Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know about Eating Lemons: Part 1

Text by Dr. Nina Radcliff/Photo by Kimberly Cecchini

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And by the way, don’t throw away the peel. One of the best things about lemons is that each and every part (pulp, juice, and peel) have been shown to improve our health. This is because they are jam-packed with vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. While it clearly makes sense that it is good to eat, few are aware of its many ‘topical’ uses. Applying lemon juice to our skin has a number of surprising benefits.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know about lemons, making lemonade, and adding some zest into our lives:

1. “Bad” cholesterol levels. A few years back, a study came out claiming that lemon peels contain a compound that has the potential to lower bad cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs (and with minimal side effects). I have not heard of a new lemon-based, FDA-approved prescription drug. So in the meantime, consider adding zested lemon peel to our salads, drinks, and dishes.

2. Blood pressure. The peel contains potassium that can help relax blood vessels.

3. Cancer. Lemons contain 22 cancer-fighting compounds. While they cannot completely prevent or fully cure cancer on their own, they may lend a helping hand.

4. Bones. Some experts recommend that Vitamin C should be taken along with other methods of treatment for osteoarthritis, bone fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. This is because it is critical to healthy bones.

5. Immunity. At the first signs of a cold, I will pour a big glass of orange juice assuming that loading up on vitamin C is a surefire way to kick the behind of just about any bug. While the research is inconclusive, there is some evidence that vitamin C is a good weapon to fight off germs.

6. Oral health. Wanna say “no thanks” to icky things like gingivitis, bleeding gums, or scurvy? Then consider getting a healthy dose of lemon and lemon peel. Vitamin C is known to help prevent these unpleasant maladies. Additionally, lemons can scare away bad breath making it more likely we will be locking lips with that special someone.

7. Appetite. Lemon peel contains fiber which is known to help us feel full faster. Total tongue twister. Additionally, fiber can function like a sticky glue and bind to cholesterol and sugar, preventing them from getting absorbed.

Some Tips and Warnings about lemons:

1. Wash thoroughly. The protective lemon peel may contain pesticides, or a waxy coat to prevent damage when being shipped long distances. Make sure to properly wash. Whenever possible, choose organic lemons.

2. Stinging sensation. The citric acid is…an acid. And acid can cause an unpleasant sting. To decrease this from happening, dilute the lemon juice with water.

3. Dry skin. Make sure to use a good moisturizer if your skin starts becoming dry and flaky.

4. Don’t mix products. If using other skin medications or solutions, lemon juice can interfere with its efficacy.

5. Sun damage. Lemon juice can make the skin more prone to sun damage. Make sure to wear sun protection with an SPF of at least 30.

When life gives you lemons, squeeze it to make some lemonade and hold on to the peels. Not only are lemons edible, but they are topical. This will leave everybody wondering how you feel and look so good.

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Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.