Citrus fruits are a winter crop and wintertime, aka flu and cold season, is a great time to increase your intake of citrus to keep your body healthy. Lemons are a kitchen staple, a fruit we should all keep on hand to use form everything from spritzing in our water, to adding to salads and all types of recipes.
While you are probably aware of the vitamin C in lemon juice, did you know that both the vitamin C and citric acid in lemons help the body absorb the iron in plant foods. Dark greens, like broccoli and chard, are an excellent non-meat source of iron, and absorption is enhanced when consumed along with the vitamin C and acid. Squeezing fresh lemon juice on steamed or broiled greens is an easy way to achieve the benefits.
Upping the acidity may also benefit you if you have ever dealt with kidney stones. Consuming more water with fresh lemon juice is a way to help the kidneys function well and limit the risk of crystallized waste build up that leads to some kidney stones. Aim to use a ½ cup of lemon juice a day to get this benefit.
A simple way to have keep lemon juice on hand is to squeeze fresh lemons and store in ice cube trays in the freezer. Consider adding a little of the lemon peel along with the juice, blend together in a high speed blender, before storing in the ice cube trays. Chemicals in lemon peel are antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal. Pop out a cube and add to your water bottle as you head out the door. Cheers to making it through cold season!