Recently, I ended a long standing relationship with coffee. For close to three decades, I was a devoted coffee drinker. But over time I began to realize that coffee was depleting my energy and interfering with my sleep. So I decided to cut back. It was a gradual process but I got myself down to just one cup in the morning. I was happy with my single morning cup until one day I discovered I didn’t want it anymore. Perhaps, after making so many healthy changes to my eating, my body was telling me that coffee was no longer needed. So I stopped. And the amazing thing I discovered was that my desire for coffee quickly vanished. I truly believe it had become more of a comforting habit than anything else, and when I finally gave it up I gained increased energy, clarity and better sleep.
But I also quickly discovered that I still longed for a comforting ritual to begin my mornings. I needed something to fill my special, hand-painted mug, which was a gift from my husband. Something I could sip as I eased myself into my hectic day. What I found is warm lemon water and it is a perfect fit. Lemon is a natural energizer, it hydrates and oxygenates the body so it feels revitalized and refreshed. I happen to like the taste of lemon water and find it refreshing so I enjoy drinking it. If you don’t like the taste, you can chose to drink it down quickly. Either way, drinking warm lemon water is a great way to kick-start your day.
Warm lemon water is also pretty darn simple to prepare. Simply squeeze the juice of one lemon (organic if possible) into filtered warm water. The water should not be boiling hot (that will destroy some of the enzymatic properties of fresh lemons) or ice cold (this will hinder the digestive benefits of the lemon) and make sure to use the juice from fresh lemons, not lemon juice. Drink the warm lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. It is best wait about 30 minutes before eating a meal to ensure your body gets the most energy and nutrients from the food you eat. Lemons contain lots of vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, A, E and B6 as well as potassium, folate, calcium and magnesium. There are many health benefits of drinking lemon water including:
1. Boosts Your Immune System: Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is a great for boosting your immune system. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps neutralize free radicals associated with aging and disease. Vitamin C is great for fighting colds, demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects and enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons are high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function and helps control blood pressure. Lemons also contain saponins, which have antimicrobial properties that may help keep colds and flu at bay.
2. Balances pH Levels: One of the biggest benefits of drinking lemon water is that it helps to maintain your body in an alkaline state. And keeping your body in an alkaline state is important for overall good health. Even though lemons are acidic on their own, inside our bodies they are alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized in the body, allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. Drinking lemon water regularly can help remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation.
3. Aids Digestion: Lemons are high in vitamins and minerals and help loosen toxins in the digestive tract. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials and encourages the production of bile in your liver, which is an acid required for digestion. Drinking lemon water can help relieve the symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating, and stimulate better digestion in general.
4. Helps with Weight Loss: Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. It has also been shown that people who maintain a more alkaline diet lose weight faster.
5. Cleanses Your System / Acts as a Diuretic: Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore, toxins are relesed at a faster rate, which helps to keep your urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification by maximizing enzyme function.
6. Clears Skin: The vitamin C in lemon water, as well as other antioxidants, helps to reduce wrinkles and blemishes and combat free radical damage. Also, because lemon water helps to purge toxins from the blood it is helpful in keeping your skin clear from the inside.
Have you tried drinking warm lemon water in the morning? How do you like it? What benefits have you discovered? Please comment and share your thoughts.