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Limoneira donates lemons to help hospital staff keep immune systems strong

lemoneneeWhile there may be some exaggerated claims about the curative and preventive powers of mega-doses of vitamin C supplements, there is a strong consensus among health professionals that adequate dietary vitamin C is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system.

Lemons are among the best dietary sources of vitamin C.

These are facts that Harold Edwards, president and chief executive officer of Limoneira, based in Santa Paula, CA, has long been keenly aware.

Prior to taking the helm at Limoneira in 2004, Edwards was president of Puritan Medical Products, and before that, he held a management position at Fischer Scientific. Both companies are major suppliers to hospitals and today are very much on the front lines of the effort to deliver urgently needed supplies to medical professionals and hospitals battling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to their desperate need for masks, gowns, gloves, sanitizers, and other medical supplies, over-worked doctors, nurses and other medical staff in the overburdened hospitals need to keep their own immune systems strong. Edwards was quick to recognize that, and to realize that while his present company was not in a position to provide much in the way of basic medical supplies doctors need, it does deal in a product that can help those doctors keep themselves healthy.

“Lemons have a great deal of vitamin C, so we thought what we should do is send lemons to all of the hospitals so the doctors and nurses can have them and drink lemon water, because vitamin C helps you with building immunity,” he said. “Now if you get the virus, it is not going to eradicate the virus, but it is going to help build your immune system.”

Beyond the lemons, Limoneira actually found a way to give some help to a local hospital with basic medical supplies. “We have uniforms that are disposable for employees,” Edwards said. “We are sending those to a hospital here in Ventura.”

Edwards also emphasized the value of lemons, and of fresh produce in general, in everyone’s diet to help keep them healthy.

“We have a new campaign called ‘Take a Healthy Stand’ where we are talking about just eating real foods and getting healthy. Real foods are more beneficial than dietary supplements,” he said. The company has also launched a new app: The Produce Department Is Nature’s Pharmacy.

“At Limoneira, we know that good health and maintaining balance continues to be important to all of us, and that produce and citrus can be critical to this balance,” Edwards said. “We understand that people are busy and looking for solutions that are easy to incorporate into their busy lives, and the Nature’s Pharmacy app does just that. Limoneira is proud to be a leader in educating consumers about how to eat their way to optimum health naturally.”

“Nature’s Pharmacy and ‘Take a Healthy Stand’ are important components of the food as medicine movement taking hold nationwide,” said Megan Roosevelt, a Limoneira nutritionist and spokesperson. “Food as medicine maintains that fresh, healthy produce such as lemons can help avoid an expensive and perhaps less effective trip to the grocery department’s supplement aisle.”

Edwards also reminded consumers that lemons can be used “for healthy cleaning and disinfecting” of hands and surfaces. In these days when disinfectants and sanitizing products are in short supply, that is a good thing to know.

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