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Drink Your Vitamin C

Lemon (or lime) juice flavonoids have well known antiobiotic benefits.  They have antibacterial and antiviral properties, lots of Vitamin C which helps your body make white blood cells and some magnesium and potassium so your body can use all the vitamin C efficiently. 

When researching the nutrients in lemons/limes, I found that every lab had different amounts for all the nutrients - which obviously depended on the exact size of the fruit they used - but a side by side comparison is:

Lemons:
An average lemon contains about 3 Tbsp of lemon juice and 2 tsp of lemon zest
An average lemon contains about 21.6 milligrams of Vitamin C.
 . . . so . . . 1 Tbsp of lemon juice is about 7.2 milligrams of Vitamin C

Limes are close but a little less . .
An average lime contains about 2 Tbsp of lime juice  and 2 tsp of lime zest.
An average lime contains about 13.2 milligrams of Vitamin C.
 . . . so . . . 1 Tbsp of lime juice is about 6.6 milligrams of Vitamin C

and that's only the juice - what about the rind and peel?
The peel is more nutrient dense than the juice - albeit a bit more of a challenge to enjoy.
The peel has about 3x more Vitamin C, 8x more Vitamin A, 22x more Calcium, and 50% more Potassium.

Lemons and limes also have several minerals - potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus - and on the vitamin side of things, there is a healthy dose of folate and choline with small amounts of other vitamins as well.

Lemon or lime juice also has a beneficial ph level that is easily absorbed into the system - so it is a more assimilable source of vitamin C (and all the other nutrients) than supplements.  Additionally, the natural form of citric acid found in lemon and limes supports the production of stomach acid (bile) so the juice can aid in digestion.  Natural citric acid is great - MCA (Manufactured Citric Acid) is NOT.

OK, so we know the juice is healthy - and a great antiobiotic - but how to enjoy the juice without adding sweeteners or other ingredients that take away the healthy aspect? 

Let's say you are supposed to drink 64 ounces of water a day - that's 2 quarts.  I like lime juice much better than lemon juice, so I put 1 Tbsp of lime juice in a quart jar of water and sip along - and I try to drink 2 quarts of water a day.  I don't add any sugar and at this dilution, the lime is so mellow that I find I don't need any form of sweetener.  Another benefit is that the electrolytes in lemon (or lime) juice are great for quenching your thirst - an all around winner.

How much?  Aim for 2 Tbsp per day - for general health.  If you are fighting virus or cold you can add more lemon/lime juice - to the point of tolerance.  It is almost impossible to take in too much vitamin C naturally - but if you did, the only outcome is mild diarrhea.

Remember the peel - that powerhouse of nutrients?  This is where the dehydrating comes in - all citrus is super easy to dehydrate - just slice thinly and put in the dehydrator.  The dry slices can be added to water - for cool drinks - or for fabulous teas - or the slices can be ground into a powder.  The powder is super concentrated, so use very sparingly, but try sprinkled on foods for a great zing of flavor.  If you cook with the citrus (fresh, dehydrated or powder), the vitamin C goes out into the tea/cooking water, but as long as you are consuming the water, you are still getting the benefits of the Vitamin C and the other nutrients.




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After Canning (and Dehydrating) Recipes
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