When life gives you lemons… Make lemon water!
I never used to like lemon in my water. I’ve always been a water-drinker but was a complete purist – I didn’t like anything to interfere with the clear cleansing purity of unadultered water. While I still drink plenty of pure water throughout the day, I’ve added lemon water to my menu and now begin every day with a warm mug of lemon water.
I started this regular habit when I cut coffee cold turkey after learning of my diagnosis and removing nearly everything from my diet save vegetables, nuts, and a few fruits, and kept up the habit even when I began to relax the dietary restrictions. As much as I love my morning coffee, the caffeine and acidity are not conducive to healing the body. And now I simply don’t need the caffeine.
Fortunately, lemon water serves as a refreshing pick-me-up first thing in the morning. Not only does the vibrant scent and taste of citrus on my tongue perk me up, lemon water has wonderful detoxifying properties and plenty of other health-promoting benefits.
Benefits of Lemon Water
Starting the day with lemon water is one thing everyone can do to immediately improve their health and wellbeing. Here are some of the benefits of starting the day with lemon water – it:
If nothing else, drinking lemon water first thing ensures that you are hydrating your body after 8 (or so) hours of sleep. Drinking a glass of warm water in the morning – with lemon or without – has been shown to be highly beneficial to overall health and wellbeing by flushing and rehydrating the body. Also, many people don’t like the taste of plain water, so adding lemon or infusing with fruit is a great way to ensure proper hydration throughout the day.
Due to its Vitamin C content, lemon juice has long been touted for its cold-fighting properties. By drinking it daily, you’re boosting your body’s infection-fighting capacity and preventing illness before it begins. It also improves the body’s ability to absorb iron, another essential element for our overall health.
Lemon juice helps to remove toxins and waste buildup, including uric acid. Uric acid can clog the joints and is one of the major sources of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is recognized as one of the key contributors to most chronic disease.
Alkalizes the Body.*
While we often associate lemons with sourness and acidity, lemon juice is highly alkalizing in the body, if there is any validity to the theory. According to this alkalinity theory, alkalinity is an essential component of keeping the body in balance. If the body’s pH becomes too acidic, it becomes highly susceptible to inflammation, obesity, and chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
*The validity of this theory is highly debated; nutritionists and many doctors have told me personally and in my trainings that I should eat an alkaline diet, I remain somewhat skeptical of the claims that it will have a tremendous impact on the actual blood pH due to science. Our bodies are designed to stay in a strictly controlled balance. That said, there is still much we don’t know about nutrition and health, and the food we eat does have a direct impact on regulatory systems in the body, such as the endocrine system. Alkaline-promoting foods are all extremely healthy for you, so it’s a great guideline to work with from the simple perspective of improving nutritional quality in the diet.
Lemon water improves digestion. Lemon water can ease indigestion, heartburn, and bloating.
Our bodies are designed to detox overnight while we sleep, and flushing the digestive tract with lemon water first thing upon waking helps to finalize the process and loosen any lingering toxins and waste. It can improve elimination, hydrate the colon, and stimulate bile production.
In addition to boosting our body’s natural elimination capabilities, lemon juice stimulates the liver to enhance enzyme production and acts as a natural diuretic. It fights bacteria and build-up in the urinary tract and can help prevent UTIs.
Lemon water gives you a caffeine-free energy boost and the stimulating scent of citrus improves your mood to start the day off on the right track. Many people find they can ditch the caffeine after adding warm lemon water to their morning routine.
The vitamin C and antioxidants in lemon juice can help to improve skin by preventing free-radical damage that promotes aging, fighting acne, and minimizing wrinkles due to vitamin C’s collagen-promoting properties.
Boosts Brain Power.
Lemons contain high levels of potassium and magnesium, which are highly beneficial to brain and nerve health. While it won’t have any impact on IQ, it promotes mental clarity and focus and can help fend off depression and stress.
So, are you convinced yet? If you want to experiment with lemon water yourself, here’s a simple recipe for your morning lemon water:
- Juice 1/2 a lemon. If you’re just starting with lemon water, you may find that the juice of 1/4 of a lemon is plenty to begin with.
- Boil water and add 4-6 ounces to your mug with the lemon juice. Top it off with a few ounces of cool water. You may also add a few ice cubes. Be sure to have about 8 ounces of water per serving of lemon.**
- Drink up, and when you’re done, swish with some plain water to protect tooth enamel.
- **Optional: you may wish to add some chopped fresh ginger and/or a teaspoon of honey. Raw honey has added health benefits, but it is high in sugar so if you are watching sugar intake, skip the honey.