By Garrick Dee
A glass of lemon water to start your day can help keep the doctor away. Why do I say that? According to Hippocrates “All disease begins in the gut”, and modern research has also concluded that an unhealthy gut environment impacts the immune system and leads to a myriad of diseases.
Drinking vitamin C rich lemon water (especially first thing in the morning) helps your gut by stimulating the production of hydrochloric acid, a critical ingredient needed by our stomach to digest and expel waste. Lemon is known to neutralise free-radicals in our body, and helps greatly in balancing our body’s pH levels (more on that below). And there are more benefits that I want to share with you too.
As recently as a few years ago, I would start my day by drinking a cup of coffee to “wake myself up”. It was a habit that lasted around 7 years until I replaced coffee with juice this year. I have to admit, I still drink coffee but only on occasion when I’m with friends, but it is nowhere near the amount I was drinking before
Why Drink Lemon Water?
Overall, this little yellow fruit packs a lot of nutritional punch. It is rich in antioxidants that will neutralise free radicals from oxidising cells and it stimulates our digestive system to flush out toxins from the body.
The biggest benefit in my book is the very low sugar levels. According to ThePaleoDiet, per 100 grams it only has 0.2 grams of fructose and 0.2 of glucose which makes this fruit suitable for almost anyone looking for a quick nutritional boost every morning.
Here’s the nutrition you’ll get from 100 grams of lemon juice:
HEALTH BENEFITS OF DRINKING LEMON WATER
Lemon is rich in electrolytes and can be used alone or in combination with apple and celery as a post-workout recovery drink. One thing people don’t realise when they workout is that their body becomes very acidic. Lemon is a great neutraliser of that high acidity inside your body. Try some lemon, lime, water, sea salt, and honey/natural sugar to provide a safer, more affordable alternative to commercial “energy drinks”.
Tip: You can also replenish lost fluids during workouts by drinking lemon water instead of just plain water to improve muscle endurance (particularly for running).
Alkalizes the Body, Helps Maintain pH
Nutritionists like Gareth Edwards say that lemon juice has a great alkalising effect on the body because “minerals in it disassociate to make it alkaline”as it gets absorbed by the body. So even though lemon is acidic itself, when it enters the bloodstream “the alkalizing salts override the presence of acids” during the metabolic process that occurs when it enters the bloodstream.
When our body becomes more acidic, it is more prone to disease. So another great way of balancing pH levels is drinking water infused with fresh lemon juice to alkalize the body and lowering acidity levels.
Tip:Avoidadding honey, maple syrup or any type of sweetener because doing so will just have the opposite effect which is to raise the body’s acidity levels.
Lemon has been listed in countless home remedies lists as one of the best natural treatments for asthma because it is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radicals which causes smooth muscle contraction and airway constriction, both symptoms of asthma. It also helps clear out mucus from air vessels.
Tip:: Don’t just rely on lemon for treatment. If your doctor prescribes an inhaler by all means use it just in case you have asthma attacks. Lemon is only meant to provide you with the dietary supplement you need to fight this condition.
Balances Blood Sugar Levels
Lemon is rich in bioflavonoids which give this fruit its yellow colour. This same compound also naturally stimulates the production of insulin in our body which in turn balances our blood sugar levels.
Tip:: If you juice try using lemon as the only sweetener in your recipes, it has very little sugar and calories. It takes a little bit to get used to but the results will be well worth it. If it’s too bitter or sour, add an apple to the mix.
This little yellow fruit is rich in potassium which is considered brain food.
Lemon is a natural energy booster, even more so if you add honey to it. I’ve said earlier in this article that I was a chain coffee drinker, and since I have replaced coffeewith lemon water I have had no regrets whatsoever.
The citric acid present in lemon helps flush toxins from the colon, gallbladder and liver that otherwise would be absorbed by the body. The best effect can be had by drinking lemon juice first thing in the morning before any meals.
Citric acid present in lemon will help dissolve phlegm. In addition to that it is rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C and K that help fight off coughs and colds.
The traditional concoction involves combining lemon with warm water and honey. Warm water in a way soothes irritation (at the same time it is a decongestant) caused by the cough. William Sears says that honey is very effective at dissolving phlegm – more effective than cough syrups.
Tip:: Tip: Remember that if your cough does not improve a few days after drinking this mixture, consult a physician and take proper medication. This only serves as a natural first aid alternative.
Fights Cancer Cells
Remember about the compound Bioflavonoids I was talking about earlier, it turns out that lemon juice also works as an antioxidant that fights cell oxidation and free radical damage which are the main culprits of cancer. Theresa Chung who wrote The Lemon Juice Dietwent as far as saying that it can help prevent cancer. It also contains pectin that according to Vijaya Kumar have been known to protect the intestines from cancer.
Potassium found in lemon is vital for the function of our heart, it does not treat any ailment but it helps in preventing heart related illnesses like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and irregular heartbeat.
Helps Hydrate the Lymphatic System
According to Dr. John Douillard, the lymph system is the largest circulatory system in our body – twice as large as the arterial system, it is responsible for flushing waste and toxins out of our system. Keeping it hydrated is important to our overall health.
Actually, water alone is enough to hydrate the lymph system but I added lemon here because it helps in alkalising thus balancing acidity levels.
Helps Relieve Constipation
This combo is great as a home remedy for constipation. Water helps lubricate the digestive system and soften stool. Citric acid found in lemon induces bowel movement that will flush out undigested waste from the colon.
