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Do You Know Nutrition: Benefits of lemons

By By Phylis Canion
Feb. 19, 2013 at midnight
Updated Feb. 18, 2013 at 8:19 p.m.

Phylis Canion

I have received an email that talks about the benefits of lemons and lemon peel. It sounds almost too good to be true. Is there any truth in this, or is it just more Internet junk?

The health benefits of lemons have been noted since given to sailors to treat and prevent scurvy a couple hundred years ago. To this day, the British navy requires ships to carry enough lemons that every sailor can have one ounce of lemon juice every day.

The lemon is a valuable fruit and has many healthy properties. Although lemons are acidic to taste, they are alkaline forming in the body, and therefore, very beneficial to the digestion system in helping maintain a healthy pH, a measure of acidity, at 7.0, which is considered neutral.

Lemons are high in vitamin C, which works against infections such as the flu and colds. Lemons help the liver by acting as a stimulant in dissolving uric acid and liquefying the bile. Lemons help the bowels by increasing peristalsis, creating a bowel movement.

And then there is the lemon peel, which contains as much as five to 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice. In addition to the culinary benefits of the lemon peel, it also contains the phytonutrient tangeretin, which studies indicate have been proven to be effective for those suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Like all citrus rinds, lemon peel is highly fibrous, containing 10.6 grams of fiber per 100-gram portion. As the Mayo Clinic explains, dietary fiber offers a range of health perks, including normalizing your bowel movements, assisting in weight loss, lowering your cholesterol, improving blood sugar control and potentially lowering your risk of colorectal cancer.

Lemons contain 22 anticancer compounds, including limonene, citrus pectin and flavonol glycosides, which stop cancer cell division and can reduce the risk of some cancers by 50 percent, according to The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. The simplest way to use the lemon is to freeze the washed lemon in your freezer and grate it as needed.

Thought for the week: "The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems." - Mahatma Gandhi

Call The Cooking Depot at 361-275-2725 to book your seat for cooking class with Phylis Canion and Chef Molly Fowler, of Houston. The class is at 5:30 p.m. March 5 at The Cooking Depot in Cuero.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant. Email her at doc.phyl@yahoo.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.

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