Consider swapping your standard cup of coffee for a glass of hot water and lemon first thing in the morning, recommends nationally known nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, author of "Fat Flush for Life" and other books. The combination can benefit your body in numerous ways, including helping you to lose weight and keep hydrated, improving your digestion and upping your vitamin C intake. You can even spice up this morning drink to boost its benefits.
Gittleman recommends combining the juice of half a lemon with 1 cup hot water. If you don’t want to squeeze your own lemons, you can substitute 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Make sure to use 100-percent organic lemon juice. You can spice up this drink and further rev your metabolism by adding a pinch of ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground ginger, Gittleman says. Lemons will keep for up to 10 days at room temperature, so you can shop for them weekly. You also can store fresh lemon juice in an ice cube tray without losing any of its potency.
Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning stimulates your digestive system, according to Louise Atkinson’s "Daily Mail" article, “Lose Weight for Christmas with the Lemon Juice Diet.” This improves your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Poor absorption of nutrients can cause you to feel hungry, even when you are not.
Lemon water cleanses your palate on the way down. Once in your body, it helps to gently flush your kidneys and your liver of wastes and toxins, says Gittleman. It also can help cleanse your lymphatic system, another body system that eliminates toxins.
Both lemons and water are on Gittleman’s list of fat flush foods. Water helps you stay hydrated. Your body stores more fat when you are dehydrated because your kidneys need help from your liver to function when your body is in this state. This hampers the liver’s ability to burn fat. Water also is a natural appetite suppressant. Being dehydrated, in contrast, can cause feelings of hunger. Lemons may help reduce cellulite because they stimulate blood flow to your skin and help your body flush out waste. Lemon also boosts your body’s ability to metabolize fat, Gittleman says.
Lemon juice provides a high amount of Vitamin C, notes Atkinson. One lemon gives 30.7 mg vitamin C, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The recommended daily amount is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. People who consume more vitamin C have more efficient digestive systems than people who don’t. Lemon also increases acidity of your digestive system, which helps you better absorb calcium. Calcium absorption helps you lose weight, says Atkinson, because calcium is stored in fat cells. The more calcium in your fat cells, the easier it is to stimulate their burn. Vitamin C also boosts your immune system, helps prevent coronary heart disease, and lowers your risk for stroke, cataracts and gout. This antioxidant vitamin also may help lower cancer risk when consumed via fresh fruits, according to Oregon State University.
Adding a tablespoon of lemon juice along with some of the lemon’s zest can provide 1,600 oxygen radical absorbency capacity, or ORAC, units to your diet, according to "Women’s Health" magazine. An ORAC unit is a measurement developed by the National Institutes of Health to measure a food’s antioxidant capacity. The higher the value, the higher the antioxidant benefits, such as fighting cell-damaging free radicals. One antioxidant lemon juice provides is eriocitrin, which may protect against oxidative stress in the liver.
- “The Fat Flush Foods”; Ann Louise Gittleman; 2004 page 15, 18-19
- “Fat Flush For Life”; Ann Louise Gittleman; 2010.
- "Daily Mail" newspaper; Lose Weight for Christmas with the Lemon Juice Diet; Louise Atkinson; December 2007.
- “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry”; Metabolism of Antioxidant in Lemon Fruit (Citrus limon BURM. f.) by Human Intestinal Bacteria; Yoshiaki Miyake et al.; 1997.
- PubMed: “Life Sciences”; Lemon flavonoid, eriocitrin, suppresses exercise-induced oxidative damage in rat liver; K. Minato et al.; 2003.