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Saturday, August 1, 2015

LEMON - THE BENEFITS

 

LEMONS (Citrus lemon) are thought to have originated in the Himalayan foothills of North-East India, and from where they spread all across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and as far as Americas. There are 200 hectare CHE of lemon planted in Malaysia as mixed crop with other fruit trees. Most lemon fruits are consue=med as fresh and small portion processed for lemon juice and cosmetic products. Limes are smaller in size and less sour in taste than lemons. Put together both of these tiny fruits are perhaps now the largest consumable among fruits all over the world. Likewise in other citrus plants, lemons too are small, spreading, evergreen trees, growing up to 10-12 feet in most cultivated plantations. They flourish well in temperate and tropical environments, whereas, cold and frosty conditions would affect their growth adversely. Stems and branches are often armed with sharp, stout thorns. Fully-grown plant bears fragrant, white flowers in short cymes. Fruits belonging to the citrus group are described as “hesperidium," (A hesperidium is a scientific term to describe the fruit structure belonging to the citrus group). In fact, the fruit is a modified berry with tough, leathery rind. Lemon's peel contains many volatile oil glands in pits. Interior flesh is composed of segments, called carpels, made up of numerous juice-filled vesicles that are actually specialized hair cells). Mature lemons turn yellow from green, measure about 5-8 cm in diameter, and weigh about 50- 80 gram in weight. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I posted an this article for all blog readers.


Health benefits of lemon are discussed in this article. Lemons are packed with numerous health benefiting nutrients. The fruit is less in calories, carrying just 29 calories per 100 g, the value being one of the lowest for the citrus fruits group. They contains zero saturated fats or cholesterol, but are good source of dietary fiber (7.36% of RDA). Lemon is one of the very low glycemic fruits. Lemon's acidic taste is because of citric acid. Citric acid constitutes up to 8% in its juice. Citric acid is a natural preservative, aids in smooth digestion, and helps dissolve kidney stones. Lemons, like other fellow citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid); provides about 88% of daily recommended intake. Ascorbic acid is a powerful water soluble natural anti-oxidant. This vitamin is helpful in preventing scurvy. Besides, consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the blood.

 

Lemons, like fresh oranges contain a variety of phytochemicals. Hesperetin, naringin, and naringenin are flavonoid glycosides commonly found in citrus fruits. Componentssuch as Naringenin is found to have bio-active effect on human health as antioxidant, free radical scavenger, anti-inflammatory, and immune system modulator. This substance has also been shown to reduce oxidant injury to DNA in the cells in-vitro studies. Additionally, they also compose a minute levels of vitamin A, and other flavonoid anti-oxidants such as alpha, and ß-carotenes, ß-cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lutein. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps the body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

 

Total ORAC value, which measures the anti-oxidant strength of 100 g of fresh lemon juice is 1225 µmol TE (Trolex equivalents). The fruit is also a good source of B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and folates. These essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish. Further, they carry a healthy amount of minerals like iron, copper, potassium, and calcium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Citrus fruits, as such, have long been valued for their wholesome nutritious and antioxidant properties. It is scientifically established fact that citrus fruits, especially lemons and oranges, by virtue of their richness in vitamins and minerals, have many proven health benefits. Moreover, it is now beginning to be appreciated that the other biologically active, non-nutrient compounds found in citrus fruits such as phyto-chemical antioxidants, and soluble as well as insoluble dietary fiber is helpful in reduction in the risk for cancers, many chronic diseases like arthritis, and from obesity and coronary heart diseases. Thanks.


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Precint 11, Putrajaya,
Wilayah Persekutuan,
WP, MALAYSIA.
(9 Rejab 1436H)

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