Ahhh, collagen. Why do you desert us as we age? This vital protein that keeps our skin taught begins to diminish from our mid-20s. By the time we are in our 80s, our bodies have just a fourth of what we started out with at birth.
Collagen helps to keep our skin full and springy, and without enough of it we develop wrinkles, creasing and sagging.
Unless you are willing to spend heaps on surgery, other expensive treatments or ‘miracle’ creams, it is hard to return to looking like we did all those years ago.
However, science tells us that ascorbic acid – that’s vitamin C – can help your body make collagen. So, naturally, eating foods rich in the vitamin will increase your body’s ability to manufacture this anti-wrinkle protein.
Better news is that you don’t have to go out of your way to chomp through an orange or any other food high in vitamin C which you would normally avoid.
Here is where lemons come to the rescue. Yes, we know Peter, Paul and Mary would warn us that the fruit of the poor lemon tree is impossible to eat, but don’t screw your nose up yet. All you have to do is squeeze it over your food or into a daily glass of water and you’re on your way to a more youthful glow … or at the very least, you will be slowing down the ageing of your skin.
Lemons also contain two key vitamin Bs – thiamine and riboflavin. These help rejuvenate your body’s cells and assist them in their functioning.
Antioxidants in flavonoids, phenolic acids and essential oils are also known to prevent damage to cells and they, too, are plentiful in lemons. Antioxidants fight off free radicals, those compounds that damage cells and spark disease.
“Lemons and limes have special chemicals that may keep brain cells safe from toxic substances in your body. And because they also protect against general cell breakdown and inflammation, they may help prevent brain diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s,” according to the WebMD site.
As well as helping you to look good on the outside, treat your insides too, with this old-fashioned recipe for a refreshing lemonade.
But before you gorge on foods rich in ascorbic acids, if you take medications, especially blood pressure tablets, check with your doctor first, as vitamin C can interfere with them.
Do you mind a squeeze of lemon in your food? What foods do you eat to ensure you get enough vitamin C? What are your favourite lemon-based recipes?