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Lemon Water 101

What are the benefits of drinking it?

Lemon water is all the rage these days and for good reason. It’s an easy way to zest up and add some nutrients to something you should be drinking lots of every day anyway. While the full benefits of drinking lemon water are still a little anecdotal, there is no denying the health factors associated with both water and lemons on their own.

The first and biggest benefit of lemon water (and why you should drink a glass when you wake up in the morning) is hydration. According to the Food and Nutrition Board, women should get at least 91 ounces of water per day while men should drink 125 ounces. That can be a tall order for most people—especially if you are not fond of how water tastes. However, a squeeze of lemon can give basic water just enough of a flavor lift to make you want to drink more of it.

Aside from making water taste better, lemon can give you a boost of vitamin C that helps protect your cells from damaging free radicals. Vitamin C is also reportedly good at helping to kill the common cold though more information is needed to come to a solid conclusion. One more bonus of vitamin C is its ability to improve your skin quality by reducing dry skin and wrinkles as well as sun damage.

If you are looking to shed a few pounds, drinking lemon water may be able to help you achieve your goals in a healthy and tasty way. Polyphenol antioxidants that are found in lemons have been shown to reduce weight gain in mice. These antioxidants are also key in fighting off type 2 diabetes by offsetting the negative effects on blood glucose levels and improving insulin resistance. While more studies need to be done on humans, there is strong support that lemon water can aid in healthy weight management.

Probably one of the more compelling reasons aside from hydration to drink lemon water to begin your day is how it kick starts your digestive system. Many people drink either warm or hot lemon water as a laxative to help prevent constipation, allowing you to digest food more easily and eliminate any potential build-up of toxins. Coincidentally, lemon water’s citrate is an effective measure to prevent kidney stones by making your urine less acidic and flushing out any stones.

Finally, lemon water can be useful in keeping your breath nice and fresh. Lemon is believed to be able to stimulate saliva while the water keeps your mouth from getting dry and forming bad breath bacteria. Drinking a glass after meals and in the morning can be a great and healthy way to keep your mouth clean all day.

Here's how to up the flavor and benefits of this healthy drink:

  • Use real lemons and not concentrate. For every eight ounces of water squeeze half a lemon. (You need more than a wedge to reap any health benefits.)

  • Add mint- known for helping with digestive upsets, headaches, clogged sinuses, and many other ailments.

  • Add raw honey- proven to up antioxidants, heal wounds, and sooth a sore throat.

  • Add ginger- helps with nausea, muscle pain, and high cholesterol.

  • Add cinnamon- an antioxidant powerhouse, is anti-inflammatory, and protects against cancer.

  • Add turmeric- improves brain function, lowers risk of heart disease, helps soothe arthritis.

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