It’s common to ask for a little wedge of lemon when you order a glass of water at a restaurant. It looks so pretty in all of it’s yellow yellowiness. But you may be like me, not realizing just how much good a little lemon– or a lot– can be for your body!
Lemons, and their cousin, lime, are some pretty darn amazing creations. Aside from being necessary ingredients in things like Lemon and Key Lime Pies, some of my favorite fat-free yogurt flavors… (this is a health and nutrition site. You didn’t think I was talking about actual pie, did you? Ahem.). As a Not-So-Fit-Girl trying to lose weight, I recently learned a few things about lemons that has made them one of my favorite foods!
Drink More. Lose More.
It makes sense. If you’re not a fan of water, switching from sodas or sports drinks to flavor-free water can be a bit of a challenge. Flavored waters tend to have a lot of sugar. The sugar-free flavored waters are full of carcinogenic sweeteners. There just isn’t a win to be had when you go down that road. But if you replace those sugary drinks with water and lemon juice, you’re more likely to drink more water. Lemon is all natural, and calorie-free– bonus! Look at it this way. Let’s say you drink 8 ounces of a sports drink every day. That’s 50 calories, just in a beverage. (And really– who only drinks 8 oz.?) That’s 18, 250 calories in a year. If you changed nothing else about your diet, you could potentially lose 5 pounds over the course of a year– just from switching to water or lemon water. For us Not-So-Fit Girls, that may not seem like a lot. But try lifting a 5 lbs weight, and then tell me if that won’t make an impact. Lemon also contains pectin, which is a soluble fiber. That means it helps you to feel fuller faster and longer, which is a good thing if you’re trying to lose weight.
Clean Those Pipes
Because you’re drinking more water, thanks to it’s lemony goodness, your bowels are moving more frequently. The more your bowels move, the less time cruddy other stuff you might eat hangs out in your system. The less cruddy stuff hangs out in your system, the healthier your system, the less bacteria can fester and grow, which can mean fewer issues with colon-related diseases. The more fashionable word for this is “de-tox.” It’s all the rage these days, but really it’s just a fancy way to say, “Bus driver– move those bowels!” You can buy the expensive de-tox powders and pre-packaged beverages, or thumb through dozens of complicated de-tox recipes. But God pretty much gave you everything you need, wrapped in a pretty yellow package. If you’re not a monotone kinda girl, you can toss some lime in there as well. Lime is even better at cleaning out the excretory system and easing constipation. Lemon and lime play very nicely together.
C? I Told You So
The juice from one lemon provides you with more than 50% of the vitamin C you need each day.Vitamin C does so many wonderful things for your body, including helping to fight bacterial infections, aiding in blood circulation, and it’s a powerful antioxidant. Remember learning about the Civil War in school? And all the horror stories about the ailments folks endured in those days? One of those ailments is scurvy, which includes a long list of painful symptoms that are the direct result of a vitamin C deficiency. I haven’t had breakfast yet, so I won’t list all the symptoms. But trust me– vitamin C is something your body really, really needs.
Keeping Things Level
With nearly 26 million Americans working to manage diabetes, you or someone you know might benefit from the nutrient-rich, low glycemic characteristics of citrus fruits including lemons and limes. The American Diabetes Association lists lemons, limes, and oranges among its Ten Superfoods to help maintain a diet that provides your body with the energy it needs, without spiking glucose levels. The pulp of the these fruits play an important role in their usefulness. It’s that soluble fiber that helps stabilize your blood sugars, keeping them within a healthy range. The good things lemon and lime do for the average body, are exceptionally beneficial for the diabetic body.
Stone Cold Truth
If you’ve ever experienced kidney stones (we can swap labor stories later), lemon juice is a great way to both break apart stones, and prevent them from forming. If you have stones, it’ll take more than a diluted half-of-a-lemon’s worth to do the job. A straight shot of the sour stuff three times a day is what’s recommended. That seems like a lot, but it sure beats the alternative!
|Juicing Dealie-bob with the knobby thing.
I’m pretty sure that’s the technical term for it.
You only need the juice of about half a lemon a day to get the positive effects. That’s how much I put into my 24 oz. water bottle every day. Sometimes I’ll also add one packet of Truvia, just to take away a smidge of the pucker factor, if it’s a particularly sour lemon. So, you’re ready to toss some lemon into your ice water. What’s the best form? Squeezing lemons every day seems time-consuming and messy, are there better options? Not really. You’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck by squeezing fresh lemons yourself. The little lemon-shaped squeeze bottles or other bottled lemon juice are not going to have the same effect. The juice loses nutrients as it’s processed and sitting on the shelf. Fresh-squeezed is best, but there are things you can do to make it easier.
- Get a juicer. I’m not talking a hundreds-of-dollars automatic juicing machine. (Unless you’re looking for a way to justify buying one. Solidarity, girlfriend. Two words: white out.) One of those little glass or plastic dealie-bobs work great. You can always just squash the fruit in your hand, too, but it’s kinda messy. As an added bonus, the juicer will get more juice out of the fruit, along with more pulp (remember, fiber is our friend), and it separates the seeds from the juice.
- Pour the juice from half a squeezed lemon into a section of an ice cube tray. Once you’ve filled all sections of the tray (1/2 a lemon in each section), stick it in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the lemon cubes into a zippered freezer bag. When you fill up your water bottle, you can just plop one o’those bad boys into your water bottle each time you re-fill it.
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