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AMAZING health benefits of lemon water

AMAZING health benefits of lemon water

Everywhere you look, it seems as if people are sipping on lemon water.  Some use it as a healthy alternative to morning coffee or tea, others swear by it as an aid to weight loss, and still others drink it to prevent and even treat kidney stones.

There’s no doubt, lemon water – which consists of filtered water mixed with lemon juice - is an inviting drink, especially when garnished with cheerful yellow lemon slices.  Now, it turns out that the health claims for lemon water appear to be based in scientific fact.  Let’s take a look at the health benefits of this  wildly popular beverage.

Flavonoids in lemons may help combat heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity

Lemons - along with other citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and limes - contain antioxidant, anti-inflammatory plant compounds known as flavonoids.  These substances, which include hesperidin, eriodictyol, rutin and naringenin, are currently being studied for their potential to fight disease. 

In a recent review of scientific studies published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, the authors went “all in” on the therapeutic powers of citrus flavonoids, reporting that they appear to help protect against heart disease and atherosclerosis by scavenging destructive free radicals, lowering undesirable LDL cholesterol, inhibiting the harmful oxidation of fats, boosting antioxidant defenses and protecting the fragile linings of arteries.  (Quite an impressive list of disease-fighting tasks!)  The team also noted that citrus flavonoids may improve glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and fat metabolism - thereby helping to fight type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and obesity as well!

In other words, the review was a ringing endorsement for the therapeutic powers of citrus flavonoids in lemons and lemon water.  However, some of the research is preliminary, and consists of laboratory and animal studies.  Further research on humans is needed.

Prevent and treat kidney stones with lemon water

As it turns out, experts say lemon water really may help prevent and even dissolve small calcium oxalate kidney stones.  Drinking lemon water boosts the levels of citrate in the urine, which makes urine less acidic and prevents calcium from binding with other compounds. In addition, the water helps you stay properly hydrated, which is a “must” for avoiding kidney stones.  (Other advantages of proper hydration include improved mood and memory, relief of constipation and potential help with weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness).

By the way, The Food and Nutrition Board advises that adults should get from 90 to 125 ounces of water each day through drinks and food.  Drinking lemon water can help you accomplish this.

Of course, if you have kidney stones, consult your knowledgeable integrative physician before attempting to address them with lemon water.

Lemon water is a good source of vitamin C

A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is sometimes referred to as “the muscle of the immune system.”  Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is vital in the production of collagen, which is essential for proper wound healing, healthy skin and flexible arteries.  We also need vitamin C to help metabolize protein, synthesize important neurotransmitters and absorb iron from food.

The juice of one lemon provides about 20 mg of vitamin C - roughly one quarter of the recommended daily intake for adults advised by the National Institutes of Health.  (However, since vitamin C is not produced in the body and can only be obtained through diet or supplementation, many integrative doctors and natural health experts insist we should strive for much higher daily dosages of this essential nutrient).

Lemon water can help you boost your daily dietary intake of vitamin C, especially if you make it with generous amounts of lemon juice and drink more than one glass a day.

Jazz up your lemon water with other fruits, herbs and spices

You can enhance your lemon water even further by combining it with healthful ingredients.

For even more citrus-y flavor, add slices of oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and limes.  Garnish lemon water with fresh mint leaves, add a pinch of cinnamon or make an elegant lemon-cucumber blend by thinly slicing one of each, “muddling” them in the bottom of a glass and adding chilled filtered water to taste.

(Pro tip: You can freeze lemon juice into cubes, just as you would water, and make frosty lemon water “on the go” by tossing a few cubes in your thermos and adding filtered water.)

You can also pump up the antioxidant benefits of lemon water even more by steeping thinly-sliced fresh ginger root in boiling water to make ginger tea, then combining it with heated lemon water and sweetening with raw honey.  Sip the mixture as a hot tea or chill it for later.  You can also use this trick for hibiscus tea, which has a bright, fruity flavor that partners well with lemon water.

A great substitute for sugar-laden, caffeinated sodas and syrupy juices, lemon water is a wholesome drink that can help you stay hydrated throughout the day.  And, it just might be capable of "squaring off" against deadly chronic diseases.

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