You’ve probably heard that lemon juice and water is a great way to start the day – after all, everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Weight Watchers recommends it – but did you know how great it really is?
From helping your immune and digestive systems to aiding in weight loss and improving your skin, it boasts a lot of benefits.
It’s pretty straightforward – squeeze the juice of half a lemon (or throw a couple of wedges) into some warm water and enjoy every morning.
Before you know it, lemon water will become part of your daily routine and you’ll reap some of these great benefits:
Lower Risk of Stroke
This morning drink contains a compound that may help lower your risk of stroke – the leading cause of long-term disability in the US.
According to research, women who ate high amounts of citrus fruit had a 19% lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least amount
Enjoy Heart & Blood Health
Benefit from an efficient heart and healthy blood. As lemons contain potassium, they help trigger your heart to squeeze blood through your body. Potassium also helps your muscles to move and your nerves to work.
Related Reading: 21 Foods That Unclog Your Arteries
Improve Kidney Function
Lemon water may help your kidneys on a few different levels. Firstly, potassium help your kidneys to filter blood. Secondly, this purifying drink helps flush out the kidneys.
Finally, as it’s high in natural citrate, lemon juice may prevent the calcium in our bodies from binding with other components that lead to kidney stones.
Related Reading: 8 Natural Remedies To Dissolve Kidney Stones
Increase Iron Absorption
According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in developed countries. Combining foods that are high in vitamin C with foods that are iron-rich will maximize the body’s ability to absorb iron, which is vital for healthy blood cells and a healthy brain.
Starting the day off with a lemon water could be particularly beneficial if you’re also having a bowl of iron-rich oatmeal for breakfast.
Because of its high Vitamin C content, lemon juice strengthens the immune system and helps your body ward off illness. Iron is also important for immunity so, by boosting your iron absorption, you’ll further your immune health.
What’s more, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, are all found in lemon juice, and contribute to good immunity.
Work Towards Your ‘5 a Day’
Starting your day off with this refreshing drink means you’re already on your way to having one of your 5 a day.
About two-thirds of a lemon is considered to be one portion of fruit so add the juice to hot water and use the zest later on to add zing to a stir fry or serving of hummus. Easy!
Reap the Benefits of Vitamin C
The USDA states that a single lemon may contain as much as 51% of our Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C.
With health benefits of this amazing vitamin including protection against cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems and even skin wrinkling, a little lemon water in the morning may be a powerful tool for overall health.
Get a Stress Free Start
Amazingly, the smell of lemon and citrus fruits has been proven to reduce levels of stress and depression – try it to lift your mood before heading to the office.
In a study of 12 depressive subjects, results showed that a citrus fragrance reduced symptoms of depression and was ‘rather more effective than antidepressants’.
Protect your Vision
Enjoy good eyesight into old age with this Vitamin C rich drink. Both the Vitamin C and the fruit’s natural flavonoids (antioxidants that work with Vitamin C in the body) work to reduce your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye problems.
Discover more about the amazing role of Vitamin C and other nutrients in saving our eyesight.
Cure a Hangover
If you went a little too hard on the wine last night, and now you have to face into a long day of work, don’t despair. This refreshing drink should sort you out!
The lemons will combat the nausea, detox the liver and replenish your body’s stores of essential electrolytes. If you’re still feeling a little off, try some electrolyte rich coconut water later in the day for added hangover help.
The citric acid in lemon juice alters the pH level in your mouth and kills the bacteria that causes bad breath.
Just one thing to remember: lemon juice also erodes teeth enamel, so don’t swish it around your mouth or use it as a frequent remedy for halitosis. Also, make sure you wait a while before brushing your teeth as you may do more harm than good to your precious choppers.
Recharge Pre- or Post-Workout
If you’re a fan of exercising in the morning, then here’s another reason to start the day off with this drink. Lemons are full of electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium – which makes a perfect, natural and cheap sports drink.
Plus, you’ll be avoiding all the deadly sugars found in regular sports drinks.
Get Glowing Skin
The antioxidants in lemon juice help keep spots and wrinkles at bay by fighting the damage caused by free radicals, while the Vitamin C helps in collagen production. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regularly consuming vitamin C leads to younger looking skin and less wrinkles.
Lemon water also detoxifies the blood, improves digestion and strengthens your immunity – all important functions to maintain clear, glowing skin.
Help Weight Loss Efforts
There is evidence that drinking water first thing in the morning can help maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that drinking 17oz of water can temporarily boost metabolism by up to 30%. And, participants who drank that amount before a meal were shown to lose 44% more weight than those who didn’t consume any.
