Lemons: A Zesty, Healthy Fruit

Your main squeeze for potassium and the antioxidant vitamin C.

By Meredith Stanton
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Kathleen M Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

Your taste buds may cringe if you eat lemon alone, but this zesty citrus fruit is low in calories (one medium lemon has just 17) and high in potassium -- a single lemon provides 80 milligrams of the essential mineral. Potassium is vital for maintaining the body's fluid balance, muscle function, and basic cell function.

Lemons are also an excellent source of the cancer-fighting antioxidant vitamin C, also needed for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.

Hailing from Asia, lemons arrived in Europe and the Middle East in the third century thanks to Alexander the Great. Did you know that there are two kinds: acid (for example, Eureka) and sweet (like the prized Meyer)? Squeeze either kind over salads, steamed vegetables, and soups -- or bake them in a tart, pie, or cake.

No matter how you slice it, this golden fruit delivers powerhouse nutrients and great flavor.

Recipe

Baked Lemon Pudding Cake
Makes 6 servings

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as one medium dessert

Canola cooking spray
2 tbsp butter (no-fat or low-trans-fat margarine can be substituted)
6 tbsp Splenda (sugar substitute)
6 tbsp super-fine granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice
Zest from one lemon, finely chopped
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
Powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter or margarine well with an electric mixer. Add the sugar substitute and sugar and beat well.
  3. With an egg separator, separate the eggs; save the egg whites in another mixing bowl. Add the yolks to the butter mixture one by one. Gradually add the lemon juice and lemon zest. The batter will look like lemon frosting at this point. Slowly add the milk to make a thin batter. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they are stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate.
  5. Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and allow the pudding cake to cool.
  6. Dust top with powdered sugar and serve with fresh sliced strawberries, if desired.

Per serving (without strawberries): 170 calories, 5 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat (3.3 g saturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat), 83 mg cholesterol, 0.4 g fiber, 83 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 32%.

Published June 2006.


SOURCE: Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

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