Lemon is one of the most consumed fruits in the world, but not only for its juice.
Its peel or zest is full of nutrients and is used for multiple purposes, from gastronomic and medicinal to cleaning or hygiene. Here we delve into its uses and benefits:
The lemon peel is the colorful outer layer of the tree’s fruit. Citrus × lemonas well as the thin white pith below.
The latter is bitter and has an unpleasant taste, although it is required for some gastronomic recipes.
If you are looking to obtain the aroma and flavor of lemon, you should use its zest, that is, only the yellow skin layer. Its use is very common in drinks or cocktails, soups, salads, stews, curries, buns and cakes.
How to peel or grate a lemon
Both the rind strips and the zest are easy to obtain. For the first ones, you only need a potato peeler and, after washing and drying the lemon well, carefully pass it on the surface while applying pressure (in this way you avoid getting only the zest).
In case you are really only looking to get lemon zest, rub with a vegetable grater over the entire layer, applying progressive pressure until you begin to see the white pith.
- What can be done with the orange peel
It is recommended, even if you are only going to use a pinch or small portion, that you grate or cut all the lemon and store the excess in airtight bags in the freezer. In this way you will always have them ready for when you want to prepare a particular dish.
Nutritional quality of lemon peel
As with lemon, its peel has high levels of calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber.
It also has a higher concentration of compounds like limonene or flavonoids. For this combination of nutrients, it has been linked to certain health benefits:
1. Lemon peel for skin, nails and hair
One of the compounds found in the highest concentration in lemon peel is limonene.
This is a powerful antioxidant that, together with vitamin C, can promote skin health, as it would fight free radicals and oxidative stress, which result in wrinkles, lines and age spots.
Lemon peel can also be used as an exfoliator, to whiten nails, to soothe dry skin, and to prepare hair rinses.
2. Is lemon peel detoxifying?
Due to its antioxidant compounds and the important presence of vitamin C, it is believed that lemon peel would promote the elimination of toxins from the body.
It has also been linked to anti-inflammatory properties, a reduction in abdominal bloating, and a reduction in flatulence.
Can Lemon Peel Lower Cholesterol?
The high fiber content of the lemon peel fulfills a double function, on the one hand, it helps to optimize digestion, improving the absorption of nutrients, on the other, it prevents overeating.
Therefore, it would be good to complement a healthy diet, and thus reduce blood cholesterol levels.
3. Does lemon peel strengthen bones?
This is a widespread goodness, although the available scientific evidence is scant. The few registries that analyzed this link indicate that the increase in bone density and the prevention of osteoporosis as you age could be due to the large amount of trace elements that lemon peel has, but more studies are still needed to explain a possible link.
Other uses of lemon peel
The active ingredients, the strong and pleasant aroma, and the antibacterial nature of the lemon peel, allow it to be used for different purposes, such as a ceramic cleaner, bathroom or bathtub, room deodorant, insect repellent (especially against ants), and even a means of lighting fire.
Next time you use lemons and are going to throw away their peels, think twice!
Until there is significant scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Although lemons are highly valued for their acidic juice, their peels or zest can also be used for gastronomic and medicinal purposes.
Scientific evidence shows that, thanks to its calcium, potassium, fiber and vitamin C content, it could improve skin health, help control or lose weight, increase bone density, and stimulate body cleansing.
Sources consulted: American Heart Association, Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, US Department of Agriculture, Harvard Medical School, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.