Most of us have probably put a lemon wedge or two in our water bottles in the hope of fighting an oncoming cold or simply to boost the flavour.
But, have you ever tried the lemon peel? We are all too familiar with the cold busting, immune boosting, flavour enhancing powers a regular old lemon has, however, you may be neglecting the most beneficial part, particularly in regards to healthy ageing.
There is a growing hum around the health benefits provided from a lemon peel. Now, it may not seem so appetising to munch on a raw lemon peel, but luckily for us we can harvest the health benefits in a multitude of other ways.
If you are so inclined however, feel free to slice off a peel. Although extremely bitter, there is nothing wrong with raw lemon peel.
Before we go into the best ways to get to the nutrients contained in a lemon peel, I’d love to discuss what the health benefits are and what they can mean for healthy ageing.
Nutrition on lemon peels
Lemon peels have been found to contain a high number of beneficial nutrients which all serve the body in maintaining healthy ageing. Chiefly among these is calcium and magnesium.
Calcium is essential for continued bone health, and as we get older, supporting our bone structure is of the upmost importance. Getting enough calcium in our diet may also stave off the effects of arthritis.
Magnesium is essential for proper muscle function and has been shown to dramatically improve healthy ageing in the body. A magnesium deficiency can increase the rate at which cells age and may even lead to certain cancers.
Magnesium can be found in a multitude of places; however, lemon peels contain a very high amount for the serving ratio. You’ll only need roughly a tablespoon a day to help top up your magnesium count.
Vitamin C can also be found in abundance in lemon peels. Being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C enters the body to keep our cells happy and fight off free radicals, which are responsible for damaging cells faster.
Vitamin C has also been linked to a decrease in heart disease rate, especially in the over 50 age bracket.
Because of lemon peels high vitamin C count, adding a peel or two to your daily diet can see a bolstering of your immune system. Keeping ourselves healthy and strong as we get older becomes more of a conscious task because our immunity naturally lessons as our cells age. Making sure we are eating the right foods daily is essential, and with a lemon peel, you can be sure you’re getting a healthy serving.
Lemon peels are also packed with flavonoids which are a type of phytonutrient. Flavonoids help our bodies modulate our immune system in a positive way by being anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.
Our heart health is determined by many things, but a healthy supply of the vitamin c and flavonoids found in lemon peels can help keep heart disease at bay. Lemon peels also contain pectin, a fibre which can help lower our cholesterol naturally. An elevated cholesterol can lead to all sorts of complications, including an increased risk of heart disease and obesity.
Cancer prevention is perhaps one of lemon peels greatest pro’s, however the verdict is still out on how effective it is.
The flavonoids found in lemon peels have been linked to a decrease in cancer likelihood because of their ability to disrupt communication between cancer cells, curbing their ability to multiply. Vitamin C is also known to boost our white blood cell count which actively protects our body from disease.
How to consume lemon peels
Lemon peels can be added to our daily diet in many ways and it’s really up to you and your taste.
Lemon peels can be added as a garnish to salads, sliced into strips for tea, added to cakes and baked goods as a garnish, but the way that I like to prepare them is by dehydrating them in the oven.
By dehydrating lemon peels in the oven, they become much more versatile and can even be crushed into a powder and packed int tablets for ease of consumption. They can also be diced and mixed with lemon and pepper for a delicious and tangy homemade seasoning.
Lemon peels present a new way to access a whole host of nutrients with really compelling arguments for them in support of healthy ageing. By adding lemon peels to our diet, we can actively stave off some diseases and help keep our bodies in tip top shape over 50.