Five Reasons Why You Should Eat More Lemon Zest
Lemon zest – you probably use it occasionally in baked goods or maybe a salad dressing, but it may not be an everyday go-to staple of your kitchen.
You should reconsider. Adding the tang of lemon zest to everyday meals ccould result in a whole lot of health benefits. The reason? Lemon zest – the colored part of the peel – is packed with flavonoids, vitamins, and other nutrients. It’s like the lemon flesh and juice, in concentrated form. In addition, it contains some compounds that are not present in the flesh or juice.
Limonene is a component of lemon zest. There are two types. L-limonene smells like turpentine – it is, in fact, a common terpene. Limonene-L is used in cleaning products. D-limonene is what gives lemons (and other citrus fruits) their luscious scent.
Here are five research-based reasons why you should increase your intake of limonene.
1. Inflammation – D-limonene may help to control inflammation at the cellular level. It also helps to prevent oxidative stress, and was found to cause the death of skin tumor cells in mice in a laboratory experiment. The results of a study at the Hamdard University, India were published in 2012.
2. Mitigates cancer cell proliferation – This was the result of two studies a the University of Arizona Cancer Center in 2013 and 2015. Introducing limonene to cultures of breast cancer cells reduced the size of tumors, and inhibited proliferation.
4. Wound healing – A study at the Biopark Campus Cancer Center at the University of Maryland in 2014 looked at the healing properties of limonene. Researchers analyzed the results on larger and even microscopic wounds. Limonene and periyll alcohol, a metabolite, helped to mitigate damage, and speed up healing.
5. Traditional medicine validated – A study at the Dept. of Environmental Medicine, Kochi Medical School, Japan in 2010 used limonene from the peel of the Yuzu fruit, which has been used in traditional medicine practices for centuries. The results show promising results in the treatment of bronchial asthma.
As the researchers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center noted, “Future controlled clinical trials with limonene are necessary to determine the potential role and mechanisms of limonene in the breast cancer prevention setting.”
Research into limonene and the many other compounds, molecules, and nutrients found in lemon and other citrus peels has only begun in the last decade or so, but looks promising in many respects.