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  • Ellen Brown L.Ac. DACM

25 reasons to start drinking lemon water every morning

Drinking water with fresh-squeezed lemon is a deceptively easy way to boost your health everyday. For such a simple drink, the list of benefits is impressive. Not only does it help nourish the body with vitamins, minerals and vital trace elements that are vital to good health, it’s also a great way to boost your energy without relying on caffeine. Lemon water tastes delicious and is a great way to break your fast after 8 hours without hydration and it gets your metabolism working right away. Adding lemon to your water when you wake up first thing in the morning helps restore dehydrated tissues and flush out toxins that have accumulated over night. Just as lemons are used in cleaning products, this citrus fruit has the potential to clear up everything from your skin to that nasty cold you've been fighting for too long. Lemon water is wonderfully nourishing and hydrating and it could make a significant difference to your energy & vitality. Its mildly alkaline, metabolism-boosting, skin-clearing, antioxidant-rich, vitamin-rich, mineral-rich deliciousness is a very smart way to kick off any day.

Lemons are packed with healthy benefits, including vitamin C, which is essential for normal growth and development. Since the body doesn’t make vitamin C on its own, it’s important to get enough of it from the foods and drinks we ingest. A single lemon contains 30 – 40 mg of vitamin C, as well a healthy dose of vitamin B-complex, magnesium, calcium and folate. And lemons contain more potassium than either apples or grapes.

For those who weigh less than 150 pounds, squeeze half a lemon’s worth of juice into a glass of water. If you’re over 150 pounds, use an entire lemon’s juice. Because raw lemon juice is hard on tooth enamel, it’s important to dilute it with water. Drink it first thing in the morning (in water that is room temperature) on an empty stomach, 15 to 30 minutes before eating breakfast. This will help you fully enjoy the 25 great reasons to start your day drinking lemon water that are listed below.

1. Aids digestion

Because lemon juice’s atomic structure is similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach (including saliva, hydrochloric acid and bile) it tricks the liver into producing bile, which helps keep food moving through your GI tract smoothly. The citrus flavonoids in lemon water help support hydrochloric acid to break down and assimilate the food we eat. These acids also encourage the body to process food more slowly, drawing-out absorption so that insulin levels remain steady and you get more nutrients out of the foods you consume. Finally, lemon water acts as a great digestive tonic, calming an upset stomach or mild indigestion.

The best way to take advantage of lemons for better digestion is to add the zest of lemon to your water in addition to the juice – this helps support the good bacteria in your gut.

2. Strengthens immunity

Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that protects the body against immune system deficiencies. In particular, vitamin C helps stimulate white blood cell production, which is vital to maintaining strong immunity and fighting off cold and flu attacks. Interestingly, the level of vitamin C in your system is one of the first things to plummet when you’re on the verge of a cold, which is why it’s widely recommended to take extra vitamin C at the first signs of a cold.

3. Fights respiratory infections, relieves cough and prevents colds

Thanks to lemon’s anti-inflammatory properties, drinking lemon water can help you battle everything from sore throats to tonsil inflammation. Lemon helps dissolve mucus and lemon acts as a lubricant that coats the backside of your throat providing some relief. Being high in vitamin C and alkaline minerals – in addition to the anti-bacterial and anti-biotic effects of the flavonoids – lemon water also helps prevent and shorten the common cold.

4. Regulates blood pressure

Research suggests that daily ingestion of one lemon may reduce high blood pressure by as much as 10% – and drinking lemon water is a great way to help achieve that quantity.

5. Boosts electrolytes

Lemon water can help replenish body salts that are lost after a strenuous workout by providing you with plenty of hydrating electrolytes, including potassium, calcium and magnesium. In addition, many people don’t realize that their body becomes very acidic after an intense workout – lemon water is a great neutralizer of that high acidity inside your body.

6. Improves liver function and detoxification

The citrate found in lemons is a naturally-occurring inhibitor of toxins that helps the body naturally flush out unwanted waste by enhancing enzyme function and stimulating the liver – the body’s filtration system. That’s because lemons (and lemon peels in particular) contain an antioxidant called d-limonene which has been shown to activate enzymes in the liver that participate in both phases of detoxification to remove toxic substances from our cells (including caffeine to ibuprofen, for instance). D-limonene is a fascinating compound that might also work to ease gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

7. Balances your pH

When our pH level increases, it means that our body is becoming more acidic, which makes us more prone to diseases such as high cholesterol and diabetes. A great way of balancing pH levels is drinking water infused with fresh lemon juice to alkalize the body and lowering acidity levels.

Alkalinity is a process of neutralizing acid in the body which can build up and cause negative side effects such as acid reflux, upset stomach and acidosis. Healthy alkalinity is also believed to benefit bone health, improve cardiovascular health, reduce muscle wasting, and decrease the risk of hypertension and stroke. Lemon water helps to alkalize the body and achieve a higher pH level, which in turn can help your body fight off a wide range of disease.

8. Revitalizes your skin

The antioxidants found in vitamin C help keep skin looking fresh and free of blemishes by fighting the damage caused by free radicals. More than that, the vitamin C contained in lemons also helps produce collagen, essential to smoothing out lines in the face and battling wrinkles. And of course, drinking lots of water keeps the skin hydrated and healthy. If you want fresh youthful skin, you need to consume a diet rich in antioxidants – starting with lemon water every morning.

