While the exact origin of the lemon hasn’t been definitely established, researchers speculate that the fruit may have first grown in the southern regions of India. A study of its genetic origins identify it as a hybrid, a cross between the bitter orange (itself a hybrid) and the citron (Citrus medica).
It was in the 1st century A.D. that lemons came into Europe via southern Italy. Back then, the plant was mostly considered ornamental and its fruit was not widely consumed as it is today. The first substantial European cultivation of lemons only happened in the 15th century. It was in the same period that the seeds of the fruit were brought to the New World.
The Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this fruit as there are risks as well as health benefits. Continue reading to learn the pros and cons of lemons.
The fruit is a well known source of Vitamin C. 100 grams of raw lemon contains 53 mg of the nutrient and counts for around 60% of your body’s daily need. Of course, no one really eats lemons out of hand. It will actually take a few pieces of the fruit, used as beverage or flavoring, to accumulate an adequate amount of this nutrient.
Lemons, just like most citrus fruits, are abundant with a class of phytochemicals called limonoids. Limonin is one specific kind of limonoid that’s been found to be easily absorbable and stays long in the body. Its natural state in citrus fruits is bonded with a sugar molecule forming the compound limonin glucoside. During digestion this is split into sugar and limonin. Preliminary research is looking into the substance’s health beneficial properties such as the ability to counter certain viruses, particular types of cancer, and even prevent obesity.
One may not usually think of lemons as having health risks but there are a few minor bad effects associated with the fruit. Such risks are due to the acid content of the fruit.
Erode teeth enamel – The acid in pure lemon juice can wear down teeth enamel, the outer layer that protects the whole tooth. This erosion can then result in stains or cavities.
Exacerbate acid reflux – Heartburn is what you feel when the stomach’s digestive acids go back up to the esophagus. The acidic content of lemons can further irritate the esophagus as well as intensify gastric ulcers. If you’re already suffering from this condition, you need to lessen consumption of this fruit and allow the ulcers to heal first.
Lessen effectiveness of chloroquine – This is a drug to protect against malaria. Soldiers and those frequently travelling to areas known to have this disease often need to take this medicine. The citric acid in lemons however has been shown to decrease the blood levels of this drug thus lessening its effectiveness.
Lemon Practical Uses:
This is one fruit that’s always stocked in the kitchen because of its various uses. Besides beverages, meals, and pastries, lemons can be used for cleaning, deodorizing and as a skin care solution.
Beverage – As a twist to the usual lemonade, use soda water instead and turn the typical drink into a lemon fizz.
Meals and pastries – Certain recipes will require lemon zest aside from the juice. The best tool for peeling away this outer skin is a citrus zester.
Cleaning and deodorizing – In most cases, the cleaning liquid is made up of lemon essential oil diluted in water. You can also heat half a lemon and scrub it directly on surfaces.
Skin care – You can rub a halved lemon along your hair and skin as well to take advantage of its cleansing effect. Just remember to rinse thoroughly afterwards to remove the lemon bits.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of lime and how to moderately use it in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the fruits on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
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