Note: This article does not constitute medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before making any decisions regarding your health
Lemonade is a summertime staple, but did you know that it can be improved with the addition of just one ingredient?
Organic lemon juice.
Why does this simple drink have such an impact on your health and well-being?
It’s almost impossible not to enjoy something sweet while also being aware of how much sugar we consume every day. Consuming excessive sugar can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, certain cancers, digestive problems, tooth decay, gum disease, and many other chronic conditions.
There are plenty of ways to cut back on our daily sugar intake. One easy way is by adding organic lemon juice to water. Not only will it help us lose some extra weight and give us a boost of energy, but it has been found to contain powerful antioxidants that may protect us from the damaging effects of free radicals -- substances that attack cells and cause ageing and cell mutations.
In this article, we'll explore why drinking organic lemon juice has so many positive effects on human health and well-being. We'll find out what makes it so special and discover what nutrients it provides that improve the quality of life.
What's in an organic lemon?
When most people think of lemons, they envision the bright yellow fruit often served at picnics and parties. But there are actually two types of lemons grown commercially: the bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) and the common sour lemons (Citrus limon).
Both varieties of citrus fruit grow best in tropical regions, where temperatures range between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (27 and 32 degrees Celsius), and the soil consists primarily of limestone and clay.
Lemons taste sweeter when they are fully mature. Each year, approximately 100 million pounds (45 million kilograms) of fresh lemons are harvested worldwide.
With organic lemons, however, the nutritional content remains intact because harvesting takes place once they're ripe.
Once the lemons arrive at the processing plant, workers remove the zest and squeeze the pulp through screens to extract the juice. Once the juice is extracted, it is pasteurized to prevent contamination and keep bacteria at bay. After it's filtered several times, the juice becomes cloudy white and ready for bottling.
Citric acid is then added to adjust pH balance and prevent spoilage. Finally, if desired, the juice can be mixed with sugar syrup and a refreshing beverage is prepared right away.
While the majority of the nutrition in organic lemon juice comes from vitamin C and bioflavonoids, some studies suggest that polyphenols present in organic lemon juice may provide additional protection against diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease, Parkinson's, stroke, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, infection, and inflammation.
Here are the top 5 reasons why drinking organic lemon juice is good for your health and well-being.
Since detoxification refers to cleansing the liver and kidneys, and both organs work together to eliminate toxins and waste, drinking organic lemon juice, in turn, would aid in the removal of harmful substances from the body.
Lemon juice contains flavanone glycosides called naringenin and eriodictyol, which are known to increase urine flow. Drinking it regularly could help flush excess sodium and fat deposits from the bloodstream.
Other components of lemon juice include citric, malic, and lactic acids, which stimulate the secretion of bile and urinary tract fluids, helping to rid the body of accumulated toxins. As lemon juice increases the process of urination, lemon juice also promotes sweating, which helps to eliminate excess salt from the body.
2. Fighting cancer-causing free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules containing an unpaired electron, and they wreak havoc on cells by destroying healthy proteins. Free radicals are formed naturally by the metabolism of oxygen, and our bodies create them as a result of everyday activities like breathing, exercising, cooking, sun exposure, and even sleeping.
When left unchecked, free radicals can destroy DNA, trigger inflammatory responses and promote tumour growth. Cancer patients have higher rates of free radical formation in their systems, making them vulnerable to further damage.
Since free radicals are linked to numerous health problems, including premature death, eating organic foods rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals like vitamin C and bioflavonoids is essential.
Lemon juice is especially effective at neutralizing free radicals since it contains significant concentrations of vitamin C and polyphenols like hesperidin and neohesperidin.
Research shows that taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily leads to a significant percent decrease in overall cancer mortality rates. Antioxidants in lemon juice may also inhibit chemically induced carcinogenesis.
3. Strengthening immunity against viruses
Viruses infect living organisms, causing changes in cellular structures that facilitate viral replication. Viral infections cause flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, coughing, sneezing, headache, nausea, joint pain, and other ailments.
People infected with the influenza virus are advised to take 800 milligrams of vitamin C daily to strengthen immune defences. Lemon juice contains similar levels of vitamin C, plus bioflavonoids that enhance immunity.
Researchers believe that bioflavonoids may activate macrophages, natural killer cells and T lymphocytes, which fight off foreign invaders like viruses.
4. Improving cardiovascular function
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Amongst heart diseases, coronary artery complications are on top. High cholesterol contributes to narrowing arteries, and poor diet and lack of exercise contribute to plaque buildup inside the vessels.
To combat these risks, experts recommend reducing saturated fats and sugars in diets and incorporating fruits and vegetables into meals.
A study published in 2010 showed that women who ate five or more servings of citrus fruits or vegetable juices had lower chances of developing atherosclerosis, compared to those who consumed fewer servings of these foods.
Another study demonstrated that children whose mothers drank three glasses of organic lemon juice daily reduced their chance of developing hypertension by 40 percent, and their risk of heart attacks by 70 percent.
5. Filling up on fibre
Fibre is a carbohydrate polymer consisting of chains of glucose molecules joined together via linkages. It plays an important role in controlling bowel movements and preventing constipation.
Lemon juice is particularly rich in fibre. Fibre aids digestion by absorbing water and helps in forming a bulky stool. Without a sufficient amount of fibre in a person's diet, constipation sets in.
Consuming 1 gram of soluble fibre can take up to 20 minutes to pass through the colon, whereas insoluble fibre passes through sooner.
Soluble fibres, like pectins, guar gums and oat bran, absorb moisture and swell to soften stools. On the other hand, Insoluble fibres, like cellulose, bind water and expand to bulk up faecal matter.
According to research conducted by Dr Richard Cotton, director of the Human Nutrition Institute at Harvard University, ingesting 3 grams of soluble fibre daily reduces the incidence of colorectal cancer by 30 percent. Thus, lemon juice is one of the major ways that can make the digestion process efficient and mitigate any risks of developing bowel cancers.
One can conclude that organic lemon juice is highly nutritional. Drinking it can yield enormous benefits. Just develop the habit of enjoying this high-value glass of lemon juice and experience optimal health benefits yourself!