Lemon Basil Pasta

By: Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH

Lemon Basil PastaLemons are high in nutritional value and surprisingly good for you. They make this Lemon Basil Pasta a star meal.

Health Benefits of Lemons

Lemons are a bit of a paradox, in that they are highly acidic, but produce an alkaline environment within the body. When eaten, the acidic lemon can help augment stomach acid to better digest food, but further down in the digestive process, chemical reactions between the lemon and digestive juices produce an alkaline environment.

The healthy body is slightly alkaline, but the modern diet is one that promotes acidity. Lemons are a great way to restore a healthy pH balance. This makes lemons a particularly good food for those with adrenal fatigue, as high acidity and digestive difficulties are hallmarks of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).

Lemons also have powerful antibacterial properties, and studies have found that lemons can destroy the bacteria that cause such illnesses as malaria, diphtheria, cholera, and typhoid fever. There is some evidence that lemons may also be able to rid the body of intestinal parasites.

Lemons are especially high in vitamin C. One lemon contains half a day’s supply of the cold and flu busting vitamin. The citric acid in lemons can even dissolve gallstones, kidney stones, and calcium deposits. By boosting immune effectiveness, vitamin C helps to nip infections in the bud before they have a chance to weaken the body.

In addition to its immune boosting properties, vitamin C is also key to the cortisol production pathway for the adrenals. As a key building block for important hormones such as cortisol, boosting vitamin C levels also helps to balance cortisol levels during adrenal fatigue recovery.

Lemons are an amazing detoxifier. Lemon stimulates the liver, dissolves uric acid, and liquefies bile. Lemons also help improve waste elimination and promote regularity. And this same detoxifying action also improves your complexion and gives you a healthy glow.

Including lemons in an adrenal fatigue diet is a gentle and convenient way to keep the body free of toxic compounds. Adrenal fatigue creates a dysfunctional stress response system, causing the body to be on edge and overreact to stress. Aggressive detoxification can stress the body and lead to worsening stages of adrenal fatigue, so using lemons as a gentle detoxifier is incredibly helpful to achieve recovery.

Lemons have long been used as performance enhancers and with good reason. Long distance walkers fight fatigue with fresh lemon juice, and many mountain climbers swear by the ability of lemons to help them use oxygen more efficiently.

Don’t Forget the Lemon Zest

Lemon zest also has restorative properties. The zest of a lemon contains calcium, which can help prevent degenerative bone diseases. The zest also contains citrus bioflavonoids. These bioflavonoids reduce oxidative stress on the body and help rid the body of toxins. Lemon zest also contains potassium, which can help stabilize blood pressure and protect your heart. Every 100 grams of lemon zest contains 134 mg calcium, 160 mg potassium, 129 mg vitamin C, and more than 10 grams of fiber.

Take a minute to zest your lemon before or after juicing. Rub the peel against a grater and remove the yellow part only. Freeze for later use. You can add the frozen zest to tea, sprinkle over salad, or simply eat with a little honey.

Lemon Basil Pasta


  • 1 – 14 oz. package gluten-free pasta
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • Lemon zest to taste


  • ¹/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup small black olives, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pan.
  2. Whisk lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl.
  3. Stir in remainder of ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss.

Note: Some people find that complex carbohydrates help them sleep better. If nuts or protein do not improve your sleep, this might be a good alternative.

Lemon Basil Pasta