History has illustrated that lemons have been used for their antiseptic properties for centuries. It is presumed that the lemon was in existence no later than the 1st Century, during the time of Ancient Rome, and has served a myriad of purposes. In fact, the lemon was used in traditional medicinal practices by Indians to fight scurvy in the 1700s. So, now that I have provided your with the CliffsNotes version of a lemon’s journey, I am going to fill you in on my list of my favorite uses that will benefit you inside and out.
1. Forget Red Bull, try lemon: Studies have shown that the scent of lemon oil can actually create a greater sense of concentration, while increasing alertness. Pow! If you are having trouble staying focused on your workout routine, take a whiff. Try using a lemon diffuser in the home (an easy way to do this is by boiling lemon water on the stovetop) when you are trying to give yourself a push. I also recommend using a lemon-scented natural air freshener during long drives.
2. Bump up the benefits of water: With fitness, I often talk about regression to progression. Let yourself go back to the childhood days when “fitness” wasn’t a chore, it was fun. A little lemonade will bring you back to those days too. Adding lemons to your water can actually make you feel fuller as well as reduce the development of Type 2 Diabetes. Lemons contain pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to help with weight loss. Also, lemons can literally slow down the absorption of sugar into the body.
3. Clean the slate for wellness: Lemon has been proven to aid in digestion as it keeps bad bacteria at bay. When our digestive system is working smoothly, we are more likely to feel our best, enabling ourselves to make the best nutritional choices and keep up with our fitness plan. There are many ways to consume lemon to help in this sense – a great one being combining it with flax seed (1 cup of hot water, 1/4 of a lemon and 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseed).
4. Cough, cough, squeeze, squeeze: Workouts take a back seat when you are under the weather. Enter the lemon! A large lemon contains a whopping 45 mg of Vitamin C which happens to be 75 percent of your daily requirement. So, the next time you’re feeling less than your best, add some fresh lemon juice to your tea.
5. Sore no more: It is believed that lemons have pain-relieving qualities, and thus can be ideal for post workout ache or for ailments suffered by those who sit behind a desk all day or are often cramped in cars and airplanes. I recommend squeezing three to four lemons and mixing in two to three tablespoons of honey into a small bowl. Honey has long been a side kick to lemon due to its antiseptic properties. Next, microwave the bowl for up to 30 second, or until the mixture is hot. Take a small towel and dip it into the bowl. Apply the towel to the sore area and enjoy its soothing relief.