I never thought much about lemons. If I’m being honest, I thought they were a bit useless. You couldn’t bite into them like a juicy apple because it would erode the enamel on your teeth. You couldn’t savor them in your mouth like a sweet strawberry because they were too sour to chew. Nor could you blend them up to make a creamy smoothie like with a banana. When I was a kid, I saw one use for lemons: on the rim of those big plastic water cup at chain restaurants, but even those lemons were a waste of space because my dad always said, “Never eat the lemons on the side of your water cup
because whoever cut them probably didn't wash their hands!”
My dad was right about many things when it came to the world of health, but at times he was also a walking contradictory because why on earth were we still eating at O'Charley’s, Applebee’s, and Red Robin? I would never set foot in these establishments today because their food is loaded with chemicals but, as I kid I couldn’t get enough of these dining establishments. I thought the Oreo blast at AbbleeBees was sensational. Don't even get me started on the buttery rolls at O'Charley’s. Should I even tell you about the skinny fries at Red Robin? I was definitely on my way to being a very unhealthy human, but then I came face to face with the world of health. The more I learned about nutrition, the less I could bring myself to eat at these chain restaurants. And the more I began to eat real food with actual vitamins and nutrients, the worse fast food tasted.
My final day eating at these sort of establishments was when I ordered a turkey sandwich with a side of fruit at Applebees. When my meal came out, in front of me sat a greasy sandwich with a bowl of rock hard, frozen strawberries with icicles on them. When I told the waiter I couldn’t bite into my strawberry because it was frozen, she said, “Guess I didn’t nuck them in the microwave long enough.” I wasn't sure what was worse: The fact that I was served icicle strawberries or that the server had admitted to microwaving my advertised as “fresh” fruit.
All this to say, I still abide by what my father said: avoid the lemons on your water cup at restaurants! However, what I don’t stray away from anymore is lemons because lemons are an incredible piece of fruit. Today I’m going to give you 4 solid reasons why you should be incorporating lemons more into your life.
1) Lemons Are Full of Vitamins
Lemons are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. If these words mean nothing to you, let me explain. Antioxidants are great because they boost your immune system and fight heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C is amazing because it keeps fights off colds, and makes your skin look like a glowing goddess. I’m serious! Medical News Today explains that a high intake of vitamin C combats wrinkles and stops dry skin, two physical traits that age you rapidly. People, can we give it up for lemons already?
3) Lemons Prevent Kidney Stones
Guess who had a bunch of kidney stones growing up? My dad. Guess who didn’t drink lemon with his water? My dad. Guess who drinks lemon water religiously everyday now? My dad. My goodness, you just learned a lot about my father, but he really had some awful kidney stones grown up. If you’re prone to kidney stones or they run in your family, start incorporating lemons in your diet asap the National Kidney Foundation instructs. The University of Wisconsin Health recently determined that the citric acid in lemons stops kidney stone formation. It also breaks up small stones that are beginning to form, and fun fact alert: Lemons contain more acid than any other fruit!
3) Lemons Stop Cancer!
This reason totally gets an exclamation point at the end because this is insanely incredible! You see, lemons are a high alkaline food. Over the years, multiple studies have determined that cancer can’t thrive in an alkaline environment. Therefore lemons deter cancer from being able to grow inside the body. Lemons also clean your liver the Detox Kitchen explains. They do this by stimulating the liver to release toxins, and a healthy liver is vital to fight of cancer cells. Just to be clear, I’m not saying lemons cure cancer, but the research doesn’t lie. Study after study has proven that lemons do aid in being able to help prevent cancer.
4) Lemons Boost Your Mental Health
Oh, mental health, the subject I will forever be fascinated by - being the daughter of a schizophrenic mother will certainly do this to you, and right now I’m on a lemon kick because lemons have been known to stop depression and anxiety! Say what? Depression and anxiety are often the result of low levels of potassium in the blood. Our nervous system needs a sufficient amount of potassium to ensure sustainable signals to the heart, and – here we go again – lemons have a high content of potassium which aids in the proper functioning of the nervous system, which combats the onset of depression and anxiety.
So now that you know how wonderful lemons are for you, I challenge you to get in your kitchen and explore all the wonderful ways you can cook with them! Because, another fun lemon fact here, lemons are vital when it comes to cooking! This bright, sunshine yellow fruit is perhaps the most important ingredient when it comes to making salad dressings, marinades, sauces, cocktails and baked goods. Without lemons we would have a lot of dry meat and a lot of sad salads out there.
If you’re interested in becoming a great cook, you must always have some lemons in your fruit bowl at home. If anybody tells you otherwise, then they’re probably still eating TV dinners or worse – Kid Cuisines! Do you remember those portable plastic, neon blue trays with the cartoon duck on the side? These "kid friendly' frozen dinners were the worst. They came with frozen pudding for desert, the food is dyed to look "real," and they sale for $1.84. My friends let me share some truth with you. If corn, cheese pizza, and sparkle pudding costs $1.84, run! This is not real food anymore. Yes, I am calling those sparkles, not sprinkles because either way they have no nutritional value.
If you want to learn how to cook up some sensational recipes then run from the TV dinners and start by filling your kitchen with fresh lemons. Lemons have so much more potential then being used for a sugary cup of lemonade. This bright yellow fruit has healing powers. I encourage you to take full advantage of this bitter-sweet, vivacious fruit that can heal help heal your mental health and the onset of fatal illnesses. For some wonderful lemon-based recipes to get you started check out these foodie bloggers who know how to cook with a lemon!
Awesome Food Bloggers Who Know How To Cook With A LEMON:
Love and Lemons -delicious, fresh meals sorted by the ingredients in your house
Lemon Blossoms - hearty, home-cooked recipes from a professional chef
Lemon and Olives - culturally inspiring blog for authentic Greek recipes
Lemons For Lulu - easy to prepare, family-friendly recipes
Do you love to cook? Share your favorite recipes made with a lemon or lemons below! I'm always looking for new ways to add this delightful, citrus food into my meals! If you don't cook, do you have a favorite foodie blog you follow? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!