The Antioxidant Avengers
By Chelsea Fisher
Those tart teammates, lemons and limes, are born winners. They’re also surprisingly versatile, adding to and enhancing the flavors of just about any food while offering powerful antioxidants. The two citrus fruits even have antimicrobial properties.
Both lemons and limes contain limonin, a disease-fighting compound. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Cancer limonin may inhibit the growth of human ovarian cancer cells, and even combat breast cancer cells. Though this is promising and exciting research, recent claims that lemons are more effective at diminishing cancer than chemotherapy are not backed by reputable research. Lemons are a great addition to any diet, but no one vegetable or fruit is a solution to disease.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), when used in marinades, lemons and limes may also have anti-carcinogenic properties that can reduce the negative effects of grilling. The ACS also reports that citrus fruits might be especially helpful in lowering the risk of stomach cancer.
During cancer treatment, patients are told to drink lots of water, but chemo often makes water taste quite nasty. As long as treatment hasn’t made your mouth raw or sensitive, adding slices of lemons or limes to water can make it much more palatable. Put them in a carafe of cold water in the fridge, or pour hot water over a slice of lemon or a curl of lemon zest to make a cup of delicious, lemony tea as in our Canarino.
When purchasing lemons, make sure they are completely yellow and heavy for their size. Fresh lemons will keep for about a week at room temperature, and will be fresh for up to three weeks if refrigerated. Limes should be deep green, and also heavy for their size, and will retain their peak flavor for up to two weeks unrefrigerated. It’s important to remember, if you’re using the zest from a lemon or lime, make sure to buy organic to avoid pesticides.
Lemons and limes are great kitchen staples. Just a squeeze here and there can make a world of difference in just about any meal. The right amount will not make the dish taste like citrus, but simply brighten the flavors already present. For some great lemon recipes try our Lemony Mushroom Pasta and our delicious Lemon Soy Baked Tofu, Fish, or Chicken.