9. Reduces joint pain

Joint pain – often attributed to a buildup of uric acid – can be combatted with lemon water which stimulates the formation of calcium carbonate to neutralize uric acid. Many gout sufferers drink freshly squeezed lemon water directly after a meal to prevent an attack. Vitamin C-rich foods, such as lemons and limes, also provide protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

10. Combats stress

The vitamin C in lemon water acts as an adaptogen which allows the body to better cope with various physical, environmental and emotional stressors that attack us everyday. As an antioxidant, the vitamin C found in lemons also protects cells from damage caused by free radicals to better ward-off disease.

11. Improves heartburn

Although lemons are acidic to the taste, they are alkaline-forming in the body. In fact, they are one of the most alkalizing foods available, which makes them great for balancing highly acidic conditions in the body (often caused by diet). Lemon juice creates calcium carbonate, which neutralizes digestive acids. Try drinking lemon water 10 minutes before eating a meal to help prevent acid reflux.

12. Boosts you metabolism

Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning gets our system moving and our metabolism ignited. When we’re dehydrated, our metabolism grinds to a halt. Starting a new hydration habit first thing in the morning to get your system moving could make a huge difference to your energy.

13. Prevents kidney stones

Because of their high levels of natural citrate, lemons represent an effective preventative therapy for people who are prone to kidney stones. Drinking lemon juice reduces the acidity of urine, preventing the formation of calcium oxalate and uric acid stones. It is believed that citrate in the urine prevents calcium from binding with other constituents that leads to stones. Moreover, lemon juice helps break up kidneys stones and dissolves them so they can pass more easily from the kidney to the bladder through urination.

14. Clears the bowels

Water is a natural lubricant that softens stool and promotes elimination. Adding lemon juice to your morning routine provides an extra bit of energy that boosts peristalsis to create a bowel movement. Lemon water also helps to eliminate waste through the bowels more efficiently, preventing or alleviating constipation as well as other gastrointestinal disorders.

15. Helps you lose weight

Because lemons contain pectin, a type of fiber commonly found in fruits, drinking lemon water may help you suppress your hunger cravings. Pectin provides a feeling a fullness much like other soluble dietary fibers that help reduce caloric intake, and it is also beneficial to colon health. In addition, drinking lemon water is bound to have fewer calories than anything else you might drink…except plain water.

Of course, drinking water (or lemon water) by itself isn’t going to be a miracle weight loss solution, but along with other healthy habits, it can part of a regime to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

16. Fights off infection

The flavonoids in lemons (called flavonol glycosides) have powerful antibiotic effects that help prevent the growth and multiplication of pathogenic bacteria that cause infections and diseases. In addition, experiments have found that the juice of lemons destroys the bacteria of malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases.

17. Promotes heart health

Lemons are high in potassium, which is good for heart health, as well as brain and nerve function. Not only does the nervous system need a sufficient amount of potassium to ensure sustainable signals to the heart, but depression and anxiety are often associated with low levels of potassium in the blood.

18. Treats asthma

Lemon appears in countless home remedy lists as one of the best natural treatments for asthma because it’s rich in vitamin C – an antioxidant that fights the free radicals that cause smooth muscle contraction and airway constriction – both symptoms of asthma. In addition, lemon water also helps clear out mucus from air vessels. Importantly, don’t give up your inhaler in your fight against asthma – lemon is a dietary supplement to help you fight this condition but not a substitute for your doctor’s advice or prescriptions.

19. Reduces inflammation

Drinking lemon water on a regular basis helps decrease acidity in your body – one of the main causes of inflammation – and increasingly recognized as the root of much disease.

20. Promotes eye health

The vitamins and cartenoids in lemons help maintain the health of the eyes and your eyesight. They may even help prevent macular degeneration.

21. Boosts mineral absorption

The vitamin C found in lemon juice has been shown to enhance mineral absorption (in addition to other non-yellow/orange fruits and vegetables such as bell peppers, kale, strawberries, broccoli, and spinach).

22. Hydrates tissues

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do for our health every day. For those who find water boring, lemon has long been suggested as a tasty addition to help compel us to drink up. Since even mild dehydration can make us more prone to headaches, fatigue and irritability, drinking lemon water through out the day can help your body stay hydrated and happy.

23. Prevents UTIs

If you're suffering from a UTI or looking to prevent them, lemon water helps change the pH of the urinary tract so that harmful bacteria can’t survive.

24. Boosts energy and mood

Consider skipping your morning coffee and substituting lemon water instead to boost energy levels without the caffeine crash. Or, if you’re drained by 2:00 in the afternoon, trying drinking lemon water with honey to boost energy levels since both of these ingredients are natural energy boosters (and they certainly beat drinking artificial energy drinks like Red Bull). Our bodies get energy from the atoms and molecules in the food we eat. When the negatively-charged ions that are found in lemons enter the digestive tract, they naturally increase our energy levels. In addition, even the scent of lemons has been found to reduce stress levels and improve moods.

25. Fights aging & free radical formation

The high levels of vitamin C from lemons travel through the body to neutralize any free radicals it comes in contact with. Free radicals can destroy healthy cells and also cause inflammation or painful swelling in the body. This is one reason that vitamin C has been shown to be helpful for reducing some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

How I Like To Drink Lemon Water

24+ ounces of room temperature, distilled water (I carry this around in a thermos)

1 organic lemon

½ inch piece of fresh ginger root (optional)

It's important to make sure the water is room temperature because cold water can shock your system and prevent the many health benefits from starting to work.

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze one half or the whole lemon into the water.

Peel and slice the ginger root (if choose to use). Add to the water.

TIP: Zest the peel of an organic lemon and store it in the freezer and add a pinch to your lemon water each day.

After drinking, swish with some plain filtered water for 30 seconds to make sure the acid from the lemon juice doesn't remain on teeth.

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