Even the smallest changes in your routine can have a big impact on your health. Take starting your day with lemon water, for instance.
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Internal medicine specialist Roxanne B. Sukol, MD, MS, discusses seven reasons why you should consider adopting this super simple habit.
- Aids in digestion
Acid helps break down food. That’s why there’s so much of it in our stomachs. The acid in lemons may be especially helpful in supplementing stomach acid levels, which tend to decline as we age.
- Helps you stay hydrated
Most of us don’t drink enough water. A daily lemon water habit is an easy way to get your day off on the right foot. How do you know if you’re drinking enough? Your urine is almost clear.
- Weight-loss friendly
We’re creatures of habit. Ponder the impact of replacing your morning OJ or latte with lemon water. Not just once, but perhaps 20 times a month — and multiply that by 10 years. Your waist line will thank you.
- Prevents oxidation
Like all produce, lemons contain phytonutrients, which protect your body against disease. These phytonutrients have powerful antioxidant properties, which prevent cell damage from oxidation, the same mechanism that causes rust.
- Supplies a healthy dose of vitamin C
Juice half a lemon into your water and you’ll add a mere 6 calories to your diet. Plus you’ll get more than a sixth of your daily vitamin C, which is needed to protect us from cell damage and repair injury.
- Provides a potassium boost
Your body can’t function without potassium. It’s necessary for nerve-muscle communication, transporting nutrients and waste and blood pressure regulation. Fruits and vegetables are important sources of potassium.
- Helps prevent kidney stones
Lemon water helps prevent painful stones in those deficient in urinary citrate (a form of citric acid). More importantly, increased fluids help prevent dehydration — a common cause of kidney stones.
How to enjoy lemon water
Simply squeeze half of a lemon into a glass of water. How much? When? It really doesn’t matter. Any way you do it, it’s a big plus for your health.
Don’t forget the peel
Capture the rich nutrients by zesting your lemon (organic, please) and using in baking or cooking.
Will it hurt my teeth?
Theoretically, lemon acid can be harmful to your enamel, but you’re diluting it here. As long as you don’t make a habit of sucking on lemons all the time, you should be fine.
Resources: National Institutes of Health