microwaves and refrigerators and can also be used as a bathroom freshener.
  • When mixed with salt, it acts as a good cleaning agent to remove tarnish from brass, copper and aluminium vessels. However, use it with caution to remove stains from marble tops as excess contact can cause damage.
  • It acts as an insecticide when added to water used to clean floors.
  • Lemon juice when squeezed in nooks and crevices keeps ants and cockroaches at bay.
  • Lemons can be used as a disinfectant on wounds and to clean smelly hands.
  • Lemons add gloss to hair, minimise dandruff and act as an astringent and bleach for the skin.

Take note

When buying lemons, choose the smaller and heavier ones. Lemons are best used freshly squeezed. The ready-made variety of lemon juice contains citric and sulphuric acid and should not be used for medicinal purposes.

However, you can use it on occasion as a replacement for the real lemons while cooking. People with gastric reflux need to limit or avoid the consumption of lemon as it increases heartburn. People with sensitive teeth too should avoid eating it. Breast-fed babies sometimes refuse milk if the mother has consumed lemon juice.

Try this

  • To prevent cracking of eggs when boiling, add lemon juice to the water. It will also make the egg peeling easy.
  • To maintain the colour of vegetables and fruits, add lemon juice while cooking.
  • To retain the crispness of lettuce, add a little lemon juice to a bowl of cold water and refrigerate for an hour.
  • To prevent rice from turning sticky, add a few drops of lemon juice to the cooking water.

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Beena Wagle
Beena Wagle is a practising homoeopath with a fellowship in applied nutrition. Her profession is her passion. Her hobbies include interactive workshops and talks. She is based in Mumbai and can be contacted at dr.beenawagle@gmail.com.

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