Before we start firing off a million cheesy lemon puns (when life gives you lemons…), we’ll get right to it: We love lemons and we can’t get enough of ‘em.
Aside from making a sweet sparkling probiotic lemonade or cool glass of lemon water, there’s much more you can squeeze (sorry, couldn’t help it) out of one. Yep, we’re talking about how registered dietitians deem this gorgeous sunshine-yellow fruit a goldmine for boosting longevity. From their high vitamin C content to their potent antioxidant properties (not to mention their delicious lip-puckering flavor), it’s no wonder folks have found a million and one ways to consume lemons. Ahead, we’re sharing some of the best lemon recipes to fill your summer with pure sunshine and joy while we break down why they’re so darn good for you, too.
The many longevity-boosting health benefits of lemons
If we were to conjure up a (grocery) list of the most popular ingredients in the Mediterranean diet, lemons would certainly take the crown. And it’s no coincidence: The Mediterranean is home to two of the five Blue Zones—the islands of Ikaria in Greece and Sardinia in Italy—where folks live well into their hundreds (and where lemons abound). Researchers have actually listed lemons as one of eight key fruits to consume as part of the Blue Zone diet.
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty nutrition details. First things firsts, just two tablespoons of lemon juice contains about 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. (It’s no coincidence that vitamin C is great for staving away colds—you can thank its powerful antioxidants for their immune-boosting functions.) What’s more, lemons are packed with polyphenols, which are organic plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help boost brain, heart, immune, and digestive health, to name a few. All to say: When life gives you lemons…you know the drill…you use them in every possible recipe. Sorry not sorry!
4 longevity-boosting lemon recipes to make you feel like a ray of sunshine
1. Zesty lemon pasta
Don’t know what to make for dinner? This five-ingredient lemon pasta by Feel Good Foodie is as comforting as a warm, sunny day at the beach—and proof that sometimes less is, in fact, more. Making use of an entire lemon—zest and juice included—to flavor freshly-cooked spaghetti, this minimalist dish comes together with items you likely already have sitting in your pantry. (Think: olive oil, garlic cloves, and black pepper.) What’s more, using lemon zest is a great way to get the most out of the fruit, as this often overlooked ingredient contains not only lots of flavor but also some nutritional value in the form of calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Get the recipe: Lemon Pasta
2. Garlicky lemon roasted cauliflower
Bland dishes are done for, because there isn’t much a squeeze of lemon can’t fix. Take, for example, roasted cauliflower: Pretty neutral-tasting on its own, right? But toss the florets with a few flavoring ingredients like in this roasted cauliflower with garlic, lemon, and parsley recipe by Feasting at Home, and you’ve got yourself a homerun packed with longevity-boosting ingredients.
Get the recipe: Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Lemon, and Parsley
3. Spicy chicken salad with lemon
Whoever said the only secret ingredient for making chicken salad is copious amounts of mayo was clearly mistaken. And we’ve got the receipts to prove it. This chicken salad, made with delicious ingredients like ginger, scallions, cilantro, soy sauce, and lemons by The Woks of Life, will give you a whole new perspective on this summer BBQ staple.
Get the recipe: Chinese Lemon Chicken Salad
4. Sweet and sour lemon bars
Of course, a meal wouldn’t be complete without a sweet (dessert) ending. On today’s menu? Sweet and sour lemon bars by Tastes Better From Scratch. This easy recipe features a scrumptious shortbread crust with a luxurious and creamy lemon filling. Sweet and sour swoon.
Get the recipe: Perfect Lemon Bars
Can’t have enough lemon recipes? We agree. This gut-healthy gluten-free lemon chia loaf won’t disappoint, either: