Regular consumption of vitamin C — an essential antioxidant nutrient — helps improve immunity, iron absorption, bone health, skin, hair, and eyes. Some people also enjoy a tangy flavour and often add lemon juice to their meals — many a time while the dish is still cooking or is steaming hot. But it is something you have been doing wrong all these years?
Yes, according to nutritionist Juhi Kapoor, who shared that one should avoid putting lemon juice in steaming hot dishes.
“The use of lemon is really important in your daily cooking routine because lemon is loaded with vitamin C which is an essential nutrient that your body needs on a daily basis. Our body does not store or produce vitamin C, hence a daily intake of vitamin C is really important for good health and longevity,” she wrote on Instagram.
But, it must be noted that vitamin C is extremely heat-sensitive, and the nutrient gets easily destroyed by heat. “This is why you should never put lemon juice on food which is still hot, or still cooking on the flame. Unknowingly, this habit is causing the vitamin C from lemon to get destroyed and you are not able to get the full benefit,” she added.
“Especially when we are making meals like curry, dal, upma, or poha, lemon tea – we tend to squeeze the lemon while the food is still being cooked. So, make sure whenever you’re using lemon on any food preparation, keep the food off the flame and let it cool down little bit before you squeeze lemon on to it,” added Kapoor.
Agreed Dr Sawinder Kaur, deputy dean, Head of Department (Food Technology and Nutrition), Lovely Professional University and told indianexpress.com that lemon, which is a a good source of vitamin C, helps in iron absorption when included in the meals.
“But, vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a temperature and light sensitive vitamin. The degradation of vitamin C can happen at temperature as low as 30°C and it is highest at temperature ranging from 85-95°C depending upon time of exposure. This vitamin is also water-soluble and normally leaches in cooking water. Putting lemon juice on hot food can destroy the vitamin and its enzymatic activity,” she noted.