How do you start your day? Perhaps it's with a cup of steaming coffee or tea, or a hearty breakfast before heading off to work. Or, if you're the early morning gym-going type, no doubt you have a small pre-workout snack.
All of these are great ways to start the day, but perhaps you'd be willing to consider one small addition to your morning routine: a cup of lemon water.
"Lemon water?" you may be thinking.
"What the heck is sour water going to do for me?" Well, I'm so glad you asked!
Read on to find out the MANY benefits of lemon water in the morning (including for those of you who are sleepy heads and suffer from bad sleep and need to use a sleep apnea mouthpiece. You'd be surprised by the sheer number of ways water with a bit of lemon juice can make you healthier…
Benefits of Lemon Water: Bonus Hydration
Did you know that as many as 75% of Americans may have a problem with chronic dehydration? According to a study published in Medical Daily, three out of every four Americans fail to drink the recommended 10 cups of water per day.
If you think 10 cups of water is a lot, consider how much our bodies rely on water. Our bodies are 60% water, but our muscles are 75% water and our brains 85%. Imagine what happens if you don't get enough water. It's like an engine running out of oil--the machine starts to break down!
That's one of the best things about a glass of lemon water in the morning. It starts your day off right, giving you the liquid your body craves after a night's sleep. Lemon juice makes the water tastier and more enjoyable, encouraging you to drink it.
Benefits of Lemon Water: Digestive Aid
Had a long night of tossing and turning as a result of acid reflux or indigestion? Have a hard time digesting certain breakfast foods (oats, cereal, eggs, tomatoes, etc.)?
Want to ensure you have healthier digestive function all day long? Down a glass of lemon water to kick the day off right!
Lemon is a very acidic food so that it can contribute to problems like stomach cramps or ulcers. However, despite its high acidity, lemon promotes an alkaline pH in the body.
Lemon juice can also help your body to absorb the aluminum hydroxide in the antacid you're taking to deal with the acid reflux. Drinking more water can help to reduce the risk of constipation, and the lemon will help to stimulate healthy digestion and elimination of waste.
The acid in lemon juice will also help to break down your food more efficiently, making it easier for your body to extract maximum nutrients from every meal. It slows down the absorption rate and prevents blood sugar spikes.
As a bonus, lemon juice helps to loosen the toxins floating around in your GI tract, relieve the painful symptoms that accompany indigestion, and even reduce the risk of burping and bloating resulting from excess gas production in your gut. Lemon water can keep your digestive system purring like a kitty all day long.
Benefits of Lemon Water: Immune Booster
Lemons are one of the best sources of ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C. Your immune system relies on Vitamin C to function properly.
Without enough Vitamin C, it is unable to defend against certain bacteria, viruses, germs, fungi, and parasites. Getting more Vitamin C can essentially improve your body's natural immunity and defenses against pathogens.
You remember how your mother used to feed you orange juice to give you more Vitamin C to fight off a cold or flu? Vitamin C won't be an effective deterrent against the common cold, but it can help to reduce both the severity and duration of the cold. You'll get better faster, and the symptoms of your cold won't be quite as bad.
The beauty of drinking lemon water in the morning (and throughout the day) is that it provides you with plenty of Vitamin C. You won't have to take a Vitamin C supplement to combat a vitamin deficiency, as you'll be getting more than enough of this important vitamin in your daily diet.
Benefits of Lemon Water: Good Source of Potassium
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Do you have any idea how important potassium is for your overall health? It's very possibly one of the most vital minerals, for some reasons:
- It plays a role in regulating fluid balance. Together with sodium, potassium ensures that there is enough water in your body to maintain healthy function, but not so much that you retain fluid It's the other electrolyte that balances out sodium.
- It keeps your brain healthy. Potassium ensures that your brain gets enough oxygen to function properly, stimulating cognitive function and increase neural activity. Plus, it dilates the blood vessels in your brain, preventing strokes.
- It is vital for healthy bones. The mineral neutralizes certain acids in your body, preventing those acids from interfering with calcium absorption. Thanks to potassium, your bones can get all the calcium they need to stay strong.
- It is important for heart function. Remember how potassium helps to regulate sodium levels? High sodium levels can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure. By consuming more potassium, you reduce the risk of high blood pressure, preventing heart strain and excessive wear and tear.
And these are just a few of the MANY, MANY reasons you need more potassium. (Click here to find out more…)
Lemons are an amazing source of this vital macromineral, with 138 mg of potassium per 100 grams of lemon. Your body needs about 3,500 mg of potassium per day, so adding lemon water to your diet makes it easier for you to reach your daily intake of this mineral.
Benefits of Lemon Water: Breath-Friendly
Worried about bad breath?
Drink a few cups of lemon water to deal with the problem!
