I was telling a good friend recently about our lemon-water-first-thing-in-the-morning routine and the health benefits of it, and she suggested readers might be interested. Of course everybody knows lemons have a good amount of vitamin C in them, but you may not know to what extent lemon juice helps your body. It’s actually pretty amazing.
One cup of lemon juice provides almost 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Lemon juice also has potassium, magnesium and copper — who knew we needed that? There are many other beneficial things about drinking lemon water.
Detoxification and dijestion. Basically, lemon juice helps keep things moving through your system — it can also help relieve an upset stomach.
The acids in lemon juice help your body process healthy nutrients more slowly — giving your body more time to benefit from them. It also combats bloating and stimulates your liver to flush out toxins.
Vitamin C. Did you realize our bodies don’t make vitamin C, so we must get it from food, drinks or supplements? We need vitamin C for so many things. It stimulates white blood cells (hello strong immune system) and helps prevent cell damage. We are going into the cold and flu season, so we all need to bump up our immune systems.
Good for your skin. Getting adequate amounts of vitamin C helps your body to continue producing collagen. There is a reason celebrities consume collagen and as you can imagine, it has to do with how they want to look: younger with fewer wrinkles.
Weight loss. If you were on the fence about adding lemon water to your routine, isn’t this one reason enough? Lemons contain pectin, a type of fiber found in many fruits. Studies show this helps us feel fuller for a longer period of time, thus aiding in eating less and losing weight.
Energy booster. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning, can actually give you an energy boost — and all without that inevitable caffeine crash that can happen mid-morning. Who knew there were negative charged ions in lemons which can increase your energy level all day long.
Now, let me give you some tips for getting started with this new, healthy habit that is sure to improve your overall health. First thing in the morning, combine a freshly-juiced lemon half with half to one cup of room temperature or warm water.
Cold or iced lemon water can be a shock to the system when you first wake up. If you really want to give your metabolism a kick, add a small pinch of cayenne pepper. While a hand held lemon juicer works fine, consider investing in an electric juicer specifically for lemons, limes and oranges. I found one for $20 a few years ago and it is infinitely better than my hand held one.
The electric juicer gets every drop of juice from your citrus, sans seeds. One tip, go ahead and juice a bag of lemons all at once, and then freeze the juice in small ice cube trays. You will always have fresh lemon juice to use throughout the day.
I also use a lot of lemon juice in cooking. It’s great in salad dressing instead of vinegar. It’s central to Caesar salad dressing, one of our favorites.
I drink lots of iced tea (unsweetened, and yes I know that is strange for a Southerner), and lemon juice is delicious in it. Lemon zest, not the white bitter pith, adds so much flavor to many dishes. I recommend purchasing organic lemons if you are going to use the zest.
Lemons last longer if you store them in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator, but ours go so quickly we usually leave them on the counter.
Nothing looks as pretty as a nice wooden bowl filled with sunny lemons on the kitchen table or counter.
If you have never tried it, I hope you will consider adding lemon water to your daily routine and consume more fresh lemon juice for the health benefits. I always want my readers to be healthy!
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.