When life hands you lemons, eat ’em! 

When life hands you lemons, eat ’em! That’s right, get ready to pucker up, because lemon juice helps lower blood sugar, thanks to its incredible acidity (just thinking about lemons starts your salivary glands gushing). Because of that acidity, even a little lemon juice can lower the GL of any meal. Lime juice should have a similar effect.

Health Bonus
Four tablespoons of lemon juice will give you almost half the vitamin C you need for the day. Remember, antioxidants like vitamin C make cholesterol less likely to stick to your artery walls. Lemons are also packed with a natural disease-preventing compound called limonene that may help lower cholesterol and is even being studied for its potentially potent anticancer powers.

The citric acid in lemon juice also helps stave off kidney stones by reducing the excretion of calcium in the urine. Lemon rind is rich in a compound called rutin, which strengthens the walls of veins and capillaries, potentially reducing the pain and severity of varicose veins.

Glycemic Load: Very low
Looking for a juicy lemon? Give it a squeeze. The softer the lemon, the thinner the skin and the juicier the fruit is. To maximize juice output, bring lemons to room temperature and roll them firmly back and forth on the counter a few times with the palm of your hand before cutting.

Menu Magic

  • Use lemon juice in salad dressings.
  • Serve plenty of lemon slices alongside fish, which wouldn’t be the same without them.
  • Add it to tuna the next time you make yourself a tuna sandwich.
  • Spritz your water or seltzer with lemon juice to add flavor (possibly encouraging you to drink more water) and lessen the blood sugar impact of whatever you’re eating.
  • Think lemon chicken!
  • Use lemon juice in marinades for meat or poultry. Combine lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh rosemary, and minced garlic, then add the meat and refrigerate overnight, if possible.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice on vegetables, pasta, soups, rice, and stews. It will add so much flavor, you’ll be able to cut back on salt.

Perfect Portion: 1 to 2 tablespoons
If the effects of lemon juice are anything like those of vinegar — and we think they are — 1 to 2 tablespoons should be enough to lower the blood sugar impact of a meal by as much as 30 percent.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest