On your quest to better health, one of the small changes you can make is to start your day with a glass of filtered warm (not boiling), water with a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. Some of the benefits are:
- Firstly, most of us do not consume enough water throughout the day and adding more clean, pure, filtered water is vital to good health. Our bodies are more water than anything else! It is required to transport nutrients and oxygen to our cells and our kidneys depend on a constant supply of water to function optimally. Those are just two of many reasons to drink more water during the day!
- Lemon and lime juice are very alkalizing to the body. Note that by themselves they are acidic, but the effect on the body is alkalizing due to their mineral content. Since the majority of the population is acidic (due to diet and stress), drinking lemon or lime water is one step to bringing about a more alkaline pH. Why should you care about being alkaline? Many forms of disease thrive in an acidic body, cancer being one of the biggest threats. An acidic body, is constantly trying to buffer those acids by leaching minerals (i.e. calcium) from your bones leading to degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis.
- Citrus fruits contain the phytochemical hesperidin, with lemons and limes dominating (vs. grapefruit). Hesperidin is an antioxidant, that is anti-inflammatory and believed to have anti-cancer activity. The white part of the peel has the highest concentration of hesperidin so include the zest of these fruits in salad dressings or other dishes when ever you can, but their is still a significant level in the juice of these fruits. Dr. Oz recently spoke with Dr. William W. Li who is President of the Angiogenesis Foundation and Dr. Li’s recommendation was to drink 1/2 cup of lime juice every day for it’s cancer fighting ability against squamous lung cancer. While that much may be beneficial, my caution would be to watch your teeth enamel carefully. Your dentist may tell you that you are harming your enamel with that much acidity coming in contact with it. While I am not a doctor or researcher, my common sense tells me that including the zest of lemon or limes (organic please!) in your water or recipes would be better than that much juice.
- Lemon and lime juice are one of your liver’s best friends! It kickstarts your liver into action for the day. Our livers are one of the hardest working organs in the body with digestion and detoxification being only two of the very important functions it performs. Lemon/lime juice supports that liver function by assisting in the production of liver enzymes and bile. The natural antiseptic qualities can kill bacteria.
- Drinking lemon or lime water before a meal can help with digestive issues such as heartburn/acid refux (which are more often a symptom of low stomach acid vs. too much acid).
- Adding juice to warm water is best for digestion. Cold water is very hard on digestion and tends to hinder it. Too hot water will kill the enzymes in freshly squeezed juice. Their are benefits to drinking lemon or lime water 30 minutes before all of your meals.
Organic lemons seem to be much more plentiful than limes. I don’t know why, but that seems to be the case where I live. Either use conventional limes for their juice (skipping the zest) or purchase bottled organic lime juice – not from concentrate, which is available in health stores.