Monday, March 4, 2013

Spice It UP!!! Lemon

Although this is technically a few days late, I still wanted to post this because--THIS IS THE 100TH BLOG POST!!!  Woot woot!  To celebrate, I chose one of my absolute favorite flavors: lemon!

Lemons have such fantastic health benefits, and I love the flavor.  I haven't always--this is another culinary school/getting older influence.  Plus lemons are so incredibly healthy for you!  Let's take a look!

According to Huffington Post Canada, lemons do the following for your body when consumed daily in a 1 teaspoon to 1 cup room temperature water ratio:
  1. Lemon helps the liver to dump toxins by stimulating its natural enzymes. This promotes good health and helps keep the skin clear.
  2. Citric acid can help eliminate calcium deposits in the arteries as well as pancreatic and kidney stones.
  3. Lemon provides a huge dose of the free radical fighting antioxidant vitamin C, which helps keep skin even-toned and wrinkle-free.
  4. Vitamin C also helps boost the immune system, keeping the flu and colds at bay.
  5. Lemons are a good source of electrolytes, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, which help hydrate the body and regulate its functioning.
  6. Lemons are rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids not only help boost the potency of vitamin C, they improve blood flow, helping to maintain normal blood pressure and reduce inflammation.
  7. They help balance your pH level. Though acidic to the taste, lemons are alkaline-forming on the body.
  8. Lemons contain modified citrus pectin and limonoids, which have been shown in a recent study to prohibit the spread of cancer cells, slow cancer cell growth and induce cancer cell death.
According to Livestrong, lemon juice is a natural diuretic and can help prevent urniary tract infections.

I have always enjoyed a slight lemony taste to my water during the day, but I started the 1 teaspoon to 1 cup water routine about three weeks ago--right when I wake up before eating or drinking anything else.  My digestion system seems to enjoy it along with my throat, and I am happy to say that despite the flu going around work, I have not gotten it (and hopefully won't!).  My skin seems clearer too.

According to World's Healthiest Foods, lemons should be as yellow as possible because green indicates an unripe, acidic fruit.  Lemons can be stored at room temperature for a week or in the fridge for up to four weeks.  If you are juicing a fresh lemon, the lemon releases more juices when it is at room temperature.  If your recipe calls for lemon zest, please buy organic because the wax and pesticides used while growing lemons is on the skin!

Lemons can also be used to clean.  Whole Living has several articles on the cleaning power of lemons including stain removing and green cleaning which is something that I have done for several years now (maybe something to do with my cats knowing how to open cabinets and being scared they would get into something!). 

Anyway--on to the best part!  THE FOOD!!!  Lemon can be used as the focal point in a dish or as a background flavor that gives a dish it's tangy flavor.  Here are a few recipes that include lemon juice or zest:

Berry Ricotta Ice Cream
Chana Masala
Lemon Bars
Lemon-Raspberry Cupcakes
Lemonade Popsicles
Spaghetti with Greens and Lemon
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble
Triple Berry Buttermilk Cake

I personally love a fresh squeezed lemonade!  Might have to post that here this summer....

How about you?  Do you enjoy lemons?

PS--I am FINALLY set up on Pinterest!  Please follow me at 'agirleatsworld'! 

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