May 4, 2018 / Food, Local Products

The pharmacological power of lemon

Sorrento’s lemon IGP (protected geographical indication) is certainly the undisputed king of the whole coast; it differs from those of other regions of the Amalfi coast for the different methods of cultivation and electric organ properties. 

Usually, most of us use only lemon juice, but this fruit is so useful that you can’t throw anything away! We can recognise three different sides everyone with its own importance: the pulp or endocarp, the outer skin called flavedo rich of essential oils and the white middle layer also called albedo. Its chemical composition makes it a powerful nutraceutical, let's analyse it in detail: C vitamin or ascorbic acid, which dominates the juice, is a specific  water-soluble molecule that is absorbed at intestinal level and once entered in the enterocyte can follow two ways: to be transported through the blood or to be converted to DHA dehydroascorbate acid. This is a saturation mechanism: after the overcome of daily portion of 80mg, the remaining part is excreted in the kidney. Many roles for many beneficial properties: it acts as an Anti-oxidant hydroxy in the regeneration of E vitamins , acts as cofactor enzyme in hydroxylation reactions that allow collagen to regenerate the environment extra cellular. Blocks the long-term action of free radicals, Activates the transcription of genes involved in cell survival and also Exerts an anti-carcinogenic action  so  the damaged cell dies rather than grow abnormally. The citric acid, another component of the lemon juice, is an organic acid responsible for the sour taste and it is present for about 6-7%, it favours not only the preservation but it is an important anti-fermentation that improves digestion, enhances the iron absorption, has a draining action. Bioflavonoids, phenolic substances present in the albedo, are antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, antiallergics, antivirals and anticancer drugs. The pectin, which is always at the level of the albedo, belongs to the group of soluble fibers, has the characteristic of dissolving in the hot liquid and forming a gelatin with cooling; binding toxins and regulating intestinal functions. Limonene is an essential oil obtained from the distillation of the peel that has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory antioxidant activity. There are many scientific evidences in which the prolonged use of this fruit has positive effects in tumors prevention, in the purification, in cardiovascular health, in kidney stones and gallstones, in internal bleeding, in reinforcing the capillaries, in reducing the risk of stroke. It was found that lemon juice can act on scars as a fading agent, making them less evident too.

For all this properties, the tendency to take lukewarm water and lemon just before breakfast, has come forward recently, but is it only food-trend? In fact, thanks to all the benefits I mentioned above, water with the lemon should be understood as a washing that we do inside our body. According to naturopathy the main cause of illness is an excess of toxins and wastes that don't allow the body to function at its best, bringing to it various functional discomforts but also aesthetic problems such as skin imperfection or cellulitis. That is why purifying the body is a fundamental habit for maintaining the state of welfare and in this sense water and lemon goes to complete the process of night detoxification going to free the digestive and urinary tract. 

Once we got the juice, what do we do with the rest? We throw it? Absolutely not! As I said at the beginning, nothing is thrown from the lemon. How to use it? In reality there are many recipes that provide the lemon peel: the famous “zeste” are nothing more than grated peel. Having a strong aroma can be very useful in low-calorie diets where the condiment is scarce, but also for those who follow low sodium diets to keep hypertension under control. In reality it would be good for everyone because of the multitude of compounds with high power therapeutic. An easy recipe, quick and above all fresh to do in this summer time is “Integral pasta with Sorrento’s Lemons scente", or so I like to call it because it brings me back to the coast and then on holiday. You can also dress salads, baked fish, grilled meat or fish, milk fjords e pizza, the important thing is that it is always added raw. 

What are you waiting for ?! Run in the kitchen and let your imagination and taste free!

Teresa Di Lauro