When Life Gives You Lemons - 7 Reasons Why you should Make Lemonade Out of Them
Lemon or Citrus limon (botanical name), is native to Indian subcontinent and naturally the fruit has found its way into our daily lives in a hundred different ways.
Perhaps, the most refreshing flavour and fragrance that we have experienced will be that of lemon. What would relax us more than a glass of cold lime juice on a hot summer day?
We use lemon for a number of purposes from cooking to cleaning, from skin care and beauty to weight management and even in our rituals and pujas.
Many of us already have the habit of starting our day with a glass of lime water (possibly with some herbs or honey). Starting our mornings with lemon water, has a lot more benefits than we imagine.
Here, we give you seven reasons for having lemon water every day. We will also share three simple recipes of healthy lemon drinks
1. Build Immunity
When the Covid-19 situation broke out early this year, it was a reality-check for all of us on the importance of building immunity. One of the advices given by the healthcare professionals was to improve our intake of Vitamin C (Vit C), a major booster to our immune system.
Lemon is a rich source of the VitC, also known as ascorbic acid. Each 100 grams of undiluted lemon juice contains about 53 mg of Vit C. The recommended daily intake of Vit C for healthy adults is 75-90 mg1.
Vit C is essential in the production of collagen, a protein needed in cell re-generation and healing process. It also aids the efficient absorption of iron into the blood.
2. Improve Metabolism and Aid in Weight Management
Have you noticed how we always feel so full after drinking lemon water? Pectin, a fibre in lemon helps in reducing appetite and thereby we feel less hunger pangs.
Lemon is very low in carbohydrates and sugar. Hence it becomes a suitable fruit drink for weight watchers. Lemon water also helps to improve the composition of intestinal microbiota, which is vital in digestion process.
Lemons contain flavonoids, a group of plant chemicals that can improve metabolic health markers like insulin tolerance and fat metabolism. Above all, lemon water can keep us hydrated for a long time.
3. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
In addition to Vitamin C, the flavonoids in lemon also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
There are some unstable molecules, called free radicals made during cell metabolism. Accumulation of free radicals can cause cell and tissue damage. The antioxidants clean up the free radicals and prevents cell damages. Flavonoids thereby reduces the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Lemon also has anti-inflammatory properties. We have commonly used warm lemon water as a relief for common cold. Lemon water may also help to fight respiratory tract infections and tonsils inflammation.
Lemon water can be simple and effective remedy for minor swellings and joint pains.
4. Reducing Occurrence of Kidney Stones
Some studies suggest that drinking lemon water regularly may help in preventing kidney stones.
Most kidney stones are formed of calcium oxalate, i.e., they are calcium stones. The common treatment for these stones is a compound called citrate, a salt found in citric acid.
Lemon is rich in citric acid and daily intake of lemon water will help to increase citrate levels in body. Citrate prevents calcium from binding and forming into stones inside kidneys.
5. Effective Exigent Foods
Exigent foods are those which improve the nutritional output of other food items, in addition to providing nutrition themselves.
A study2 conducted by International Journal of Nutrition and Food Engineering in 2018 observed that when lemon juice was added to boiled carrots, along with olive oil and whey curd, the nutrition absorption was 30% more than when the food was consumed without it.
6. Natural Diuretic
Lemon water acts as a diuretic, substances that encourage urination. Thus, having lemon water daily will help with bloating caused by water retention.
Toxins are flushed out of the system through urine. Daily consumption of lemon water causes a purging effect for the body by expelling the impurities and harmful bacteria from blood, liver and skin.
7. Healthier Skin
Lemon is a ubiquitous ingredient in skin care. From home-remedies to high end skin care products, they all use derivatives of lemon, mainly Vitamin C.
Lemon water has many benefits for skin. It purifies the skin cells and prompt flushing of impurities that clogs pores. Result is reduced acne and clearer skin.
Vitamin C boosts collagen, which gives skin its elasticity. Improved collagen in skin delays skin wrinkles and reduces sun damage.
In the absence of free radicals, the skin cells are able to regenerate better thereby improving the skin quality.
Let’s Make Lemonade -Three healthy Lemon water recipes.
1. Lemon and cucumber water with mint - Detox drink
- Clean and cut one medium size cucumber and two lemons into thin slices.
- Put them into a pitcher and add 500 ml of purified water.
- Add 10-15 mint leaves into the mixture.
- Refrigerate overnight.
Health benefits : This is a very good detox and hydrating drink. It is especially useful for reversing fluid loss due to illness and extreme temperatures. It also helps with skin dehydration caused by sweating after workouts.
2. Lemon and jaggery Water - Boosts digestion
- Add a piece of jaggery in 200 ml of water.
- Place it on the stove in on a low flame. There is no need to bring it to a boil.
- Keep it on low heat, stirring occasionally till the jaggery is completely dissolved.
- You can also add a piece of crushed dried ginger to enhance the flavor.
- Take it off the heat and add the juice of a full lemon.
- Mix it well. Drink it while it is warm.
Health benefits : This concoction, helps with digestion and boosts metabolism. Also, jaggery is a harmless and healthy alternative to processed sugar. For those who can’t stand the tartness of lemon water without a spoonful of sugar, this drink is a perfect option while dieting.
3. Lemon and cumin water - Reduces belly fat
- Dry roast 1tbsp of cumin.
- Add it to 500 ml water and boil it.
- Strain the water and add juice of half a lemon while still warm.
- Add 1 tsp honey and stir well.
Health benefits : Having this drink in an empty stomach early morning helps in reducing belly fat.
Any time of day, lemon water is a refreshing and uplifting beverage. If you are looking for optimum health benefits, it is always better to drink lemon detox water (without sugar) in the morning on an empty stomach.
For one thing, the body has not digested anything for 5 to 6 hours. Hence it is a better way to kick start metabolism with a dose of Vitamin C, than with tea or coffee. Green tea with a few drops of lemon is also a good option.
A word of caution though- citric acid in lemon can harm the enamel of teeth, overtime. Enamel erosion might lead to cavities.
Some people feel a teeth sensitivity, after consuming lemon juice. Hence, it is better to use straws for having lemon water. Also rinsing the mouth immediately will also help to reduce the teeth damage.
- How can lemons benefit your health?- Megan Ware, RDN, L.D; November 4, 2019
- Benefits of drinking lemon water- Joe Leech; May 14,2020