When life gives you lemons...

NATURAL BENEFITS

When life gives you lemons...

Most of us know that lemon is a rich source of Vitamin C and have consumed it at some time or the other in our lives. Added to a glass of cold water, it can be most refreshing during the summer months.

Taken regularly, it is a preventive against cold and actually strengthens the immune system. We also add it to salads, snacks and food, because its tanginess adds to the foods’ flavour. But, there are a number of ways that the common lemon can be used for both health and beauty purposes.

Basics first

Lemon increases the body’s resistance to disease. Its glucose and minerals content helps replace what the body loses through sweat, especially during the summer months. It has been found that taking lemon regularly can help relieve head-aches, soothe digestive problems and even help people suffering from anxiety. It stimulates blood circulation, reduces arterial pressure, activates bile and intestinal secretions. In other words, it can promote a general feeling of wellbeing.

What we have to remember is that lemon is best taken diluted, by adding it to water. You can start your day with the juice of a lemon in a glass of warm water. This combination can help keep the system flushed and aid the removal of toxins and wastes. This will also reflect on the skin, keeping it clear and glowing. Weight watchers will also find this beneficial.

What is even more interesting is that lemon peels have more benefits than lemon juice. Lemon zest, that is, grated lemon peel is added to puddings, cakes and souffle for additional flavour. However, it actually has several health benefits and latest research has revealed that it can fight cancer.

Studies carried out at the Institute of Health Sciences in Baltimore, USA, have shown that not only is it anti-bacterial and anti-fungi, but it also fights cancer cells too. It destroys malignant cells, without damaging the healthy ones. It is also an anti-depressant, reduces stress and fights nervous disorders.

Doctors recommend the use of the entire lemon by freezing it and then grating the peel and pulp. Sprinkle this on your food. Not only will it enhance taste, but you will get all its nutritional benefits too.

Beauty aid

As a cosmetic ingredient, lemon can be used in various ways, but avoid using it undiluted, as it can be harsh on the skin.

 On areas where the skin is thicker, like elbows and knees, rub lemon halves and wash off with water. Over a period of time, it cleanses and lightens skin colour.

 Lemon can also be used as a hand
lotion. Mix it with rose water and rub it into the skin of the hands. For rough hands, rub granulated sugar and the juice of a lemon together with the hands, till the sugar dissolves. Then rinse off with water. If done regularly, it will help improve the skin texture.

 Oily skin can really benefit from a lemon treatment. Dilute the juice of half a lemon in a glass of water and use this to wash your face. Lemon not only helps restore the normal acid-alkaline balance, but also reduces surface oil.

During summer, freeze this lemon water in an ice cube tray. Wrap the ice in a clean tissue or cloth and rub it gently on oily skin. It reduces oil and is extremely refreshing.

 Honey mixed with lemon juice can be applied on the face on a daily basis. While honey moisturises the skin, lemon juice restores the normal balance and lightens skin colour over a period of time with regular use.

 Lemon can also be used as a hair rinse. You can add lemon juice to a mug of
water and use it as a last rinse, after your shampoo. You can even add it to “tea
water”. Boil used tea leaves in enough water and cool the liquid. Add the juice of one lemon and use it as a last rinse. This helps in adding shine to the hair.
When nature has provided us with ideal cosmetic ingredients, why should we use chemicals and synthetic substances? In fact, the human body responds well to natural substances, while it has an in-built resistance to synthetic ones. So, try and use lemons where you can, instead of chemicals.

(The author is a beauty expert)

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