7 surprising ways you can use lemons to improve your health

The best way to improve your health is to eat a balanced diet. This means including citrus fruits as they are packed with vitamin C. According to Medical News Today, one lemon yields 44.5 mg of vitamin C.

This vitamin is responsible for shortening the length of a cold, fighting scurvy, increasing iron absorption, producing collagen and lowering the risk of a stroke. Lemons are an efficient way to boost your intake of vitamin C because they can be used in cooking meals and making desserts, drinks and body products. Check out the seven ways lemons can benefit you.

1. Shorten a cold
To help boost your immune system and shorten a cold, try making lemon tea. The steam will help open the sinus cavities, and the honey will soothe your throat. Simply Recipes says to put 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/2 cup of hot water in a cup. Stir it and drink.

2. Soothe a cough
You can soothe a cough with this recipe from Coconut Mama. Combine 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 cup honey and 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Warm in a pan on the stove. Store in the refrigerator when you’re not using it, but it will need to be warmed before each use as the coconut oil will solidify.

3. Repair sun damage
The vitamin C in lemon can be absorbed when applied topically, according to Medical News Today, and will help repair damage done to the skin by the sun. Get Inspired Everyday shares a lemon body butter recipe: Melt 6 tablespoons coconut oil and 1/4 cup cocoa butter in a pan on the stove; once melted, remove from the heat and add 1 tablespoon vitamin E oil and 1/4 teaspoon lemon essential oils. Let the butter harden, then whip to the desired consistency and put in a jar.

4. Exfoliate your skin
Because it’s so good for your skin, you can make an exfoliating face wash with lemon. Dr. Axe heats 1 cup coconut oil in a pan on the stove until it’s liquid. Add 1 tablespoon baking soda, 5 drops lavender essential oil, 5 drops frankincense and 5 drops lemon essential oils. Mix well and store in a jar.

5. Soften skin
You can also create bath bombs with lemon essential oils to soak in and help soften skin and help fight sun damage. Beauty Crafter combines 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup citric acid, 1/2 cup corn starch and 1/4 cup Epsom salt. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients. Add 1-1/2 cups fractionated coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon lemon essential oil and 1/2 to 1 tablespoon water. Use just enough water to make the mixture hold together and form balls. Press the mixture into a mold and let it dry. Once dry, store the bombs in airtight containers.

6. Lose weight
A common misconception is that lemon water will increase your metabolism and help you lose weight. Women’s Health Magazine points out that lemon water does not actually help lose weight. The reason why some may lose extra weight while drinking lemon water is that it is replacing a drink that contains calories.

7. Relieve arthritis pain
One of the latest trends is using lemon peel to help relieve arthritis pain. Does it work? It’s not listed among WebMD’s alternative remedies nor the Mayo Clinic’s. A Step to Health recipe for joint pain calls for the peel from two lemons and some eucalyptus leaves to be placed in a jar. Put enough olive oil over them to cover them and let them sit for two weeks. At the end of that time, put some of the oil on gauze and put the gauze on the painful joint. Those who recommend this treatment say to use it at night to get maximum absorption.

With lemon being such a potent source of vitamin C and an easy way to boost collagen production, why not add it to your diet? You can make refreshing desserts and drinks, tasty teas and delightful lotions, bringing back the zest of citrus.