Have you ever squeezed a lemon in water simply to enhance its taste? So many people have, yet few tend to realize the enormous health benefits of drinking lemon water.
The juice of a fresh-squeezed lemon in water has many medicinal values, as well as its benefits for cleansing the body, stimulating the liver, and improving digestion and elimination.
Experts believe that lemon water can help reduce the amount of uric acid in joints, which is one of the underlying causes of certain types of joint pain.
For example, according to Harvard Medical School, “an attack of gout occurs when excess uric acid is deposited in a joint and forms urate crystals that irritate the joint lining. White blood cells try to gobble up the crystals, but they are not equal to the task. The white blood cells are themselves damaged, releasing chemicals that cause inflammation, swelling, and pain.”
Drinking lemon in water can also help to remove other metabolic and acidic wastes from the body. It will also help to alkalize the body and control the proliferation of unhealthy bacteria and viruses.
How Much and How Often to Drink It
If you weigh less than 150 pounds and are in good health, squeeze half a fresh lemon (about one ounce) in 8 to 12 ounces of filtered water and drink it first thing in the morning for the best cleansing benefits. If this is too strong, dilute it to taste.
If you weigh over 150 pounds, you could drink the same amount of lemon water twice a day. Or you could squeeze a whole lemon (two ounces) into 24 to 32 ounces of clean water and drink this throughout the morning.
Our bodies can only metabolize about 12 ounces of water at a time. Thus, if you are drinking more than 12 ounces of lemon water, you would want to spread it out over a period of a few hours. You will still get most of the enzymatic properties of the lemon water if it is stored in a sealed container, preferably glass or stainless steel, and kept cold.
If you drink more than the recommended amount above, it is best to add it gradually over time since the lemon juice will accelerate body detoxification.
Too much lemon water too quickly can cause uncomfortable detoxification symptoms such as headaches, bowel changes, or fatigue.
It is also best to drink lemon water about 30 minutes before a meal to help your body get the most energy and nutrients from the food you eat.
Use Fresh Lemons and Filtered Water
In order to glean the full health benefits, choose fresh-picked lemons (preferably organic and locally grown).
Pasteurized and packaged lemon juice will not be nearly as effective as a health remedy. The little squeeze bottles are so easy and convenient, I know, but it just does not offer the same health benefits.
If health is your primary interest, the type of water you use to mix with the lemon is highly important.
Make sure the water is filtered of contaminants but still contains the naturally occurring minerals in water.
Is It Best to Drink Lemon Water Hot or Cold?
Neither hot or cold, actually. Drinking it warm or at room temperature is the best choice.
Warm or room temperature:
Water that is warm or room temperature will provide the most health benefits and allow for the full enzymatic and energetic properties of the lemon. If you like a hot drink in the morning, warm lemon water is the best choice.
Even though drinking hot lemon water is very soothing, especially in cold weather, the heat will destroy some of the enzymatic properties of the fresh lemon juice.
Avoid drinking lemon in water that is ice cold whenever possible because it may hinder the digestive benefits of the lemon. In addition, even though your body will heat up the ice cold lemon water, it requires more energy and more work for the body.
However, drinking fresh lemon juice at any temperature is better than not drinking it at all!
- Lemon allergies or ulcers. Most any adult (12 years and older) can drink lemon in water (in varying dilutions based on size, weight, and taste preferences) other than those with known lemon allergies or ulcers. Consult your health practitioner if in doubt.
- Teeth enamel. One of the drawbacks of drinking lemon juice on a daily basis is that the citric acid from the lemon can eat away at tooth enamel. There are a few things you can do to prevent this. Drinking your lemon water with a straw can help somewhat. In addition, I recommend you swish your mouth with clean water after drinking lemon water. If you are drinking more than 1/2 lemon in water once a day, I recommend adding a pinch of baking soda in filtered water (slightly alkaline) to neutralize the lemon acid left on your teeth. Or you can brush your teeth with a natural toothpaste, preferably a baking soda toothpaste, after drinking lemon water–especially if you drink it at night. You don’t want the citric acid residue to sit on your teeth all night.
- Detoxification. Lemon water aids in cleansing and detoxification. However, increasing the amount of lemon water you drink too quickly can cause uncomfortable detoxification symptoms such as headache, tiredness, or bowel changes.
- Children. We do not recommend children under 12 years old drink lemon water on a daily basis. In most cases, healthy children simply do not need it. However, if a child is having issues with constipation or has cold or flu symptoms, you could add fresh-squeezed lemon juice (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) to about 8 to 12 ounces of water, which the child could sip on throughout the day. Adding sugar would defeat the purpose, but a small amount of honey would be ok as needed for taste. As always, parents should consult with their pediatrician as needed or if the child has a specific health condition.
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