August 4, 2023 - Shelly Jones
We all love squeezing the juice out of a lemon and savoring its inner pulp, but did you know that the peel of a lemon contains a wealth of vitamins, minerals and powerful bioactive compounds? Let's uncover the secret of lemon peel, a hidden treasure that surpasses lemon pulp in nutrient concentration.
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Lemon peel contains a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, calcium, and potassium compared to the pulp or juice. It is also a rich source of fiber.
Lemon peel is rich in an essential oil called D-limonene. D-limonene has potential anticancer properties and can promote healthy digestion. While the juice and pulp also contain this compound, the concentration in the peel is much higher.
Lemon peel contains significantly more pectin than the juice or pulp. Pectin is a type of fiber that can aid in digestion, help in weight management by promoting a feeling of fullness, and potentially lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Pectin has also been shown to reduce levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream by interfering with the absorption of fats and cholesterol.
The peel has a higher concentration of flavonoids than the inner part of the lemon. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body, reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Lemon peels are rich in citrus bioflavonoids, which are powerful phytonutrients that can help boost the immune system, reduce inflammation in the body, and improve blood flow.
Salvestrol Q40 and limonene are phytochemicals found in the lemon peel that may have anti-cancer properties. Research is still ongoing, but some studies suggest these compounds can help induce the death of mutated cancer cells.
Lemon peel contains dietary fiber which aids in healthy digestion. It can help prevent conditions like constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome by adding bulk to stool and helping food move through your digestive tract smoothly. This type of fiber is more concentrated in the peel than in the juice or pulp.
The citric acid present in lemon peels may help prevent kidney stones by increasing urine volume and increasing urinary pH, creating a less favorable environment for kidney stone formation.
Vitamin C, present in high amounts in lemon peel, plays a key role in the formation of collagen, which is the support system of the skin. By getting enough vitamin C, you can help ensure skin health and prevent conditions like dry skin or wrinkles.
Lemon peel contains calcium, which is essential for bone health. Regular consumption of foods high in calcium can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis and other bone density issues.
Use a grater to create lemon zest. Add the zest to salads, yogurt, smoothies, baked goods, and cocktails to give them a fresh and tangy taste.
Slice the lemon peel into strips and simmer them in a mix of sugar and water to create candied lemon peels. You can eat them as a sweet snack or use them as a garnish for desserts and drinks.
Boil lemon peel in water for a lemon tea. You can add a bit of honey or a tea bag for additional flavor.
Infuse oil with lemon peel for a citrus-flavored oil that can be used in cooking or as a salad dressing.
Dry lemon peels and grind them into a powder. This can be added to dishes for an extra lemon kick or mixed with other spices to create a custom seasoning blend.
In many cuisines, like Moroccan, lemons are preserved in a salt-lemon juice mixture for several weeks. The resulting preserved lemons are then used in a variety of dishes, contributing a unique, tangy flavor.
Remember, while the peel has unique benefits, it's also where pesticides and other contaminants are most likely to reside. If you're planning on consuming lemon peel, it's best to opt for organic lemons and wash them thoroughly before use.
So next time you reach for a lemon, consider all it has to offer, peel included, and add a zesty punch of health to your diet. Cheers to a healthier, brighter future.