I know that this may sound odd…but I get quite a bit of enjoyment from grinding up lemon peels in the garbage disposal. (I know, I’m pretty easy to please.) I don’t do it for fun, but we use a lot of lemons in our house, so this rather mundane household activity actually happens quite often. There’s just something about that clean, fresh scent coming up from the sink that I just really enjoy. And, leave it to my team at UpWellness to unearth a whole compendium of examples of the use of lemon and lemon peel in health and medicine…many of which were previously unknown to me. I think it’s time that I keep at least a few of those peels out of the disposal to put them to better use in all of the many ways described below.
You’ve likely heard of the benefits of lemon. In fact, it would be surprising if you haven’t read at least one report overviewing the health wonders of this beneficial citrus fruit. It stands to reason, then, that the peel would be just as nutrient-packed and full of amazing health benefits. The next time you enjoy a lemon slice in your water or put some freshly squeezed juice in your dinner recipe, be sure to save the lemon peel. Here’s why you should and a few easy ways to incorporate this zingy peel into your diet.
Benefits of lemon peel
Boost your immune system
Vitamin C is a critical component of a healthy immune system, and like other citrus fruits, lemons are loaded with this essential vitamin. Animal studies have shown improved immune responses in fish given dehydrated lemon peel. Vitamin C isn’t just beneficial for helping reduce your chances of catching a cold, either, numerous studies have shown that it 1-2 grams per day could help limit the duration and severity of colds by 8% in adults and 14% in children.
Could help fight cancer
Lemon peel is loaded with flavonoids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers. While lemon peel alone won’t fight cancer, it could aid in treatment and help fight cancerous cells. A compound found in lemon peel known as D-limonene may be especially beneficial in fighting stomach cancer as animal studies have shown that it can increase the death rate of mutated cells in the body and inhibit the spread of cancer. Though this research is promising, more human studies are needed to confirm these effects before lemon peel will be considered a viable option for reducing the spread of stomach cancer.
Improve bone health
Calcium and vitamin C are essential nutrients for improving bone health and preventing bone-related diseases such as inflammatory polyarthritis, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It can help strengthen bones and keep joints healthy and loose.
Benefit oral health
You’ve likely heard of scurvy, AKA, the sailor disease. Though this condition is uncommon in modern society, vitamin C deficiency can still wreak havoc on the body, leading to other issues like gingivitis. Gum infections and cavities are increased by a bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans; however, the antibacterial capabilities of lemon peel could inhibit microorganism growth and fight harmful oral bacteria. In fact, one study found that lemon peel extract directly combats Streptococcus mutans activity.
Could improve heart health
One promising study showed that eating lemon and walking for at least 30 minutes each day is a great way to reduce blood pressure and protect your heart health. The flavonoids present in lemon peel may also reduce your blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk factor for heart disease.
Lemons can help reduce and prevent the following when used topically or orally:
- Dental Abscesses
- Ear Infection
- Fungal Nails
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Poor Blood Circulation
- Urinary Tract Infection
Dangers: Lemon peel has been reported as safe for consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is a viable addition to your diet for a wealth of health benefits. Keep in mind; however, non-organic lemon peel may be coated in wax and pesticides, so it is essential to wash it thoroughly before eating and buy organic whenever possible.
Since lemons are high in oxalates, which will crystallize and may lead to kidney stones when they react to calcium, you should not eat lemon peels if you are struggling with gallbladder problems or kidney stones.
How to add lemon peel to your diet
- Use the zest in baking to add a hint of lemon to any sweet treat
- Throw it into marinades or salad dressings for a unique zing
- Add freshly zested lemon peel into your tea or other beverages. It can even be used in water to make it a little more interesting.
- Use lemon zest in soups, on yogurt, or oatmeal. Basically, it can be sprinkled on anything!
- Make a lemon-peel infused olive oil to drizzle on pita bread, salad, or roasted veggies.
- Try adding pieces of lemon peel or zest to your morning smoothie
Do you know of any other benefits of lemon peels? How do you incorporate them into your diet? Let us know in the comments below!
-The UpWellness Team