Helps Treat Scurvy
Scurvy, for those who don’t know, is a disease that is a direct result of vitamin C deficiency. Sailors are most prone to this disease because of their extended trips on the sea that often outlast their supply of fresh produce. Lemon water is the treatment of choice for this ailment because it is rich in vitamin C.
Supports Digestive Health
A cup of warm water before any meal in the morning helps break down waste and flush out toxins from the gut. That’s because at a molecular level, lemon is similar to your saliva in the way it encourages the liver to produce bile – a fluid needed by our intestines to dispose waste and toxins.
Tip: Warm lemon water should be the first thing that goes in your stomach in the morning, before having breakfast or any other liquid.
Helps Prevent Eyesight Degeneration
Being rich in vitamin C also has a positive effect on your eyesight as it helps prevent eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Lemon juice also contains a tiny bit of vitamin A (1% per 244 grams), another key nutrient for good vision.
Supports the Immune System
Lemons are rich in nutrients like bioflavonoids, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, citric acid, folate and pectin that boost our body’s immune system and immobilise free radicals (the cause of many ailments).
Increases Metabolism and Promotes Weight Loss
It is a little known fact that drinking 8 glasses of water (8 ounces per glass) each day actually boosts your metabolism or how much your body burns calories by 30%. This is based on a study done by Michael Boschmann of the Franz Volhard Research Center.
Lemon adds some flavour to water which will help you drink more plus it has pectin which suppresses appetite.
Tip: Most of the pectin and dietary fibre is found in the white pithy part under the skin, make sure to eat this as well.
Helps Keep the Body Hydrated
If drinking pure water is a chore for you, consider adding a few slices of lemon in there to add a bit of flavour and sharpness to it. It will help hydrate your body and replenish lost vitamins and minerals you lose when you get stressed.
Kills Free Radicals
Per 100grams of lemon juice, you’ll get 77% of your daily vitamin C requirements which is known to neutralise free radicalsin our body.
Parasites like worms thrive in an acidic environment. Drinking lemon mixed in water helps to flush them out.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Citrus fruit like lemon are rich in vitamin C that help in thinning the blood, in addition to its antioxidant properties. Another mineral found in this fruit that helps lower blood pressure is potassium that flushes out excess sodium.
Tip: if you suffer high blood pressure it is important that you keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. A lack of water in the body tells your system to go into preservation mode, which means it will hang on to every last drop of water your body has, the effect of which is the thickening of the blood – another cause of high blood pressure.
Lowers Stress Levels
One thing that gets depleted when you’re stressed is vitamin C so the next time your stress levels go up, take a break and replenish that lost vitamin C with a cup of warm lemon water.
Helps Prevent Bad Breath
It helps two ways here. First by killing the bad-breath-causing bacteria in your mouth and second, by flushing away toxins in your liver that when overworked releases bad smelling substances to the bloodstream, lungs then out the mouth.
Its antioxidant properties help you get more radiant skin from the inside out by repairing damaged cells, flushing out toxins and killing free radicals that can ruin our skin.
Reduces Uric Acid and Inflammation
Lemon is rich in potassium and citrate that prevent the crystallisation and build-up of uric acid inside the body which also causes swelling. Since it is a diuretic it will help flush out excess fluid from the body and that includes the uric acid thus reducing inflammation. Inflammation is associated with a range of common diseases.
Tip: To get the maximum benefit, drink a glass after every meal and avoid adding any sweeteners in there like honey because this is a by-product of fructose metabolism.
Treats Kidney Stones
Dr. Hoffman syas that the citrate present in lemon helps inhibit oxalate crystals from forming, one of the most common kidney stones. He recommends mixing 4 ounces of lemon juice to two litres of water to increase urinary citrate levels. Oh, avoid adding any sugar or honey for the maximum benefit.
Helps Prevent Urinary Tract Infection
My wife has had her battles with UTI and a recent bout with it left her weak and unable to work for almost a week. Her friend’s sister had it much worst; the UTI she had led to septic shock which almost took her life – but fortunately she was able to overcome it.
Studies have shown that lemon has antiseptic properties that prevent sepsis – a condition when left untreated may lead to septic shock. If you have UTI, drink lots of water to flush out toxins and facilitate the healing process.
Lemon juice is a natural antibiotic that kills the bacteria inside the bladder and urethra so adding this to water will help in naturally relieving the pain.
Your Liver Will Love It
Vitamin C, which is abundant in lemon, is needed by our body to produce glutathione which is needed to detoxify the liver. Also its antiseptic properties stimulate the liver in flushing out uric acid and other impurities. Consult your health professional first if you have a serious liver complaint.
Finally, avoid lemon if…
Avoid lemon juice if you have an ulcer, or if you’re by chance allergic to lemons.It would be best to consult your health care professional before regularly consuming lemon water if you think you may have an ulcer, allergy, or any other serious medical condition.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is, drinking lemon water promotes healing and improves our health.This fruit from the rind all the way to its juices is a rich source of nutrients, antioxidants and enzymes that help flush out toxins, prevent diseases and promote healing in our bodies. Adding this drink to your diet will do a great deal in balancing your body’s pH levels that prevents it from being too acidic. An acidic environment is where bacteria, parasites and cancer cells tend to thrive.
Remember to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to keep your body hydrated.