Lemon juice is also thought to be a natural appetite suppressant so you won’t overeat after enjoying this delicious drink. Naturally, you’re not going to lose weight by drinking this alone, but it’s a good start!
Lower Blood Pressure
Lemon water is thought to be a fantastic natural way to lower blood pressure. This may be because both potassium and Vitamin C have been linked to a reduction in blood pressure. Potassium helps by balancing out the negative effects of salt, while Vitamin C’s antioxidant abilities play a part in relaxing blood vessels.
A study cited by the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that a combination of walking and drinking lemon water daily was successful in lowering systolic blood pressure.
Balance Cholesterol Levels
More than 102 million American adults have unhealthy levels of cholesterol. The simple habit of starting off each morning with a hot lemon water may assist in reducing these levels in some people.
Vitamin C has been proven to reduce the blood cholesterol of rats, including ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Flavonoids in lemon juice also have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels.
Cut out Coffee
If you want to cut out coffee (or simply get rid of your coffee machine!), but still need that early morning ritual of brewing a comforting warm drink, then lemon water is a great replacement.
You’ll kick the caffeine habit in no time … and reap 23 other amazing health benefits too.
Recommended Reading: 10 Reasons Why You Should Switch Coffee For Matcha Green Tea
Maintain Steady Blood Sugar Levels
Citrus fruits, including lemons, are listed as one of the American Diabetes Association’s superfoods. The recommend you eat citrus fruits daily to get part of your soluble fiber and vitamin C – both of which can help balance out blood sugar levels, and prevent or manage diabetes.
Make lemon water part of your day and you’ll easily get through to lunchtime without the mid-morning sugar crash suffered by so many!
Water in general is a natural way to relieve constipation but with the added power of lemons, it will really help your digestive system to get things moving. And, as dehydration is one of the major causes of constipation, starting your day off with a glass of water is a great way to prevent constipation too.
Even the experts recommend lemon water – it’s listed by the American Cancer Society as one of their top natural remedies for curing constipation.
Enjoy Healthy Digestion
In addition to relieving constipation, lemon water can help keep your digestive system running in tip-top shape. Water alone is important for digestion as it keeps food moving along through the intestines, and keeps the intestines flexible.
And, according to Dr. Oz, the bacteria-fighting benefits of lemon juice further contributes to a healthy digestive system. This healthy drink is also thought to stop bloating and is said to be a remedy for heartburn and acid reflux.
Add to Your Water Intake
We know that we need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to stay healthy, but sometimes it can be so boring, particularly in cold weather. The warm water can heat you up and the lemon juice gives a little zing.
It also means you’re already on your way to reaching your daily requirement of fluids before breakfast!
Have a Happy Liver
Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that our liver is most active during the night. Of course, this makes sense as sleep is the best time for our body to restore and regenerate.
Drinking water first thing in the morning can help wake the liver up so it can begin working effectively. Lemon juice is also thought to be a wonderful liver stimulant and a solvent for uric acid, which is associated with liver conditions.
Stave Off Viral Infections
There’s a reason many cold and flu remedies are lemon flavoured – this citrus fruit has long been associated with treating viral infections.
The citric acid is thought to kill viruses, the Vitamin C helps with immunity and the warm water helps with hydration. So drink up – especially when winter rolls around.
Reap Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
While inflammation itself is not harmful (it’s actually a normal bodily function) when it gets out of control, or occurs without reason, then it becomes destructive. This type of chronic inflammation is a growing health concern that is linked to a lot of serious conditions like asthma, allergies, heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Because it causes so many diseases, Dr. Mercola even states it’s essentially the leading cause of death in the US!
Lemon is a great anti-inflammatory food due to its high antioxidant levels and so can help keep your system in check. Be sure to add more anti-inflammatory foods throughout the day to help stave off these serious illnesses.
Ready to Try Some Lemon Water?
If you’re impressed by some of the benefits lemon water is said to bring and want to give it a go, just keep these tips in mind:
- When buying lemons, opt for organic if possible, especially if you’re popping the lemon in your glass, skin intact. Pesticides are most prevalent in the skin of non-organic fruit.
- Go for the freshest looking lemons you can find for maximum antioxidant and nutrient content.
- Even though lemon water is great in the morning, there’s nothing to stop you drinking it at other times of the day either – especially before meals to aid with digestion.
- Watch your teeth! As I mentioned above, lemon can erode the enamel on your teeth so never drink undiluted lemon juice and rinse your mouth out with a little water after to protect your smile! If you’re going to brush your teeth after drinking it, make sure to wait at least 20 minutes.
- Save your lemon peels too – they can be used in a variety of ingenious ways!