Lemons are one of the most versatile fruits in the world because they can be used in many different ways and provide a multitude of benefits. Most people use them either as food or as an ingredient for flavoring. However, if you’re like most people, you might also be throwing out the lemon rind or lemon peel afterward. This is something you should reconsider because they are still very useful.
When referring to lemons though, a lot of people are still confused regarding which part of the lemon is actually the zest, the rind, and the peel. They are not one and the same. Let’s clarify what each of them is first.
The lemon zest is what is commonly used as a garnish or flavoring agent on cocktails and food. It refers to the yellow layer of the lemon’s skin which is the outer most part of the peel. The lemon rind, on the other hand, is thicker than the lemon zest because it includes the bitter white pith beneath the skin. Lastly, the peel refers to the layer of zest, rind, and the outer shell of the fruit.
Lemon Peel Benefits
Lemons, in general, provide a lot of health benefits. They are used to treat the common cold and flu, upset stomachs, scurvy, and kidney stone cases, among others. They are also said to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, reduce hay fever symptoms, improve blood vessel function, aid in digestion, and more.
Lemon peels, specifically, are highly effective in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. They are likewise effective in treating the following:
- Dental Abscesses
- Ear Infection
- Fungal Nails
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Poor Blood Circulation
- Sore Throat
- Urinary Tract Infection
Lemon peels also possess certain properties that make them effective as an:
- Cardio or Heart Tonic
- Immunity Booster
Vitamins in Lemon Peels
We all know that lemons contain lots of vitamins and minerals. What you probably don’t know is that lemon peels actually contain more vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and health benefits than lemon juice.
In fact, lemon peels contain 5 to 10 times more vitamins than lemon juice and they are likewise a great source of calcium, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and beta-carotene. 100 grams of lemon peels contain 10.6 grams of fiber, 134 mg of Calcium, 129 mg of vitamin C, and 160 mg of Potassium.
The vitamin C and calcium are responsible for not only improving bone health but also for preventing inflammatory polyarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. Its antibacterial properties are what kill internal worms and parasites as well as protect your body from fungal and bacterial infections.
Lemon peels are likewise full of citrus bioflavonoids that reduce oxidative stress levels. They also prevent cancer by making your body alkaline. Cancer only thrives in acidic environments. Aside from these, lemon peels also contain limonene and salvestrol Q40 which fights the cancerous cells in your body.
Are Lemon Peels Good for You?
Judging by the list of lemon peel’s different properties and benefits mentioned above, we can say that they can be good for you. However, know that lemons as a whole actually have side effects. They have been known to cause the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent urination
- Sunburns (seriously…)
- Heartburn and ulcers
- Teeth erosion
- Aggravated canker sores
The question is, are the risks the same for just the lemon peels specifically? The truth is that there are risks involved in consuming lemon peels that you should be aware of before using them in large quantities.
For instance, lemon peels are high in oxalates, which when they react to calcium, will crystallize and may lead to kidney stones. People suffering from gallbladder problems and kidney stones are actually advised to limit their consumption of food rich in oxalates. Take note that lemon peels have 25 mg of oxalates per teaspoon and that the recommended limit per day is only 80 mg.
Another concern lies in how lemons are processed. Lemons, if not organically grown, are usually full of pesticides and insecticides. Aside from that, they are also covered in a waxy protective layer. While this layer is supposed to help keep mold from growing, it also makes it harder for you to remove the chemicals when you wash the lemon. The best alternative is to use organic lemons instead.
These risks are definitely something you should consider. However, it does not mean that you should avoid eating lemons and lemon peels altogether. As with most types of food, too much of something can be a bad thing. So, the key here is moderation.
Aside from the health benefits, lemon peels are so versatile that you can also gain a lot from them in many other ways as you will see below.
Uses of Lemon Peels
Lemon peels can be used for many different things. It can be used for food and drinks, for skincare, and even for cleaning. Below are some of the many ways you can use lemon peels.
Eating Lemon Peels
There are several delicious ways to incorporate lemon peels into your diet.
1. Lemon ice cubes
Add some fun into your ice cubes by adding some lemon peels. Just use a vegetable peeler to peel off long strips, making sure not to cut the white pith underneath. Add the peels to the water in your ice cube tray and freeze.
2. Make candied lemon peels.
Got a sweet tooth or need something sweet to end a delicious meal? Try making candied lemon peels. Because they are both sweet and tart at the same time, they are perfect on their own or as toppings for cakes and parfaits. You can even package them up as a gift.
3. Make a smoothie.
If you’re tired of the usual lemonade, a lemon peel smoothie is also a great alternative if you want a refreshing and healthy drink option.
