Warm water with lemon

It’s a new year and chance are, you’ve made some resolutions.  I spent New Year’s Eve with my husband’s family, and when we went around the table sharing our goals for 2014, most of us had better health and a leaner body on our minds.  I once read some good advice about setting resolutions: don’t be vague and say, “I want to get healthier.”  Instead, set specific, more measurable goals for yourself, such as “I will drink 8 glasses of water a day,”  “I will exercise a 30 minutes/4 days a week,” or “I will go to sleep by 10:00 pm Sunday through Thursday.”

From my personal experience, I have found that to be good advice which has helped me stick to my resolutions better than before.  I have also found that fewer, smaller changes can gradually bring us to where we want to be and have a longer-lasting impact.  Of course, it depends on one’s personality, but I don’t have what it takes to make lots of drastic changes overnight.

One new year’s resolution that I made many, many years ago (which I learned from an ayurvedic practitioner) that is still going strong is starting the day with a mugful of warm water with fresh lemon juice.  Rarely does a day go by, no matter what the season, no matter where I am, when I don’t enjoy this easy, inexpensive, and health-supportive beverage.

Here are some of the benefits to drinking warm lemon-water at the start of your day:

1.    Rehydrates the body.   Sleeping so many hours without fluid intake generally leaves you slightly dehydrated when you wake up.  All the systems in your body need water to function properly and a glass of water warm helps keep everything running smoothly.

2.    Stimulates the digestive system for the day. The citric acid in lemon juice stimulates the production of gastric juices in the stomach.  What’s also interesting is that lemon juice has a molecular composition similar to digestive fluids such as saliva and hydrochloric acid and enhances their processes.  Lemon juice can also help relieve symptoms of indigestion and nausea.

3.  Helps finish the detoxification process the and clear the digestive tract.  Lemon also stimulates and helps cleanse the liver, our body’s detoxifying organ.  Lemon juice helps stimulate the production of bile which helps to eliminate toxins.

4.    Boosts the immune system.  Lemons contain incredibly high levels of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and immune-booster.

5.    Helps beautify the skin. The skin benefits from hydration and detoxification, but in addition, the antioxidants in lemon also scavenge free radicals which contribute to premature aging.  Furthermore, lemon juice’s anti-bacterial properties are a natural cleanser for the skin, liver and gall bladder.

cut a washed, organic lemon in half

Here’s how easy this is:  First thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything else, wash a lemon (preferably organic) and cut it in half.  Squeeze the juice from one lemon half into a large mug or heat-proof cup.  Add warm, filtered water (not boiling water which will destroy some of the vitamins and enzymatic properties in the lemon) to the mug.  Drink slowly.  If it’s not inconvenient for you to wait 30 minutes to eat breakfast, do so.  This will ensure your body absorbs as many nutrients as possible.

Here’s to a healthful 2014!

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30 Comments

  1. I never use the microwave except to heat water in the mornings (45 secs) for lemon water. Is this okay to do – before adding the lemon? I’ve tried putting it on the stove a million times but always get sidetracked with the kids and end up with boiling water.

  2. The warm water and lemon is the best mix to start your day!

  3. How do I heat the filtered water, on the stove or can I use an eclectric kettle?

  4. I’ve been doing this for about 6 months now and it’s great for getting my body and mind energized for the day. I hardly want coffee anymore in the morning because it really gives you an overall wellbeing feeling. I go to the gym about an hour later and feel stronger and ready to engage my body into any physical activity. Great post!!

  5. Happy New Year! I have been doing this for quite awhile by putting a few slices of lemon in my travel cup a pulling down hot h2o from my Keurig. I sip on it during my drive to work.
    Then if (I break down) sometimes I will still have hot plain tea or coffee in the office with my steel cut oats in my mason jar.
    Problem is : my dentist says my tooth enamal is erroding and I frequently have inflamed gums due to high quantities of citrus drinking lemon water everyday. Also, he said because I make and drink pure veggie and fruit juices that I again have contact with acid that hurts teeth/gums!?! I always even swish with water afterwards. Does anyone else have this going on?

