This time of year we can feel pretty sluggish. The cold weather keeps us indoors more than we’d like, and our meals are often heavier as we enjoy stews, roasts, casseroles, and hearty root vegetables with butter and even gravies and sauces! Not to mention the drinks we may imbibe in with our dear ones over the holidays: wine, beer, and alcohol add a lot of calories and can add to the stress that our liver and kidneys are going through in processing all that over-indulgence.
Warm water with fresh lemon juice. That’s it. Yes, it really can be that easy!
Well okay, if you find it too tart to be palatable (like my hubby) a small teaspoonful of honey can be stirred into your mugful of very warm water that’s had the juice of one lemon squeezed into it. People who weigh less than 150 pounds can use half a lemon, and those over 150 should use a whole lemon. Let’s start our day with this comforting beverage to help wake up and enliven our digestive systems, and give our day an energizing start!
First of all, when selecting your lemons at the store, remember that heavier lemons are believed to be more full of minerals. Once you get home, give them a good scrubbing to remove any wax and contaminants from their peel. Keep your citrus fruit on the counter rather than in the fridge, as studies have shown that many nutrients in citrus (as well as taste) are lost through the chilling process. I like to buy my fresh citrus on a regular basis and go through them quickly.
It’s this simple: grab one of your lemons from the bowl and roll it firmly on the counter or cutting board – this helps loosen up those juices inside. Then slice it in half and squeeze all the juice out of it! Feel free to use your hand and drip the juice over your other hand to catch any seeds, the way the TV chefs do it, or feel confident in pressing and twisting the lemon half onto the cone of a hand juicer and then through a sieve. Regardless of how you do it, you want to extract as much juice as possible – without any seeds.
I don’t like using hot water from the tap for human consumption due to the fact that I live in an older home that has a great likelihood of lead having been used in the plumbing. Cold water is much less likely to release any of the lead, the way hot water can, so I use cold water and heat it for consumption. Over the stove, or in the kettle, I bring water to the boil, allow to cool a bit, and pour over the lemon juice waiting in the cups. Stir and enjoy (add a touch of honey if needed – but personally I adore the bright taste of lemon).
Enjoy another cupful of this warm drink at bedtime to help support your liver and immune system while you sleep.
Here Are Some Of The Proven Health Benefits:
Warm water with lemon juice gives our bodies loads of vitamin C. Three wedges provide 12% of the daily amount we need. Vitamin C helps keep our skin, bones and connective tissues healthy, helps our body heal after injuries, and aids in the absorption of iron.
Cold and Flu Relief
Warm water with lemon is a tried-and-true old home remedy for colds and flu, especially for sore throats that often come with these illnesses. Holding a warm mug while breathing in the vapours of hot water with honey and lemon is comforting and helps break up congestion while preventing dehydration, an important concern when we don’t feel well.
With more than half of our body weight being water, every part of our body from the smallest cell to the largest organ, requires water to function properly. However drinking a big glass of cold water is the last thing we want to do when winter snows are howling outside. Sipping on a mugful of hot water with lemon is a lot more tempting, and helps us get the eight glasses of water we need every day.
If we drink warm water with lemon instead of sugar-sweetened warm beverages, it can help us keep our weight under control. Water, of course, has no calories, and one lemon wedge contains only a single calorie. Compare this with the 150 calories in a small latte from a popular coffee chain, or the 230 calories in a hot chocolate with 2% milk.
So let’s help boost our immune systems and relieve the sluggishness from the over-abundance we’ve enjoyed during the holiday season with two simple ingredients: lemons and water. It truly works for me, and I’m sure it will help you feel refreshed as well.