Before I started down the road to better nutrition, I never gave lemons much thought. The old me used to just toss slices of lemon in my water or use fresh squeezed ones when I ate fish. I never really ventured further than this.
I could not have been more wrong. By diving headlong into a healthier lifestyle, I started to find myself more impressed and surprised by the simple, yet amazing, lemon. These little yellow fruits are not only healthy for you, but super useful around the house.
Although the list of lemon benefits is massive, I’ve found the following 15 lemon hacks truly healthful and helpful throughout the years.
1. Electrolyte Replacement Drink
Lemons are loaded with electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium, and most people don’t realize that this combination makes for the perfect DIY sports drink.
Instead of spending money on drinks packed with added sugars, you can make a much healthier (and less expensive) version at home.
My favorite DIY sports drink combines tart cherry with lemon and honey. With this drink, you’ll get a healthy mix of electrolytes and carbohydrates as well as a natural muscle recovery aid thanks to the tart cherry.
2. Natural Immunity Booster
When you feel a cold coming on, try another one of my favorite lemon swaps to help your immune system fight stronger.
Products like Airborne, the popular immunity boosting effervescent, can easily be replaced by using lemons. According to the USDA, one lemon contains as much as 51% of your daily vitamin C. Combine that with minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese, which are all found in lemons, and you have your own natural immunity booster.
Anytime you feel like you’re getting sick, heat up some water with honey and lemon for a natural boost.
3. Travel Sickness or Nausea
Motion sickness is no fun, especially since it tends to show its unpleasant face during your vacation. Ever take your family to an amusement park or go on a family road trip only to discover that one of the kids has motion sickness?
Before you scramble to find the nearest drug store, grab a lemon instead. It may look a little weird at first, but when you find some lemons to suck on, you’ll be able to feel better and enjoy your vacation in no time.
Why? Because lemons are excellent at treating nausea.
Plus, there’s no added side effects or disgusting flavors like over the counter medicines.
4. Natural Relief for Hangovers
Now, we’re not encouraging you to drink excessively, but we’ve all had those mornings of regret for drinking so much the night before. When you find yourself in this unbearable circumstance, lemons can help you out.
Not only will the lemons fight nausea, but they’ll also help your liver detox and provide your body with essential electrolytes to replenish the ones you lost when you were drinking.
Squeeze a lemon in your water and drink up!
5. Reduce Bloating
Bloating can be caused by a number of different factors. And just like motion sickness, extra bloating tends to plague us at the worst times.
If you wake up one morning feeling a little too bloated, try a slimming concoction like this one which combines slices of cucumber, lemon, oranges, and mint leaves.
Rejoice when your skinny jeans fit comfortably once again.
Health benefits of Lemon
6. Detoxify Your Liver
Our livers are so much more important than most people give it credit for. Did you know that the liver is responsible for performing hundreds of different functions? With that said, an unhealthy liver filled with toxins can disrupt several processes in our bodies simultaneously and make us feel terrible.
A good way to rid your liver of these unwanted toxins is by using lemon peels. D-Limonene, a key component found in the peels of citrus fruits like lemons and oranges, helps to remove unwanted “fat sludge” from the body and works wonders to detoxify the liver.
7. Cancer Protection
“As an excellent source of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C, lemons and lemon juice can help fight the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer,” according to Megan Ware, RDN, LD, registered dietician and nutritionist.
This one surprised me – sure, you can’t use lemons like sunblock, but isn’t it wild that lemons offer your body a form of natural protection? It’s good to know that such a small fruit can help fight the buildup of free radicals in your body in a big way.
8. Weight Loss
No, eating lemons won’t make you lose more weight than the Biggest Loser contestants, and you certainly won’t see a significant reduction quickly, but lemons definitely aid in weight loss when added to a healthy diet and exercise plan.
Lemons are great for boosting your metabolism and providing you with energy to stay active throughout the day.
