The Humble but mighty lemon packs powerful health benefits and cleans up around the house
Lemons are pretty little things that are packed with flavor, are good for you, smell refreshing, and look great piled up in a bowl on your table. They are nutrient-packed little suckers, containing B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. The humble lemon is actually a mighty tool that will benefit your health in so many ways as well as coming in handy around the house.
For Your Health
Use lemons to boost your health. Squeeze ¼ of a lemon in your drinking water or simply put the slices into the water. Drinking lemon water will yield several benefits all over your body. Here are some of the areas that you can impact by drinking lemon water:
- Weight: Lemons contain pectin, a type of fiber found in many fruits. Pectin helps you feel full longer and you will, therefore not eat as much.
- Digestion: The atomic structure of lemon juice resembles the digestive juices found in your stomach. When you drink lemon water, your liver is tricked into producing bile, which helps keep food moving through your gastrointestinal tract.
- Detox & Cleanse: Lemon helps get rid of toxins in your digestive tract, and alleviates symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, gas, or bloating. Because it’s a mild diuretic, you’ll likely use the bathroom more often, which helps the urinary tract eliminate unwanted elements. Lemons also boost your enzyme production, stimulating your liver and flushing out toxins.
Drink lemon water daily and reap the myriad benefits
- Vitamin C and Immunity: Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, which means your body requires it to function, but doesn’t produce it. Therefore you need to obtain Vitamin C from the food and drinks you consume. As luck would have it, lemons are packed with full of vitamin C. It stimulates your white blood cell production, which ensures that your immune system functions properly. Adequate intake of vitamin C helps your immune system fight off colds and flu.
- Inflammation: Lemon juice removes uric acid in your joints, which is one of the main causes of inflammation.
- Skin: The Vitamin C in lemon water will help with collagen production, which is essential for smooth and healthy skin.
- Better breath: Drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning to eliminate mouth bacteria and fight off bad breath. Drinking and gargling with citrus-infused water will stimulate the salivary glands, soothe toothaches, and protect against many oral diseases such as gingivitis. It also helps whiten your teeth as lemon is a natural bleaching agent.
For Your House
Besides being healthy and good for your body, lemons are also a great household tool. There are several places around your house that you can use lemon to clean and deodorize. As organic, all-natural cleaners go, you can't beat the mighty lemon!
If you are using the juice of fresh lemons, the best way to get juice out is to roll the lemon around under your palm, then microwave the lemon for 10 seconds before juicing it. If you are using a lemon half to clean a surface directly, then use a small paring knife to remove seeds. Okay, now you are ready to start cleaning.
- Microwave. You can eliminate microwave odors and clean it, with just half a lemon and some water in a bowl. Simply fill a heat-resistant bowl with water, squeeze half a lemon into it and then drop the peel in, too. Zap it for five minutes, and let it sit for 10 minutes before opening the door. Wipe it down thoroughly and enjoy a clean, fresh smelling microwave.
- Garbage Disposal. Now that you're drinking lemon water everyday (right?!), you'll have plenty of lemon peels to add to your disposal. Just deposit and operate as usual. This is a great way to deodorize a potentially smelly spot.
- Cutting Board. Rub half a lemon on your cutting board surface; add salt to the lemon to tackle particularly tough stains. Rinse with warm water.
Lemon + Salt = Secret Cleaning Weapon
- Shower Doors. Hard water causes unsightly deposits on your shower doors. Removing them is simple with lemon juice. Cut a lemon in half and rub it over your glass shower doors to remove build-up and spots. For more strength, add a little Borax to the surface of the cut lemon, rub on the spots, rinse with warm water, and watch the really stubborn stains disappear.
- Ant Repellent. Get a spray bottle of water, squeeze a lemon into it and spray it along ant routes (you'll know where they are if you have an ant problem!), as well as in any cracks or holes that the ants may be using to enter your home. You can also take lemon peels, cut them into small pieces and scatter them on windowsills, and near thresholds. Ants, apparently are not enlightened about the benefits of lemon and will retreat from the scent.
- Furniture Polish. An inexpensive, all-natural furniture polish is probably right in your kitchen. Mix 1/4 cup. lemon juice with 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Put this in a spray bottle, spray it on furniture, spread evenly with a cloth, and let it dry.
- Laundry Aid. Use lemon juice as an alternative to bleach. The citric acid helps get rid of stains and brighten the whites. You can add one cup of lemon juice to your laundry load with your regular detergent. It's also safe for colors. For tough juice stains on clothes (hello, kids...) combine 1/3 cup of lemon juice and 2/3 cup of H2O and pour it directly on the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes and wash as usual. This same mixture will work on armpit stains (not that you have those...).
These are just a few of the benefits of the humble, yet mighty, lemon. So make it a recurring item on your shopping list, and before using store-bought cleaners, consider using a lemon to freshen up the house!
By Bridget Gorman Wendling
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