HR-shutterstock_412359262Healthy living advice, recipes and tips

A few months ago, a certain American musician released a track called ‘Lemonade’ that reportedly ‘broke the internet.’ But lemons are not just fodder for music videos – they happen to be incredibly good for you. Drinking lemon water upon waking is one of the easiest and best ways to get these benefits.

Lemon water in the morning
Drink a tall glass of lemon water first thing upon waking. Some individuals keep a jug of water and a fresh lemon on their nightstand before retiring. Others freeze freshly squeezed lemon juice in an ice-cube tray and throw them into some warm water in the morning. Warm water or room temperature water works best – the principles of traditional Chinese medicine state that ice water depletes you of energy because your system has to warm it up to your body temperature. Drinking tepid or warm lemon water first thing will energise you and put some pep in your step.

Why lemon water is so good for you
Many people consider lemons acidic but nutritionist Gareth Edwards explains that once mixed with water, the minerals in lemon disassociate to make it alkaline. An alkaline body is a healthy body, as disease tends to favour an acidic medium. Lemon water helps alkalise your body, positively regulating your body’s pH. Lemon water also helps the liver, which has been working hard during the night to rid your system of toxins. Lemon water hydrates your body rapidly by delivering electrolytes to the bloodstream. It also stimulates your digestive juices, priming you for breakfast.  Taken first thing in the morning, lemon water reportedly helps to move waste out of your colon.

What’s in a lemon?
Lemon’s Superpower Profile

1 Excellent Flu Buster: Add lemon to hot water, black tea and ginger to combat the sniffles.

2 Great Rehydrator: Lemon water is high in electrolytes (body salts), which makes it perfect as a post-workout drink or as a cooling drink on a very hot day.

3 Heart Support: Lemons help to purify the blood, and they are high in potassium, which nourishes the brain, nerve and heart cells.

4 Mineral rich: Lemon water contains calcium, copper, zinc, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin C, phosphorus and magnesium. It also reduces inflammation of the joints and helps flush out uric acid and other toxins.

5 Digestive help: Lemon water helps in the production of bile, which is a key component in the digestion of fats and oils.

• Rather than buying lemonade from the supermarket, squeeze a few lemons in some water and add raw honey for a much healthier alternative.

• Before squeezing a lemon, roll it on a table, applying firm pressure with the palm of your hand. This will make it easier to get more juice out of it with less effort once you cut it open.

• Keep lemons in sealed food bags to keep them fresher for longer.

• To get maximum use from your lemons, grate the rind before you cut them. Use this rind or zest to add flavour to your marinades, cakes and pastries.

• Make a fresh-scented DIY household cleaner by putting your used lemon peels into a container with white vinegar. This natural, non-toxic cleaner is great for shining surfaces – just don’t put it on wood!

• How to buy – select a good one. Choose organic lemons where possible. Generally, the juiciest lemons are usually yellowish or lighter green in colour and have thinner skins.