Adding a decent sized sprinkle of cayenne pepper to your freshly squeezed lemon water will provide you with a little kick and an even better metabolism boost. Don’t go crazy or the cayenne will be too much heat to be enjoyable.
9. Lemons Help Lower Cholesterol
I hate the visual I’m about to share, but it’s the best way to explain it: lemons get rid of the extra sludge stuck in your body.
We talked about removing this gross stuff from your digestive pipes, but lemons can also help lower your cholesterol.
Back in 2013, the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science conducted a study whereby participants with high blood pressure were given either a glass of water with lemon juice, one apple, or a combination of both. The results were fascinating.
Individuals in the lemon juice group “showed the best results in lowering of blood LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides,” according to the research.
Those who had both the apple and the lemon juice were the second best performers at lowering their cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Keep in mind, participants were asked to exercise during this trial period so researchers are unsure if exercising in combination with drinking the lemon juice kickstarted the significant results.
10. Prevent Kidney Stones
Ok, you get it, lemons are super healthy for our bodies. But wait! There’s more! (cue the drumroll)
Lemons have also been shown to prevent kidney stones due to their natural citrate properties.
According to Dr. Jhagroo, “We believe that citrate in the urine may prevent the calcium from binding with other constituents that lead to stones…Also, some evidence suggests that citrate may prevent crystals that are already present from binding with each other, thus preventing them from getting bigger.”
Enjoy some lemon water for the sake of your kidneys and sanity – if you’ve ever suffered through the pain of kidney stones, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
11. Asthma Relief
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, lemons are also useful at relieving asthma symptoms. By reducing inflammation, constricted airways can safely open up and you can start to breathe easier.
According to Ann Heustad, R.N., take a tablespoon of lemon juice at least an hour before meals to alleviate your asthma.
One thing to note: lemon juice from a bottle is does not have the same effects. Use real lemons.
12. Mood Booster & Sleep Aid
In order to reap the natural mood boosting benefits of lemons, try using them in aromatherapy. You don’t need to go out and buy a fancy, expensive oil claiming to boost your mood or relax you.
All you need is a fresh lemon and a pot of water.
First, boil the water. Once that’s done, squeeze in the fresh lemon juice and drop the lemons right into the pot. Next, start inhaling that fresh lemon scent. That’s all you have to do.
The lemon aroma has been shown to reduce anxiety levels and calm the mind so it’s a great option for stressful or restless nights and a much better alternative to tylenol PM.
In the kitchen
I never thought that the following life hacks using lemons would actually work, but after trying them, I’m totally hooked.
13. Prevent Rice from Sticking to Your Pot
If you’ve ever cooked rice and burnt more at the bottom of the pot than you would have liked, stop being disappointed and try out this trick.
Add some lemon peels to a pot of rice and water before bringing it to a boil. Once the rice is done, simply remove the peels before serving.
You’ll never have to waste or scrape off stuck-on rice again.
14. Natural Fruit & Veggie Wash
I can’t help but laugh everytime I see an expensive, prepackaged fruit and veggie wash at the grocery store. If only most people knew that washing your produce was this easy, they’d never fall for that pre-made solution again.
By using fresh lemon juice, your DIY produce cleaner will be just as effective, but will have the added benefit of being completely natural.
The best mixture I’ve found uses 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, and a ¼ cup of baking soda. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, mist down your fruits or veggies, and you’re good to go.
15. Prevent Brown Sugar from Clumping
I’m not much of a baker, but I have seen what happens to brown sugar in the pantry. No matter how dry I keep things, the brown sugar still likes to clump together and harden.
It’s not a huge deal, but it always makes me question its freshness.
Next time you store or use your brown sugar, add two small lemon peels to the container or bag and they will take care of your clumping problem once and for all.
As you can see, the list of life hacks involving lemons is huge, and these are only my top 15 picks. No matter how you slice them, lemons are so full of healthy and helpful benefits, they should be a staple on your shopping list.
What lemon hacks of your own do you have for me to steal?