When life gives you lemons, the research suggests to boil them, not make lemonade. Find out more about the most recently published studies in the world of nutrition in this week’s Nutrition News.

The health benefits of boiling lemons

Hot honey and lemon water has been a cold remedy, thought to support the immune system, that has been passed down for generations but can drinking lemon water actually bring any real health benefits? This article from Medical News Today looks at the science behind this simple drink and aims to answer those questions.

Besides supporting the immune system, which lemon water does through its vitamin C content, boiled water with lemon could also support healthy skin through vitamin C, which acts as a powerful antioxidant, fighting free radicals and helping the skin to heal faster.

It is also thought that the lemons in lemon water could help lower blood pressure due to their mineral content. The citrus fruit is a good source of potassium and calcium, which supports heart health through maintaining normal blood pressure. There have also been studies that have evaluated lemon water’s role in weight management, although none are conclusive as yet and the findings don’t suggest it is any more beneficial than keeping hydrated with plain water.

By boiling lemons and drinking the cooled, lemon infused water, you are giving the body a wealth of nutrients that can support a range of normal functions. The nutrients in lemon juice include iron, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, zinc, copper, riboflavin, and manganese.

Nutrient profiling system ranking foods for their health benefits

We all have a rough idea of what is healthy and what might be deemed less healthy to eat but a scientific team at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts has developed a new tool that ranks foods by their nutrient profile to give a clear picture of what we should be consuming more, and less, of.

The new tool, called the Food Compass, aims to help people more easily assess how much of what kind of foods we should include in our diet. Rather than simply focussing on eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, the system uses 54 different characteristics to score the food, beverage or mixed dish and these characteristics take into account attributes linked to chronic diseases. The system has been designed so further characteristics can be evolved based on future studies and their findings, such as gastrointestinal health, immune function, brain health, bone health, and physical and mental performance; as well as considerations around sustainability.

The scoring system ranked foods, beverages and mixed dishes from one (least healthy) to 100 (most healthy), any score over 70 was deemed healthy enough to be encouraged. The lowest scoring category was snacks and sweet desserts whilst the highest was vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes.

As the first major nutrient profiling system of its kind, it is hoped that the Food Compass will go onto inform government strategy and help guide consumer behaviour to make more informed choices about their diet and less strain on medical services.

Alpha Lipoic Acid associated with lower mortality

An international team of researchers has added to increasing research on the role of alpha lipoic acid in lowering mortality. Previous studies have investigated this link but have been inconclusive.

Alpha lipoic acid is a type of omega 3 polyunsaturated fat found mainly in nuts, seeds and, plant oils. As reported in this article, the team of researchers analysed 41 studies between 1991 and 2021 on the associations between alpha lipoic acid and risk of death from all causes; this involved 120,000 participants. The studies were thoroughly assessed for bias and found that a high intake of alpha lipoic acid was associated a 10% lower risk of mortality from all causes, an 8% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and an 11% lower risk of death from coronary heart disease.

While further research is needed as these findings are based on observational data, it is worth noting that the researchers deem the findings robust due to the stringent study inclusion criteria and systematic evaluation of study.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is the Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.