Harley Pasternak: 5 Ways Lemons Can Improve Your Health

07/02/2014 at 12:45 PM ET

Harley PasternakGetty. Inset: Courtesy Harley Pasternak

Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. Tweet him @harleypasternak.

This summer, you may be enjoying a refreshing glass of water with a slice of lemon, a tasty salad with a lemon-infused dressing, or perhaps a succulent chicken breast doused with a lemon and herb sauce. Lemons are a simple but extremely flavorful component of a wide variety of beverages and food.

But did you know that this juicy, refreshing citrus fruit is packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that are fantastic for your health? Surprise! Read on to find out how lemons can easily give you a big boost:

They’re an appetite suppressant. Want to fight the hunger pangs that creep up on you throughout the day? Try adding lemon to your meal or beverage. Lemon and lemon peel contain high amounts of pectin (soluble fiber), which can make you feel fuller longer. It gives you a smaller chance of indulging on that extra snack which may have otherwise been more tempting!

They help regulate weight, body fat and insulin resistance. Worried about your body weight, body fat or insulin sensitivity? Lemons can help improve all of these factors. Lemon polyphenols (antioxidants) have been shown to suppress weight gain and body fat accumulation, as well as insulin resistance. These polyphenols can be found in lemon peels, so be sure to include grated lemon peels in your salads or sauces.

They enhance immune function. Want to try and avoid or lessen the severity of an infection? Lemons are rich in Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), a vitamin known for its health benefits as an antioxidant. When Vitamin C is in abundance in the body, one of these benefits includes increased antibody activity and resistance to infection as noted by a 2011 review article compiled by researchers in Germany.

They aid in digestion. Want to improve your gastrointestinal health? Due to their abundance of flavanones (antioxidant-rich phytochemicals), lemons have been considered a “digestive tonic.” Whether you want to ease the passage of food through your gastrointestinal tract or protect against ulcers, lemons can help.

They’re disease fighting. Can lemons aid in the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases? Packed with high amounts of antioxidant-rich nutrients, lemons have been suggested to play a protective role in the prevention and treatment of various diseases. From dyslipidemia (abnormal blood lipid profile), to atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) and even different types of cancers, lemons can potentially have a positive impact.

Ready to up your lemon intake? Check out this delicious recipe for lemon artichoke dip with crudités!

Makes 2 servings
9 oz. artichoke hearts
4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp. fresh parsley
2 oz. reduced fat sour cream
6 oz. Greek yogurt
6 tbsp. reduced fat Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of hot sauce (optional)

Serve with:
12 baby carrots
4 medium celery stalks, cut into sticks
1 small cucumber, cut into sticks

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until fully combined. Pulse longer for a smoother, creamier dip.

2. Season with salt and pepper, and hot sauce if desired.

3. Serve with veggie sticks.

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Monica on

Can the same be said for limes? We use limes in Mexico and I was wondering if they have the same benefits as lemons.

Beth on

Monica, in the studies that he refers to, limes are mentioned as well. Hope that helps 🙂

whatever on

I love lemons and limes, yay! Hot lemon water is a daily thing for me, gets everything flowing 😉

Mary on

Love lemons, I and hubby can eat them like an orange.

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