According to the myth, when Zeus and Hera got married, Gaea, the Earth, donated to the bride a lush garden called the garden of the Hesperides. This garden was located at the end of the then known world, in the West, where the Sun sets. Guarding the garden and its splendid plants were three nymphs, the Hesperides. In the garden, every flower, every bush and every grass was full of life, however, among all that wonderful vegetation, a tree stood out, the tree with golden fruits. And according to recent interpretations, the golden fruits were not oranges, as believed, but lemons! So, since ancient times, lemons were considered a gift worthy of the gods ... and this statement has been confirmed today thanks to the numerous scientific studies that have been dedicated to lemon and its properties. But let's try to better understand what lemon, and in particular its juice, can do for our health.
Lemon, both fresh fruit and juice, is a precious source of vitamin C, mineral salts such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, citric acid and polyphenols, such as eriocitrin, hesperidin, naringenin and quercetin, which give the fruit its health properties (Lv et al, Chem Cent J, 2015 - Klimek-Szczykutowicz et al, Plants, 2020). In particular, according to research, lemon and its juice show anticancer properties, since they help to counteract the proliferation and apoptosis, that is, the programmed death, of diseased cells. Not only that, lemon is anti-aging and counteracts the action of free radicals, even with regard to the skin. Indeed, it has been observed that drinking lemon juice helps to counteract premature aging of tissues and the formation of wrinkles (Kim et al, Food Chemistry, 2016). Lemon also fights chronic inflammation and is antibacterial, since it inhibits various bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori but also Staphylococcus mutans, which is the main cause of tooth decay. Lemon is also anti-allergic, since it reduces the release of histamine. And it doesn't stop there, lemon helps regenerate and purify the liver, counteracts nausea, helps bring relief in case of heartburn and increases intestinal motility (Klimek-Szczykutowicz et al, Plants, 2020 - Abdel Salam et al, J Med Food, 2014). The citric acid (Penniston et al, J Endourol, 2008) contained in the lemon counteracts the formation of urinary tract stones, in addition, this fruit also has a cardioprotective action, in fact, the juice of this fruit lowers cholesterol and triglycerides and helps keep blood sugar under control. An experiment was conducted in which volunteers were asked to drink water or black tea or lemon juice while eating a portion of bread. The blood sugar of the participants in the study was monitored after the meal and what emerged is that only lemon juice was able to reduce the glycemic peak by 30%. This is because lowering the pH during a meal leads to a slowdown in digestion of starches (Freitas et al, Eur J Nutr, 2021). Finally, lemon reduces blood pressure in case of hypertension (Klimek-Szczykutowicz et al, Plants, 2020).
Fresh lemon or industrial juice
The greatest benefits are obtained with a lemonade made from fresh lemon juice. In fact, in this case, the amount of citric acid, the substance that counteracts the urinary stone formation, is even higher than that found in grapefruit juice. On the other hand, taking into consideration industrial lemon juices, generally sold in concentrated form to be diluted with water, the amount of citric acid is significantly lower (Penniston et al, J Endourol, 2008). Not only that, the industrial processing to which lemon juice is subjected decreases the values of the antioxidants present (Ucan et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2016).
A good way to take advantage of the anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, detox and intestinal transit-regulating properties of lemon is to drink lemonade before breakfast. In this case the preparation is very fast. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon, add a glass of warm water and drink. Alternatively, after lunch, you can make a more elaborate and truly delicious drink. Bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add a sprig of fresh mint leaves and an inch of peeled ginger root. Let it sit for fifteen minutes, then filter. Pour into two glasses, add the juice of one lemon and as much cold water as you need to fill the glasses.
Hot lemonade is considered a powerful remedy in case of stomach problems and difficult digestion. Cut an organic lemon in half. Squeeze its juice into a saucepan, add the peels and a large cup of water and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat and let it cool a bit, then drink.
Lemon juice for gargle
Lemon juice can also be used for gargle in case of sore throat. Make a normal lemonade by squeezing half a lemon and adding a glass of water to its juice. Use to rinse three times a day.