4. Make lemon olive oil
Olive oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils that you can use. Make it even healthier by adding lemon peels to it. Here’s how to make lemon olive oil.
5. Boiling Lemon Peels
Drinking lemon water on an empty stomach as an early morning ritual is a trend that has been all the rage lately. It is said to provide many health benefits. However, what most of us don’t know is that we can’t make the most out of these benefits if we don’t prepare lemon water properly.
The best way to prepare lemon water involves boiling the cut-up lemons in water for 5 minutes first. After letting the water cool, you then give the lemons a bit of a squeeze before removing them from the water. You then strain the water and transfer it to a cup before adding honey to it.
6. To preserve fruits
Fruits tend to brown when oxygen reaches them, and lemons prevent that from happening. Just rub the inside of a lemon peel on your fruits to preserve them. Adding lemon juice also helps.
Lemon Peels For Skin and Hair Care
Lemon peels can help make your skin and hair healthier and more beautiful. Below are some ways on how to use them.
7. For foot treatment
If you want to repair your dry and damaged feet, all you need to use is a large lemon and a pair of socks. Alternatively, you can also combine grated lemon peels and petroleum jelly and use the mixture as a foot treatment.
8. Make a sugar scrub
Sugar scrubs are great at making your skin soft and smooth. Just finely chop some lemon peels and mix them with ½ a cup of sugar and olive oil to make a paste. Wet your body, massage the scrub on your skin then rinse.
9. For spot treatment
Apply a small piece of lemon peel on your face to lighten age spots. Leave it there for an hour but avoid going out in the sun while you do.
10. Make a skin toner
Lemon peels are great for skin exfoliation because they contain alpha hydroxy acids. Just gently rub the lemon peels on your face after cleansing and leave them overnight. Rinse them when you wake up in the morning. Be careful not to go out in the sun before rinsing.
11. As a hair lightener
Boil 1 – 2 cups of lemon and let it simmer for an hour. Then strain the water and add 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil. Apply the lemon water to your hair and let it stay for an hour. Then rinse it off and shampoo and condition your hair.
12. To clean nails
Nails tend to discolor due to the use of dark polish. All you need to do is to rub the inside of a lemon peel on your nails to clean them up and make them brighter looking again.
Lemon Peels for Your Home
Lemon peels are not just meant to help you health-wise. They have a variety of other uses for cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing parts of your home as well. Below are some examples.
13. Make a lemon potpourri
You can combine lemon peels with essential oils and spices to make homemade potpourri. This can help freshen your living spaces and leave them feeling and smelling clean.
14. Remove water, tea, and coffee stains
Make your coffee pots, teapots, mugs, and glasses free of water, tea, and coffee stains just by adding a lemon peel with ice and coarse salt. Swirl it around to remove those difficult stains, using a cloth will help.
15. Garbage disposal deodorizer
Trash cans can smell really nasty. Get rid of the bad odors by throwing in some lemon peels at the bottom of the can.
16. As fire starter
Going camping or making a backyard bonfire? Lemon peels can be great fire starters provided that you dry them out in the oven first until they are crisp and golden. Bit of a stretch, huh?
Get rid of those pesky ants, cockroaches, and fleas by scattering small lemon peels near any holes or cracks and along doors and window sills where they may enter.
18. Microwave cleaner
Microwaves can be challenging to clean because of the stains and grime that may be hard to remove. However, steam cleaning them with lemon peels makes the task easier. Just put some lemon peels in a microwave safe bowl and heat it on high for five minutes. You’ll find that the stains and grime will be easier to remove after.
Uses of Lemon Zest
You don’t need to use the entire lemon peel to gain the benefits. Using just the lemon zest provides you with benefits as well. Here are some ways you can use them.
19. Add them as a garnish.
Grate the zest and add it to your dressings, salads, tea, yogurt, vegetables, fish, cocktails, and other drinks. One of the best ways to prepare your lemon peels, in this case, is to freeze them first for an hour or two then use a zester to grate the lemon. Another option is to grate the lemon without freezing it first.
20. As seasoning or rub
It’s always great to have an all-purpose seasoning at home. Lemon pepper seasoning is particularly good for chicken and fish and it’s simple to make too. It’s basically just lemon zest, freshly ground pepper, and kosher salt.
21. Make perfume
There’s nothing like a citrus perfume to awaken your senses. Just mix vodka, a quarter teaspoon of castor oil and some lemon zest then let the mixture sit for one week in a cool dark place. Transfer it into a spray bottle and that’s it!
As you can see, lemon peels truly have many amazing benefits and can be used in a myriad of ways. As long as you know how to properly use them, it’s wiser to keep them instead of throwing them out.
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