L is for lemons & limes
These hardy citrus fruits that are found in most backyards are staples of old fashioned puddings, the odd enthusiastic attempts to make lemonade and the necessary flavouring to a decent Gin and Tonic.
The vitamin C content of citrus fruits helped the British conquer the high seas, fighting the surge of scurvy, but the benefits of the citrus extends far deeper.
Citrus fruits contain high levels of polyphenols. Better known polyphenols include resveratrol from grapes, but include a staggeringly complex array of chemicals. Citrus polyphenols include the less well-known naringenin, hesperidin, nobiletin and tangeretin. To varying degrees all show promise as both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Professor David Cameron-Smith outlines recent nutritional research suggesting that the humble lemon (and other citrus fruits) are beneficial in suppressing inflammation, improving blood lipid levels and fighting heart disease. Another added benefit of an increased intake in vitamin C is improved ability to process iron, particularly the form of iron found in plant foods such as beans and lentils.
This winter try salad dressings with lemon juice or squeezing some citrus fruit over fresh fish.
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