Perhaps you have heard that a lemon and honey drink in the morning works wonders for health. Both honey and lemon contain powerful therapeutic properties that when combined, make an excellent health tonic.
The drink is really simple to make, and it doesn’t take much effort to drink it in one go. In fact, most people start looking forward to this energy drink within a few days of starting on it. Give it a try, and you just might turn into an advocate.
To make the honey- lemon drink:
- Boil a cup of water and allow it to cool until it is just warm to touch.
- Add a teaspoonful of organic, unprocessed honey and stir well to dissolve.
- Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the honey water, give it a stir and drink up.
It is important that you drink the mixture immediately after preparing it, preferably on an empty stomach, to derive all the benefits. Do not reheat the mixture. According to Ayurvedic principles, heating honey makes it toxic. If that doesn’t make sense, we can at least acknowledge that heating this half-digested nectar may destroy the bee enzymes and other beneficial substances in it. They are what make honey a unique natural sweetener.
Let’s look at some very good reasons to start the day with this drink.
1. It is a healthy, low-calorie drink
Nearly everybody needs a morning drink to get going. It is coffee for some; it may be tea or orange juice for others. After long hours of starving during the night, our body, the brain, in particular, requires a boost of energy to get going.
Caffeine is a stimulant acting on the pleasure centers of the brain, temporarily giving the brain a high. This is usually followed by a mid-morning low, as many habitual coffee drinkers admit. Coffee increases acidity and causes digestive disturbances. It increases the heart rate and elevates blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
Tea also contains caffeine, albeit in smaller amounts. Theophylline, Theobromine and L-theanine are three other psychoactive stimulants in tea. Caffeine and these other substances do have some beneficial effects such as improving focus and concentration. Also, both these beverages contain antioxidants that protect our body from free radical damage. However, drinking coffee and tea first thing in the morning can do more damage than good.
Fruit juices, especially orange juice, may offer many health benefits, but only if they are freshly squeezed and consumed with the pulp. But they have too much sugar, even when unsweetened. That’s why fruit juices are now considered not as healthy as they were once thought to be. Let’s not even talk about soda that contains high amounts of caffeine and a lot of sugar, as much as 7-10 teaspoons per 200ml.
Lemon and honey water is an easy to prepare drink that provides just the right amount of calories from the natural sugars in the honey, along with a host of enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. They are in relatively small amounts, but they really count on an empty stomach.
The drink has no more than 20-25 calories, most of it coming from the honey, (1 tsp=7 gms sugar) and just 1 calorie from the lemon juice. It is neither too sour not too sweet. It just gives a pleasant twist to plain warm water that most of us would find even more difficult to gulp down.
2. It aids digestion
One of the first noticeable benefits of drinking lemon and honey water is improved digestion. The drink increases stomach acid production and bile secretion. They facilitate the breakdown of food materials and absorption of nutrients.
Undigested materials remaining in the digestive tract often cause bloating due to the action of gut bacteria that try to digest them. Their faster elimination from the body is also important in maintaining digestive health.
3. It acts as a diuretic
Diuretics are substances that increase the production of urine. Doctors often prescribe diuretics to treat hypertension and edema caused by excess amount of water in the body.
Inflammatory response of the body to injuries results in accumulation of fluid in tissues. Swelling of the feet and facial edema are typical symptoms of this water retention. Extra water puts a load on the heart and increases blood pressure. Lemon-honey water can help eliminate excess fluid and reduce edema and hypertension
4. It detoxifies the body
Numerous toxic substances enter our body through food contaminated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Environmental pollutants also get absorbed through our skin and respiratory tract. They accumulate in tissues, especially in the liver and kidneys, and interfere with their proper functioning.
Citrus fruit juices are popular in detoxifying liquid diets. Lemon water mixed with honey is a gentle, yet powerful detoxification agent. It is a liver tonic, improving its function of neutralizing toxins. Its diuretic effect helps in flushing out the toxins through urine.
5. Lemon-honey water melts down fat
Weight loss effects of lemon and honey water have been exploited by many with good results. Lemon juice increases body secretions, improving blood and lymph movement. This, as well as the diuretic effect, eliminates toxins accumulated in the body. In case you didn’t know it already, accumulation of toxins is one of the major reasons for obesity. Our body takes these substances out of circulation by trapping them in fat tissue.
Warm lemon-honey drink increases metabolism too. Drinking a glass on an empty stomach gets you in the fat-burning mode right from the beginning.
6. It clears the skin of acne
Taking lemon and honey water early in the morning is one of the best things you can do for acne control. You may find the skin getting clearer within 2 to 3 weeks of starting on this drink. Some people find that applying lemon juice on the face helps control their acne, but this treatment is not for everyone.
Lemon juice does have an oil-cutting effect that may help remove excess oil from the skin. Citric acid acts as a chemical exfoliating agent, removing dead skin cells and accumulated debris that clog skin glands, allowing their secretions to flow freely. Despite these benefits, direct application of lemon juice on the face may irritate or burn sensitive skin.
But taking lemon juice indirectly helps clarify the skin without causing any local irritation. The exact mechanism of action may be too complex to analyze, but the detoxifying effect of this drink be behind this beneficial effect. Antioxidants in lemon and honey and their antibacterial properties also contribute to skin clarification.
7. It increases immunity
The immunomodulating effect of lemon-honey drink can protect you from seasonal infections as well as allergies. You will find a marked reduction in colds and flu if you keep taking this drink every day.
You probably know that honey treatment is often advised when people have severe allergies to pollen and other environmental pollutions. Honey usually contains these substances in minute amounts, so ingesting them with the drink helps desensitize the body.
8. It is a remedy for throat infections
When you have a sore throat, a warm drink of lemon honey water provides instant relief. But the effect is not superficial or temporary. The peroxides in honey act as disinfectants. That’s one of the reasons why honey applied to wounds and burns aid their healing. Drinking the lemon–honey water may help reduce the bacterial load in the infected area. It may also reduce inflammation and associated pain.
9. It relieves a cough and chest congestion
Lemon and honey lozenges and ready made drinks are often recommended for coughs, but they are no match for freshly prepared honey-lemon water. Honey has always been used in Ayurveda to treat all problems related to excessive phlegm in the body. It has the property of reducing mucus production and drying up the respiratory tract.
Lemon helps in thinning mucus, making it easier to cough up. Working together, these two ingredients can effectively reduce the congestion in the airways and bring relief.
10. It relieves constipation
Regular consumption of warm lemon-honey water in the morning promotes regularity. The beneficial effect comes not only from the warm water that helps move the stomach contents along but from lemon juice’s property of lightening body secretions, including mucus secretion from the intestinal walls. This gets things moving effortlessly. Regular voiding helps reduce bloating and flatulence that accompany constipation.
11. It relieves urinary tract infections and kidney stones
The diuretic effect of lemon juice and antimicrobial effect of honey work together to flush out unwanted substances and disease-causing bacteria from the kidneys, urinary bladder, and the urogenital tract.
Excessively acidic and concentrated urine is one of the common causes of kidney stones and burning during urination. Sodium citrate and potassium citrate are often prescribed as a first line of treatment for these conditions. Lemon juice is acidic due to its citric acid content, but it gets converted to sodium citrate in the body. That is why drinking lemon water is said to be alkalizing
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