    • Barbara, I have heard that some people have this problem. Couple of thoughts — perhaps limit yourself to one cup of the lemon water a day and don’t sip it for any length of time, instead drink it all at once. Also, do not brush your teeth immediately after drinking the lemon water. Swish your mouth for a minute with plain water right after drinking the lemon water or fresh juices and see if that helps.

      • What if she uses a straw so the lemon will bypass her teeth and go right down the throat? Also what is the ratio of water to lemon?

        • A straw is a good idea. The ratio doesn’t have to be exact. I usually use about a tablespoon or two of lemon juice in a large mug of warm water. 🙂

    • maybe it is old news but I have read that drinking through a straw helps keep so much acid from coming in contact with your teeth. It might be worth a try.

      • I think that’s a great suggestion. Thank you!

  6. Happy New Year! I have been doing this for quite awhile by putting a few slices of lemon in my travel cup a pulling down hot h2o from my Keurig. I sip on it during my drive to work.
    Then if (I break down) sometimes I will still have hot plain tea or coffee in the office with my steel cut oats in my mason jar.
    Problem is : my dentist says my tooth enamal is erroding and I frequently have inflamed gums due to high quantities of citrus drinking lemon water everyday. Also, he said because I make and drink pure veggie and fruit juicing that I again have

  7. I also like to add a slice of fresh ginger or a sprinkle of ground ginger to my lemon water. The taste of ginger is not to everyone’s taste but its anti-inflammatory value is excellent. The use of ginger is also very effective when a cold starts.

    • Lois, you are quite correct about the benefits of ginger. Coincidentally, I posted a Thai soup with ginger which you should check out. Thank you!

  8. Every morning I do this and I love it! It is warming and refreshing at the same time. It always feels good to do a “healthy” act first thing in the morning to set your intentions for the rest of the day. Happy New Year!

    • Yes, I love what you said about setting your intentions for the day, so true!! Thank you for that!

  9. Pamela,
    Thanks for the great suggestion – last year I allowed my weight to spiral out of control and I’m making small attainable goals for myself this year. This is one that I’ve put into practice as of this morning. Sometimes, the simplest things are best!
    Looking forward to your class on the 22nd and Happy New Year!

    • Good for you! Looking forward to seeing you later this month :)!

  10. Love the suggestion and i will start tomorrow 🙂
    Looking forward to another wonderful year together Pamela!
    xoxo
    Teddi

  11. Pamela, May this be a year filled with great joy and good health for you and your family. Thank you for just one more small way to improve our quality of life. I love the idea of this Warm Lemon Water. I drink tea but have found that I am so sensitive to the caffine that if I have more than one glass, I am up all night. Again, I am appreciative of your generous tips and beautiful recipes.

    • Thank you for the lovely note, Andree. To you and yours, as well. I am also sensitive to caffeine. I hope the lemon water works well for you!

  12. Have tried this many times…gives me a stomachache. Tried less lemon and I just get an indigestion feeling. Doesn’t work for me, but I love the idea.

    • Bummer. I wonder if you tried it after eating instead of on an empty stomach….

  13. Pamela,
    Bravo!!A great suggestion!! I’ve been doing the warm water/lemon juice morning drink for decades! I have a brother who followed the Macrobiotic diet for many years, and he introduced me to this healthy habit.

    On another note, I saw your dear Mom on New Year’s Day, and we had a wonderful time at Jo Fusco’s lovely home where she prepared a beautiful dinner including some of your wonderful recipes! (Fingerling potatoes, balsamic roasted broccoli/cherry tomatoes—Yum!
    A warm and Happy New Year to you and your family!
    Katherine

    • So nice to hear from you, Katherine! Happy, healthy new year to you!

    • It’s the best, Linleigh. Hope it works well for you!


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