dog days of summer upon us, there is nothing more refreshing than an icy glass
of fresh-squeezed lemonade. Packed with
a full day’s supply of Vitamin C, this sunny fruit is too tart for most of us
to eat on its own. Still, the lemon
deserves to be appreciated as more than the wedge in your iced tea and the
juice on your grilled fish.
“ascorbic”, as in ascorbic acid (the name for Vitamin C), means “no
scurvy”. Hundreds of years ago, people
suffered from a “spring disease” whose symptoms were bleeding gums, loose
teeth, aching joints, red spots on the skin, and decayed flesh. The disease, of course, was scurvy.
traveling long periods at sea without fresh fruit and vegetables were
particularly susceptible to scurvy. Not
until the last part of the eighteenth century, when the holds of English ships
carried barrels of lemons on their voyages, did the sailors’ disease
Join us as
we learn more about this summery citrus wonder fruit.
Although the exact origin of the
lemon is unknown, it is believed to have been first cultivated in the Indus Valley,
judging from an earring found there in the shape of a lemon dating to 2500 B.C.
Lemons first arrived in Europe
in the 11th century, brought by Arab traders from Spain. Returning Crusaders, having found lemons
growing in Palestine, are credited with
spreading lemons across the rest of Europe. Before that time, lemons coming from Spain
were so expensive only the very rich could afford them.
Columbus is responsible for bringing lemons to the new world on his voyage to Haiti
in 1493. In 1565, Spanish explorers
established a colony is St. Agostino,
Florida and planted many lemon
trees there. Early Spanish missionaries
planted the first lemon trees in California
in the 1730’s. The popularity of lemons
exploded with the influx of people settling there during the 1849 gold
Rush. Since 1950, California
has produced more lemons than all of Europe
- Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Lemons contain limonoids, which have been shown
to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach, and
colon. Scientists from the US
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have shown that our bodies can readily
absorb and utilize a very long-acting limonoid called limonoid that is in
citrus fruits like lemons.
Because of their high vitamin C content, lemons
may provide protection against a form of rheumatoid arthritis called
Lemons contain unique flavonoid compounds that
have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
in insoluble fiber