A generous squeeze of lemon makes everything better.
Isn't it true that just a dash of lemon does wonders to elevate the flavours in a dish? Lemon juice, when added to salads, curries, chutneys or drinks takes the preparation to its finality, a state of flawless, impeccable perfection. When added to hot soups and warm broths, it transfers a woolly, fuzzy feeling deep within. And what will our iced teas and summer drinks be without this citrusy delight?
Lemon enjoys a dedicated favouritism with most. Those who cherish cooking love to play around with its zing, teaming it with many other ingredients. For those who consider eating a strict and serious trade, lemon brings joy to the palate and bliss to life. It is akin to a subtle pop of colour in an otherwise bland, plain room - lemon adds the same zing to delicacies.
Cultures across the globe have known to make use of this citrus fruit since centuries. Its versatility knows no bound as it blends well with desserts, meats, vegetables and even other fruits. Though they are available in different shapes and sizes across the planet, lemons are believed to have originated in Assam and in parts of Myanmar and China. Apart from being central to cooking, lemons are known for their skin and hair benefiting properties as well. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C which is linked primarily to immunity strengthening.
"Lemons are an important source of Vitamin C. According to National Institute of Nutrition, our body requires 40 mg of Vitamin C every day. Vitamin C is great for immunity and essential for healthy collagen formation-framework of our skin and bones. It also facilitates optimum and efficient absorption of iron. Lemons are the easiest way to meet your daily dose of Vitamin C," says Dr.Rupali, Chief Nutritionist, SmartCooky.
Apart from being a storehouse of Vitamin C, lemons are also enriched with Vitamin B6, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, flavonoids, antioxidants and phosphorus. Adding lemon to your diet will help keep digestion and tummy troubles like constipation at bay. It is known to cleanse the digestive system along with blood purifying properties.
Gargi Sharma, a Delhi-based weight management expert and nutritionist shares 10 reasons why lemons should be an active part of your diet plus quirky ways to add it in your everyday cooking.
1. Lemons help in controlling blood pressure as they are rich in potassium.
2. Lemon juice helps in clearing out toxins from the body, thus helps in cleansing.
3. They help prevent formation of kidney stones.
4. They are alkaline in nature and reduce acidity, pain and inflammation.
5. Limonene present in lemons helps in preventing growth of cancer.
6. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and acts as immunity booster.
7. Lemons are rich in antioxidants.
8. They also help in scavenging free radicals which cause cells damage
9. They have anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory properties.
10. Lemon juice when applied to skin and hair in combination with other ingredients can treat skin disorders, acne, tan, blemishes and dandruff.
How to include lemon in your diet?
- Mix one tsp of lemon juice and one tsp of olive oil. Use this as dressing for salads, over boiled lentils, sprouts or steamed vegetables.
- Lemon zests can be added to desserts to enhance the flavour.
- Freeze lemon juice in ice cubes and add this to your favorite drinks.
- Add half tsp of lemon juice to your green tea.
- Lemon juice can be added to grilled chicken, paneer and kebabs to enhance the nutritional value and to add flavour.
- The good old way shall always be to resort to a glass of fresh and chilled nimbu paani or a generous squeeze of lemon juice atop cut onions and tomatoes.
Lemon sorbet to beat the heat in style
Lemon and Coriander Soup for a light supper
Lemon soufflé for those who dream of delicate desserts
Lemon Tartto end your dinner or a sweet note
Grilled Lemon Margaritato take it a notch higher