For centuries, people have espoused the benefits of consuming lemons. In traditional ayurvedic medicine, for instance, it is believed that consuming lukewarm water flavoured with a slice of lemon first thing in the morning helps to detoxify the digestive system. Today, there are also plenty of indications in modern science that lemon has many health benefits.
When Life Gives You Lemons…
… You had better fix yourself a glass of lemonade (or two). Lemons are rich in vitamin C — one lemon provides essentially half of your recommended daily intake of the vitamin — which does your body a whole world of good, from boosting your immune system (so that you can avoid catching that terrible cold that’s going around the office), to keeping your teeth and bones healthy.
Need more convincing? Well, lemons are high in antioxidants, which are really important for cardiovascular health and may also improve your cholesterol levels. Those antioxidants in lemons can potentially also do wonders for clearing up your acne-prone skin; furthermore, lemons can boost your body’s production of collagen. Last, but not least, it has even been claimed that consuming the juice of a lemon can help with your weight loss goals.
Here are five ways to include lemon in your diet:
1. Add it to Your Marinades
Lemon juice is a great addition to any marinade! If you’re having a garden salad, toss it with a dressing that’s a combination of extra virgin olive oil, honey and lemon juice. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, plus the zest of lemon, and you have yourself a delicious salad. Lemon juice can also add so much flavour to marinades for seafood and poultry dishes. A squeeze of lemon can bring a simple recipe to a whole new level of deliciousness.
2. Infuse Your Water with a Slice of Lemon
Instead of just consuming plain water, fancy it up by adding in a slice of lemon for flavour (incidentally, water with lemon is known for its effectiveness in reducing water retention). Have you heard the song lyrics, “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage”? Well, that is how we feel about honey and lemon. Put honey and lemon together in warm (or cold) water and it’s pure magic — for an even tastier beverage, throw in a sprig of mint!
3. Add Lemon to Your Favourite Savoury Recipes
It may be possible that everything tastes just a little bit better with lemon. Try zhushing up your mushroom aglio olio pasta dish by adding a squeeze of lemon. Squeeze a few drops of lemon in when cooking your rice, and throw in some herbs such as mint or coriander, and you have yourself some very fragrant rice to go with your meat and vegetables. A grilled fish can be elevated with just a squeeze of lemon or some freshly grated lemon zest. The possibilities are endless.
4. Make Delightful Lemon Desserts
You’ve just finished a wonderful meal and nothing would be better than a yummy dessert that isn’t cloyingly rich to end the meal on the right note. The sweet, yet tart key lime pie and lemon bar immediately come to mind. Or how about a refreshing lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate after a heavy meal? Recipes for lemon sorbet are easily available on the Internet, many of which do not require an ice cream maker. All you need to make lemon sorbet are a few simple ingredients — a whisk and a freezer to freeze your sorbet in. Lemons may be sour, but they can clearly be such a sweet addition to your diet!
5. Make Your Own Preserved Lemons
Make your own lemon chutney and have it as a side dish to go with rice and curries. It can also go on as a pesto for a savoury chicken sandwich or potentially as a marinade for a simple grilled poultry dish. You can also make a beautiful jar of lemon marmalade that would go well on bread, scones and biscuits — perfect for afternoon tea!
How to Make a Delicious Pitcher of Iced Lemon Tea
- 8 tea bags
- 150 grams of granulated white sugar
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 litres of water
- Mint leaves (optional)
Let the water come to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat off and put in the tea bags. Let the tea bags steep for 7 to 9 minutes (you can steep the tea bags for an additional 5 minutes if you prefer a stronger brew.) Add the granulated sugar and the juice of 2 lemons into the tea and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Add more sugar and lemon juice to taste, then set the tea in the refrigerator to chill. Serve in a tall glass with a wedge of lemon or a sprig of mint. Put your feet up, and enjoy!