Each morning I drink a glass of warm lemon water to jump start my day. I learned years ago that drinking lemon water benefits me in so many ways. Lemons are available year-round, so they’re an easy choice for a healthful, hydrating drink.
The lemon’s reputation as “the good fruit” goes back thousands of years. The ancient Romans considered lemons a status symbol. At the time lemons were both rare and expensive, so only the very wealthy and powerful made lemons part of their diet.
Christopher Columbus knew a little bit about the importance of lemons, too. Way back in the 1400s, lemon seeds for planting in the new land were one of the precious items stowed on his ships.
By the mid-1700s, seamen suffering from scurvy added lemon juice to their diets for healing. (The British made their sailors eat limes for the same reason. That’s where the name “Limeys” comes from.) Lemons made their way to America during the 1800s, when they were planted in Florida and California.
One of the best ways to use this healthy fruit is by drinking warm lemon water in the morning. Yes, you have to dilute it. Pure lemon juice can be hard on the enamel of the teeth.
A medium lemon yields about four tablespoons of juice. I like to add the juice of half of a lemon to 8 oz. or so of warm, high-quality water. If you like, add a little organic raw honey or stevia to sweeten it. I sometimes make a large pitcher of lemon water with sliced lemons to drink throughout the day. If you’re new to drinking lemon water, take a few sips at a time. Don’t gulp down a whole glass as that may cause a bit of nausea.
Top 10 Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water in the Morning
1. Nutrient Super Stars
Lemons are packed with nutrients. They are tops when it comes to vitamin C. One medium-sized lemon contains about 31 milligrams of this vitamin, which is about 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance for adults. But lemons don’t stop there. They also contain B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Plus they’re powerful antioxidants.
2. Alkalizing for the body
How can that be when lemons are acidic? Simply stated, lemons have citric acid but the acid becomes alkaline once it is metabolized.
3. Morning Elixir — Drink it Warm
Drink a glass of warm lemon water in the morning 15 minutes or so before eating. Why warm lemon water? Warm water is more efficient than cold when it comes to rehydrating the body, especially after the night-time fast. Plus warm water goes down more easily than cold.
4. Drinking Lemon Water Benefits the Immune System
Since our bodies can’t make vitamin C, we need to get a daily dose. It’s so easy to do that with a glass of lemon water. Levels of vitamin C plummet when we’re stressed, so starting the day out with a glass of warm lemon water gives the body the potential to absorb nutrients and arms the immune system with good defense. Vitamin C stimulates white blood cell production, necessary for a healthy immune system. Because of its antioxidant qualities, vitamin C protects our cells, too. Vitamin C is also good for the adrenal glands. What’s not to love here?
5. Good for the Tummy and Gut
Upset tummy got you feeling down? Drinking lemon water benefits the digestive system in several ways. It helps relieve both indigestion and an upset stomach. Lemon water helps relieve heartburn, burping, and bloating.
6. Your Liver Loves Lemons
Lemons are a good liver stimulant. Drinking lemon water benefits the liver through its ability to help flush out toxins.
7. Healthy Joints
When lemon water is consumed on a regular basis, it can help remove uric acid in the joints, one of the main causes of inflammation.
8. Fight Viral Infections
When a sore throat rages from viral infections or colds, put lemon water with honey on your list of natural cold remedies. Adding turmeric for a sore throat boosts the anti-inflammatory qualities of the lemon water, so that’s a good addition, too.
9. Reduce Anxiety, Forgetfulness, and Depression
Drinking lemon water benefits the proper functioning of the nervous system. It’s the potassium in lemons that works its magic here. When anxiety, forgetfulness, and depression are the result of low levels of potassium in the blood, drinking lemon water helps alleviate these symptoms.
10. Beautiful Skin
The antioxidants in lemon juice may help decrease blemishes and even wrinkles. Drinking lemon water benefits the skin with its hydrating properties, giving it a healthy radiance.
Beyond Lemon Water
Lemons can play an integral part in many healthy recipes, including immune-boosting drinks. One that comes to mind is a popular fire cider recipe. Compare prices for store-bought fire cider, and you’ll understand why making this potent medicinal at home is the way to go.
Lemons can be easy substitutes for hard-to-find ingredients. Take the mouth puckering refreshing lemony drink made with sumac berries. Sumac berries aren’t a common berry, and harvesting them at the right stage of growth is critical. Substitute in lemon and you’ve still got a wonderful, refreshing, good-for-you drink that can be enjoyed anytime.
Antibacterial Lemon Scrub
Make an effective, bacteria inhibiting lemon salt scrub for cutting boards. Place a small amount of salt on the cutting board. Scrub with a lemon, cut side down. Rinse and dry.
Tips on Buying, Cleaning and Storing Lemons
Buy ripe lemons with a sunny yellow skin. Lemons with green blotches aren’t completely ripe. Don’t buy dull looking lemons or lemons that feel hard or wrinkled.
Thin or Thick Skin: Which is Best?
Thinner skinned lemons are juicier than thick-skinned. How to tell at first glance? If the lemon skin is smooth rather than pebbly/textured, that’s a sign that the skin is thin. Most thin-skinned lemons are small to medium in size.
Larger, thicker skinned lemons are ideal for zesting and making liqueurs, like limoncello which uses the skin as flavoring.
Citrus fruit can be cleaned with a simple white vinegar/water wash. I like the ratio of equal parts vinegar to water, particularly when the lemons are not organic. Others prefer a ratio of either two or three parts water to one part vinegar.
- Spritz the cleaning solution all over the lemons and let them sit a few minutes. Or put the cleaning solution in a bowl and let the lemons soak.
- Try using a baby brush to gently remove some of the wax after cleaning. Do this under warm running water.
- Rinse, drain, and dry.
Room temperature lemons stay fresh for a week or so. For longer storage, store lemons in the refrigerator. Put the cleaned lemons in a baggie. Pour water in. Drain water out. I believe the residual bit of moistness left in the baggie keeps the lemons fresher. Seal and store in the refrigerator.
To store zested lemons (aka “naked lemons”) seal in a baggie and store in the refrigerator.
Yes, you can freeze lemons, in any form up to six months in the freezer, covered.
- Clean, whole lemons can go into a baggie straight into the freezer. When thawed, the cellular structure breaks down, making them exude lots of healthy juice.
- Lemon juice can be frozen in freezer containers or ice cube trays.
- Lemon slices can be frozen, single layer, on a tray, uncovered, until hard. Don’t let them touch. That way they stay separate. Ditto with wedges. Store in a suitable container in the freezer.
- Small chunks of lemon can be frozen in juice in ice cube trays.
- When freezing lemon zest (the yellow part of the skin), stir in a little juice. It will keep the zest from drying out in the freezer.
Do you drink warm lemon water to give a bright, healthy start to your day?