You know you should drink water—and around 8 glasses a day. We’ve heard this recommendation from nutritionists for years. Water alone helps maintain the balance of body fluids, aids weight loss efforts and keeps muscles, kidneys and the bowels functioning.
But if you’re looking to improve your health even more by what you drink, you may want to add something to your water – lemon. Lemon water, and especially hot lemon water, has numerous benefits for your body.
Benefit #1: Lemon water aids digestion.
According to traditional Ayurvedic teachings, one of the best things you can do to keep your digestive system strong and everything moving the way it should is to start your day with warm lemon water. The addition of the citrus is believed to stimulate and purify the liver. In addition to that, it can also act as an aid to the hydrochloric acid in the stomach that’s responsible for digesting food.
By drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning, you also get the bowels moving. Lemons help to increase peristalsis—the movement of waste through the bowels. A strong digestive system if vital to overall health and well-being.
Benefit #2: Lemon water keeps the pH system in balance.
Many of the foods we eat tend to make the body more acidic, and an acidic environment allows for the development of disease. An alkaline environment, on the other hand, keeps diseases from growing and spreading. And while lemon may seem like an acid – at least for cooking purposes – when it’s consumed, it’s one of the best foods to alkalinize the body. That acid you think of is actually citric and ascorbic acids which are easily metabolized by the body. What’s left is the beneficial minerals in lemon that keep help keep disease at bay.
Benefit #3: Lemon water supports the immune system.
Like their cousin the orange, lemons are high in vitamin C. The antioxidant is well known for keeping the immune system strong, but it also functions as an anti-inflammatory to help fight diseases caused by inflammation such as asthma. During cold and flu season, lemon water may be your best friend. They contain something called saponins which have antimicrobial properties that may help keep you healthy while everyone around you is coughing, sniffling and sneezing.
Benefit #4: Lemon water can help with iron absorption.
Low iron is a common concern for vegans and vegetarians who don’t consume red meat. Dark leafy greens like kale are high in iron, and the addition of lemon water to your daily regiment can help make sure your body is reaping the benefits of the iron you’re consuming. Not only is iron important for the immune system, but it also helps the red blood cells move oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. If you’re feeling fatigued, it could be a lack of iron and something as simple as lemon water may help.
Benefit #5: Lemon water can help give you clearer skin.
Once again, it’s the vitamin C in lemons that are believed to play a role in giving your skin a youthful glow. Vitamin C helps boost collagen production. It’s the loss of collagen over time that leads to aging skin. By increasing your vitamin C with lemons, you can help keep your skin firm. That same vitamin C also fights free radicals which are responsible for the appearance of aging.
Lemon water also works to detoxify the body because of its effect on promoting liver activity. These toxins are often what lead to breakouts. If you can get rid of the toxins just by adding lemon to your water every day, why wouldn’t you?
Benefit #6: Lemon water promotes healing.
That same vitamin C that keeps you healthy and keeps your skin clear can also help with wound healing. Vitamin C is vital to the health of bones, muscles and connective tissue. When these are strong, your body can better heal itself following injury or even just the wear and tear of daily life.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, lemon water can also help with blood sugar levels, allergies and even heart problems.
One note of warning to people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, the citrus could potentially cause heartburn, but you may try to just reduce the amount of juice and see how your body reacts.
For most of you, though, I encourage you to create a new morning ritual. Instead of reaching for your cup of coffee in the morning, add the juice of half a lemon to warm water and sip that instead. I promise, instead of the jitters from coffee, you’ll find yourself calmed and the increase in energy you’ll end up experiencing will be all natural, because your body will be healthy and strong.