Until about the 10th century, lemons were used mainly as decorative plants and it wasn't until 11th Century that the lemon plant was brought into Europe during the Crusades.
Lemons’ healthy claim to fame began much later on board the early sailing ships to help treat scurvy which killed at least 2 million sailors between the years 1500 and 1800. Scurvy resulted from a vitamin C deficiency due to months at sea without any fresh produce. Without Vitamin C, collagen cannot be made and the sailors eventually died from bleeding wounds that wouldn’t heal. It was around 1747, that James Lind, a ship’s surgeon found that lemons and oranges were extremely effective at treating the disease.
Lemons are bursting with anti-oxidants and vitamin C
Today, lemons are rarely consumed as a stand-alone fruit due to their intense sour flavour but they are extremely popular in combination with herbs and spices as they not only give a wonderful and dynamic flavour to many marinades, dips, sauces, salad dressings, deserts and drinks but add nutritional benefit.
Lemons are a great source of vitamin C. The antioxidants found in vitamin C boost our immune system to keep colds and flu at bay and fight the damage caused by free radicals. Our collagen production is reliant on enough vitamin C and is essential in smoothing out lines in the face and keeping your skin looking fresh and younger looking.
So by just adding half a squeezed lemon to your glass of water or making or making it a habit of popping a few slices of lemon into your water can ensure that you reap these benefits.
Because lemon juice’s atomic structure is similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach, it tricks the liver into producing bile, which helps keep food moving through your body and gastrointestinal tract smoothly. Lemon water also helps relieve indigestion or ease an upset stomach.
The acids found in lemon juice also encourage your body to process the good stuff in foods more slowly. This drawn-out absorption means that your insulin levels remain steady and you get more nutrients out of the foods you consume. Better nutrient absorption means less bloating.
Sipping lemon water throughout the day benefits the enzyme functions in your body, stimulating the liver and flushing out toxins. Because it’s a mild diuretic, you might find yourself using the bathroom more often which helps the urinary tract get rid of any unwanted elements and helps detox your body and skin.
When negative-charged ions, like those found in lemons enter your digestive tract the result is an increase of energy, so why not delay your morning cup of coffee or tea and have hot water with lemon to boost your energy levels - without the caffeine crash!
This week's recipie - delicious Humous
Humous is a chickpeas based dip originally from the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa but it is now enjoyed around the world. Chickpeas like lentils are a legume and are full of protein, fibre, calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron. Humous is proof that some of the best tasting things in life are the simplest to make. It can be rustled up with just six ingredients and requires no cooking – only a food processor.
1 x 400g cans of chickpeas (reserve the liquid and a few chickpeas for decoration)
2 tbsp tahini
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp crushed sea salt
2 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
4 tbsp water (more if needed)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice of 1 lemon
Add the tahini, crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice into a food processor and pulse.
Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and tip into the food processor with 4 tablespoons of water.
Turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the oil while it runs.
When the mixture is fully combined and smooth, tip it into a serving dish.
Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and decorate with a few whole chickpeas.
Sprinkle with paprika(if desired) and finely chopped coriander or parsley leaves, for colour.
Enjoy with chopped peppers, carrots, cucumber for an extra hit of nutrients!