What’s the healthiest way to start your day? Eggs? Oatmeal? Orange juice? How about a glass of lemon water? People have been cultivating lemons since the 8th century, but it’s not until recently that they became aware of just how healthy they are. Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, citrate, and flavonoids – three substances that promote health and well-being. Drinking a glass of lemon water every morning is a great way to boost your immune system, prevent kidney stones, and keep you safe from heart disease. If you’re not familiar with the benefits of lemon water, here are some of the ways it can help you.
Lemon juice is packed with vitamin C. If you squeezed the juice from half a lemon, it would contain a quarter of your daily, recommended dose. What’s more, it would only have half the calories and sugar you’d get from half an orange, making it a great choice for anyone watching their weight.
You probably know that vitamin C boosts your immune system – people with high levels of vitamin C have shorter and less severe colds –but vitamin C improves your health in a lot of other ways as well.
Collagen is a protein used to build, strengthen, and support the connective tissues in your body. Without it, you would literally fall apart. You need it to sustain your blood vessels, cartilage, tendons, bones, ligaments, and heart. Collagen also keeps your skin looking young and fresh. People with high levels of collagen have fewer wrinkles and firmer skin than those who don’t. You can’t make collagen without vitamin C; your body uses it in every stage of its production. If you don’t have enough, you’ll start experiencing sagging skin, muscle soreness, and joint pain. A big, daily dose of vitamin C will help you avoid that.
Vitamin C helps extract more iron from your food. There are two types of iron: heme and nonheme. Beef, poultry, pork, and fish contain heme iron while eggs, vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts contain nonheme iron. Though your body absorbs heme iron very easily, it has a hard time absorbing nonheme iron unless you mix it with vitamin C. Together, they form a compound that’s readily absorbed by your body. The extra iron you get gives you more energy and helps keep your hair and skin healthy.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your body from harmful molecules called free radicals – unstable oxygen molecules that damage your cells and DNA. Free radicals are caused by a number of different sources, including sunlight, cigarette smoke, air pollution, and herbicides. If left unchecked, free radicals can cause heart disease, cancer, and accelerated aging. Free radicals break up the collagen strands that support your skin, causing lines and wrinkles. Antioxidants like vitamin C neutralize free radicals before they can do any harm, by transforming them into healthy, stable molecules. Increasing your vitamin C levels not only protects you from disease, it changes the way you age, keeping your skin bright and clear.
Lemon juice contains large amounts of citric acid, also known as citrate, one of the naturally occurring substances doctors use to dissolve kidney stones. Citrate binds to calcium molecules in your urine and flushes them from your body, which prevents them from accumulating in your kidneys and forming stones. Drinking 2-4 ounces of lemon juice each day will ensure you have enough citrate in your body to keep you safe.
Flavonoids are the chemical compounds that make fruits and vegetables so bright and colorful. They also have numerous health benefits. Studies have shown that consuming flavonoids lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Flavonoids also reduce inflammation and relieve oxidative stress, which occurs when too many free radicals build up in your body. Lemons are rich in flavonoids and lemon water is a great way to ensure you get plenty of them every day.
How to Prepare Lemon Water
Because citric acid erodes tooth enamel, doctors recommend you dilute lemon juice in water before drinking it. That way you can enjoy all its benefits without any of the side effects. You can also drink it with a straw, which reduces your risk even further. If you weigh less than 150 pounds, squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water each morning. That’s all you’ll need. If you weigh more than 150 pounds, use a whole lemon. Many people think warm lemon water is easier to digest, while some prefer cold because it helps burn extra calories. There’s no hard evidence either way, so do whichever feels best to you.