We consume protein shakes to promote muscle growth and repair in order to enhance our body composition and gain strength. We consume pre-workouts in a bid to stay energised and focused during our workouts. We drink herbal teas in a bid to relax and benefit from antioxidant goodness after a long and active day. There are many drinks that we consume every day in a bid to improve our health and athletic performance, and there is another drink worthy of this list that you should consider starting your day with!
The majority of us are used to waking up and heading immediately to the kettle for a warm beverage. Replace your usual tea or coffee with a mug of warm water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into it. Why am I telling you to drink this? Because there are many health benefits associated with this particular beverage which was first used in Ayurvedic (Ancient Indian medicine)and Yogic traditions to stimulate metabolism and clear the body of toxins which may have settled from the previous day.
Nutrient Value of a Lemon
One lemon (47g) yields:
12kcal from a 95% carbohydrate and 5% protein make up.
Lemons are a good source of folate and potassium and a very good source of vitamin C.
Lemons are a very good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C concentrations in plasma and leukocytes rapidly decline when a person is suffering from an infection, virus or stress. Keeping vitamin C levels topped up helps to improve components of the immune system such as antimicrobial and natural killer cell activites. It contributes to maintaining the integrity of cells and boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help to protect the body against damage caused by inflammation and/or oxidative stress. Potassium in lemons is attributed with helping to stimulate the brain and nervous system and help to control blood pressure too.
Balance Body pH:
Believe it or not, lemons are very alkaline. Of course they are acidic on their own but once they have been metabolised by the body they become alkaline. Despite the rumours, citric acid does not disrupt digestion or create acidity within the body. An alkaline environment is essential to health as most bacteria and diseases thrive in acidic environments. An alkaline body pH is also associated with helping to promote weight loss.
Lemons are high in pectin fibre which helps to fight hunger pangs and keep us satiated for an extended period of time. If warm water with lemon is consumed first thing in the morning it can help stimulate metabolism while preventing us from getting the munchies before lunch time. Starting the day off with a cleansing drink also encourages healthy food choices for the rest of the day.
Warm water stimulates the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis. Peristalsis is the name given to the waves of muscle contractions which occur to move food along the intestines. The minerals and vitamins found in lemons are also associated with helping to loosen toxins in the digestive tract so that they can be transported out of the body.
Vitamin C is linked with helping to decrease skin wrinkles, blemishes and acne outbreaks. It purges toxins from the blood which prevents pores from becoming blocked, keeping skin clear and radiant.
Hydrates Lymph System:
Warm water with lemon can contribute to preventing adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands together with the thyroid are responsible for proper functioning within all of the body systems. Adrenal fatigue causes dysfunction within these systems leading to issues such as constipation and excessive stress.
Lemons are believed to help stimulate and purify the liver.
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) promotes wound and injury healing. It is essential to the maintenance of healthy bone, connective tissue and cartilage.