When it comes to making changes to your health, I always recommend starting with one small shift in your routine that will allow you to reap healthy benefits and build confidence in your ability to meet your goals. There are many areas that we can choose from for our first step, but we want to make it something manageable, something that doesn't significantly impact our current routine, and something that will make it easy to follow through. This allows you to incorporate change without adding unnecessary stress. Often when people decide to change their habits they fail because they are trying to change everything at once and it becomes overwhelming. By choosing just one simple tweak in your routine for the first week, you can see how manageable lifestyle changes can be. As Americans, we often want our decisions to impact us on an immediate basis, but when it comes to your health, it is better to build up over time so that you have a strong foundation for your changes to build on. One idea for implementing change is to add a cup of warm lemon water to your morning routine. It takes a small amount of time to complete the entire process and you reap the benefits all day.
What are the benefits to lemon water?
The most obvious benefit is hydration. Any time you can work towards your daily water intake recommendations, that is a positive step. Depending on where you live, your activity level, your height and weight, and your lifestyle, it is recommended that a minimum of 2-3 liters of water be consumed per day. One of the main complaints I hear is that people just don't like the taste of plain water. In our society, with the food people choose to ingest, plain water is unpalatable. By adding fruits or vegetables to our water, it can make it more appealing.
Some other benefits are that lemons contain antioxidants (substances which remove oxidizing agents that are potentially damaging to living organisms), protect against free radicals (unstable atoms which can cause damage to cells and cause premature aging and illness), are anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and have been shown to have cardiovascular protective & neuroprotective effects. Lemons also include health benefits in boosting skin health, improvement in digestion, prevention of kidney stones, and may also help with weight loss. According to the USDA database, the nutrition breakdown for lemon water containing approximately 3 tablespoons of an organic, freshly squeezed lemon is: 10.6 calories. 18.6 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, or 21% DV. 9.6 micrograms (mcg) of folate, or 2% DV.
Are there any side effects of drinking lemon water?
Due to the citric acid in lemons, drinking significant amounts of lemon water long term may erode tooth enamel over time. However, you can negate this risk by getting creative - drink first thing in the morning before brushing, and then brush right after, or you can drink through a straw.
Another area to be aware of is that people who suffer from gastric issues such as heartburn or indigestion may experience upset. If this is the case, you can try to drink smaller amounts in several glasses throughout the day. Otherwise, try other alternatives, such as cucumber, mint, or fruits, like strawberries or raspberries.
How to make lemon water:
To make lemon water, simply heat 8-12 oz of water until warm, then squeeze half a lemon (or 2-3 tbsps. of organic lemon juice)into the water. Serve & enjoy!
If you want to add even more flavor and health benefits, consider adding a pinch of salt, a dab of honey, mint, or other cut up fruits and vegetables.