Bad breath is primarily caused by bacteria, either in the mouth, throat, or digestive tract. If you've got bad breath, it's a sign that there are too many bacteria flourishing in your body. Just brushing your teeth isn't going to be enough to deal with the problem. It will only mask the bad smell for a little while. The bad breath will return in the end.
Unless, of course, you find a way to kill off the odor-causing bacteria, which is where lemon comes in. Lemon is a potent antiseptic (why else do you think it's used in so many odor and germ-killing products?) that is more than capable of killing off the bacteria that is responsible for your bad breath.
To deal with the problem, drink a few glasses of lemon water throughout the day, and swish each mouthful around before swallowing. The acid in the lemon juice will kill off the bacteria, leaving your mouth free of the bad smell.
Citric acid can wear away at the enamel of your teeth. If you swish your mouth with lemon water, wait a few hours before brushing your teeth. Or, simply brush before drinking.
Benefits of Lemon Water: Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is one of the four cardinal signs of injury (along with redness, pain, and heat), but it's probably the most common. Even minor injuries that don't cause pain or redness may cause swelling, preventing your body from repairing the damage.
Thankfully, lemon water is one of the best inflammation-fighting foods. All citrus fruits--including oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and lemons--are packed with Vitamin C. Your body needs Vitamin C in order to produce collagen, a protein that is used to make repairs to every part of your body: skin, blood vessels, connective tissue, and even your bones. Getting more Vitamin C makes it easier for your body to make repairs to damaged tissue.
The antioxidants in lemons are also powerful anti-inflammatory agents. They can help to reduce swelling (even minor internal swelling), thereby enabling your body to repair any damaged tissue. For those with inflammatory diseases (such as arthritis), lemon water can be a simple yet highly effective method for combatting the swelling.
Benefits of Lemon Water: Weight Loss
This is one of those benefits of lemon water that come closer to myth than fact.
Lemon does offer a few benefits that can make weight loss easier:
- It suppresses your appetite. Thanks to the pectin (a type of fiber) found in lemons, you will be less likely to develop uncontrollable cravings or strong hunger pangs. However, the amount of pectin in lemon water is so minimal that it won't really stop you from feeling hungry. At best, it will delay the hunger for a little while.
- It stimulates your metabolism. Drinking more water (more than 8.5 cups per day) will help to boost your metabolism, by as much as 100 calories per day. Water helps to improve metabolism by up to 30%, making it easier to lose weight. However, the lemon itself has little to do with this. It's simply the act of increasing water intake that benefits your metabolism.
- It limits calories. Lemon juice has almost no calories--just 29 per 100 grams. A single glass of lemon water has fewer than 10 calories, making it a diet-friendly drink that you can pretty much enjoy at will. It will be a flavorful drink you can enjoy instead of juice or soda.
As you can see, the weight loss benefits of lemon water do exist, but that doesn't mean lemon water is a proper "weight loss remedy." Though drinking more lemon water WILL help you to lose weight, it's no replacement for a healthy diet and workout program!
Benefits of Lemon Water: Reduce Bloating
Bloating is a problem that is fairly common in this modern day and age, thanks to the wide range of chemicals and additives used in the manufacturing of the food and drinks we eat. These chemicals cause our bodies to retain water, leading to the swelling we know as "bloating."
However, that's where lemon juice comes in! Lemon is a diuretic, meaning it encourages the healthy elimination of water via your urine. Simply put: it makes you pee more.
By increasing urine output, it reduces the amount of water in your body. This effectively prevents bloating and water retention, helping to prevent "water weight gain". Plus, it reduces the risk that excess water retention causes high blood pressure and impairs heart function. Definitely, a good reason to add lemon water to your diet!
How to Make Your Own Lemon Water
You'd think making lemon water would be as easy as squeezing a lemon into the water, right? Well, it's not quite that simple…
The real benefits of lemon water come from EVERY part of the lemon, not just the juice. This includes the oil and the fiber in the pulp. To make proper lemon water takes a bit more time than you'd expect.
Here is how it's done:
Step 1: Cut the lemon into thin slices. You'll use 2-3 lemons per pitcher.
Step 2: Place the lemon slices in a 2-quart pitcher. (It's best to make a large quantity at once)
Step 3: Fill the pitcher with water, and place it in the fridge.
Step 4: Let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours to ensure that the maximum nutrients are extracted from the fruit.
Step 5: Serve and enjoy!
The beauty of this is that you can use the same lemon slices for at least 2-3 pitchers of lemon water before they lose their flavor and nutrients.
Just like that, you've got delicious lemon water to start your morning off right! By adding lemon water to your diet, you benefit your body in many ways--as listed above. It's quick, easy, and helps to improve your health with only a few sips.
And aside from the fact that it benefits your body, it also makes you feel great. It gives you the right kind of energy you need and lifts your spirit for a sunny day feel.
Do you drink lemon water regularly?
Let us know in the comments below!