Lemons again, you say? I can’t help but think about them! There’s a tree just outside my front door that barely wanes from bearing fruit. If memory serves, there’s a mere six-weeks per year when there isn’t a ripe lemon to pick. My father has an older lemon tree that he spends the spring and summer harvesting. His tree reminds me of a cow needing to be milked as its branches hang heavy with bright yellow fruit.
Ever wonder why mother nature would want to offer us such an abundance of lemons?
Dr. Oz says that lemons are a “one ingredient fix” for our good health and skin surface beauty. Lemons help our digestion and cleanse our bodies inside and out. They are anti-bacterial and full of vitamin C. Lemons are even a great exfoliant for the skin. Strangely enough, while lemons are naturally acidic, they actually help to alkalize our bodies and keep our natural pH in balance.
pH is the measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. The pH scale ranges from 0(acid) to 14(alkaline). Pure water is considered to have a neutral pH of 7. The normal pH of blood ranges from 7.35 to 7.45 and is considered alkaline. Lemon juice has a pH of less than 7 and is acidic. Each increase, or decrease, of a number is a tenfold difference. For example, a pH of 6 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 7. A liquid with a pH of 5 is 100 times more acidic than a liquid with the pH of 7, and so on. Just so you know, a typical soda is highly acidic with a pH of about 3. It can take the paint off your car if you aren’t careful!
As our bodies metabolize food (burn calories) to make energy throughout the day, our cells produce and release excess acids. Our dietary choices play into the acid or alkaline effect in certain parts of the body. Highly processed foods containing white flour and white sugar have acid-forming effects for the body — while it might not affect our blood pH, it could lower our urine pH, which could cause kidney stones or other problems.
In the absolute perfection of the human body, important functions, like exhaling carbon dioxide, eliminating waste through the kidneys and special buffering systems, are in place to maintain our preferred alkaline state.
So, you’re probably still wondering how an acidic lemon (lemons have a pH of below 7) can help the body stay alkaline. The citric acid in lemon is considered weak and breaks down easily through digestion. Lemons are loaded with minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. These minerals still remain after the citric acid is gone and produce an alkaline effect in the body.
While supermarkets are offering various supplements and alkaline water these days, it might not be necessary to go to this extent to alkalize our bodies. Your best bet is to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and nutrient dense foods. Exercise and drink plenty of water. You might also want to enjoy those lemons in the backyard while your at it. They come perfectly packaged, are easy to store and full of health benefits. Squeeze one into some drinking water everyday or try this little recipe that Dr. Oz says is great to drink first thing in the morning to stimulate digestion and promote elimination:
Lemon juice and flaxseed drink
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/4 lemon, squeezed
- 1 tsp ground flaxseed
There are a number of different charts on the internet that parse out which foods are alkaline and which are acid-forming. For a couple of good lists of alkalizing and acid-forming foods, click here or here.