The Magical Power of Lemon Water

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I felt emotionally exhausted and physically drained after my trip to another state week before last.  Saying goodbye to loved ones is always so hard, but in this case, it was absolutely agonizing.

Four funerals of friends over a 10-day span was just too much.    On the flight home, I asked the airline hostess for a glass of water with lemon.  Upon drinking it, I noticed that my mood was lifted rather instantaneously.   It was as though I’d just consumed a magic potion.

My mother has always extolled the virtues of lemon water.  For years, it has been my “go-to” drink.  I love it, and I choose it over soda every time.  If I want something bubbly, I will drink either San  Pellegrino or Perrier with a squeeze of lemon.  I love the stuff…so light and refreshing.  Little Ingrid now loves it, too.

None of us drink sugary soft drinks.

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Among many other things the advantages of regularly drinking lemon water include:

  • Preventing  the growth of pathogenic bacteria and the decomposition of tissue
  • Cleansing the system of certain impurities, and also helping prevent certain diseases and infections
  • It is amazingly effective at dissolving uric acid (often the cause of pain and inflammation in joints) and other poisons in the body
  • It can help reduce symptoms of malaria, rheumatism, gout, rickets and tuberculosis…not that I have any of these diseases…

And I think it simply tastes good.

I keep a lemon half in a small glass container right inside my refrigerator door.  Each time I pour myself a glass of water, I grab the lemon and give it a little squeeze into the glass.  Doesn’t take much to impart a truly delicious flavor.  Although, in the summer, when mint is fresh and ripe, I might add a sprig or two of that as well, I never add sugar.   I’m sweet enough already.  😉

People with liver damage often turn to lemon water because its healing power is an excellent stimulant for the liver.   From what I understand, it helps liquefy bile and helps control excess bile flow. For liver complaints, it is recommended that one drink warm lemon juice one hour before breakfast.  Drinking it as a “tea” and drinking it in a cold glass of water provide different benefits and different taste sensations.

One of the most important benefits of imbibing lemon water with some degree of regularity, is its effect on the gastrointestinal tract. Lemon water assists in the process of digestion and elimination.  It also has an alkalizing effect on the body. Increasing body alkalinity is what you should be going for.  It is one of the key benefits of drinking lemon water.

Other benefits include:

  • Helps purify the blood and will also control a tendency to bleed
  • Assists in lowering high blood pressure
  • Reduces the amount of phlegm in the body
  • Relieves symptoms of asthma, allergies and other respiratory problems
  • Nourishes brain and nerve cells due to its potassium content
  • Helps dissolves gallstones, calcium deposits, kidney stones, and pancreatic stones

Basically, as we get older, our bodies “rust” (sort of).   Rust is, of course, the oxidation of metal. And scientifically, aging has been considered the slow oxidation of our bodies. Like those brown age spots on the back of people’s hands?  That’s just oxidized fat under the skin. Oxidant stress is why we get wrinkles, that’s why we lose some of our memory, that’s why our organ systems break down as we get older.  How do we slow down oxidation? By eating foods containing anti-oxidants. If you want to know if a food has a lot of antioxidants in it you slice it open, expose it to air—expose it to oxygen and see what happens. Does it oxidize, does it turn brown? Think about our two most popular fruits: apples and bananas. Turn brown right away—not a lot of antioxidants inside there. How to do you keep your fruit salad from turning brown though? Add lemon juice, which has vitamin C in it, an antioxidant, which can keep your food from oxidizing and can do the same thing inside our bodies.  Lemons are good for you and help slow down the aging process.

I also use lemon juice for countless other things around the house.  For example, I boil a few slices of lemon in about half a litre of water. Let it cool. Pour it in a spray bottle and voilå!   My own homemade air freshener!  I use it as a glass cleaner.  I use it to polish my silver.  I toss a lemon into the garbage disposal to make it smell good.  I use it in my homemade furniture polish.  I just love how it smells.

Lemons.  They’re a good thang!

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Confessions of a Juice Fanatic

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There lacks sufficient bandwidth for me to list the numerous benefits of juicing in their entirety. Suffice it to say, there are many. Juicing allows us to get the essential minerals and vitamins that we need, from veggies and fruits, in a fast, digestible form. When done properly, juice can provide an entire meal in a single glass. It is the ultimate fast food.

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My personal adventure with serious juicing began with my purchase of the Breville 800JEXL Juicer, Juice Fountain Elite. This sleek, futuristic looking powerhouse of juicing goodness first attracted the attention of this artist’s eye by virtue of its fancy-schmancy stainless steel, sculptural-quality design. After I read the well-written manufacturer’s specs, I decided that it must be mine. About 5 days later, it was, and I found myself at the beginning of the path to an even juicier life than usual.

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Juicing…at least juicing the way that I juice, can be quite expensive. However, expense is relative. I can spend my money on locally grown organic produce, or I can spend it on medical bills. I choose the former. It tastes better than antibiotics.

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I buy my produce at New Seasons Market, where my son-in-law, Nate, works. New Seasons is Portland’s non-pretentious answer to Whole Foods. There happens to be one within walking distance of where I live, so New Seasons it is. They always have a wide array of beautifully arranged organic produce, and when I shop for juicing fare, I tend to select both fruits and veggies alike, to make a rainbow of color in my shopping cart.

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The secret of delicious juice is to always, regardless of the other ingredients, add one whole lemon, one 2” piece of peeled, fresh ginger and an apple. That is the base to all of my juices. It makes juiced broccoli taste sweet and peppy. It makes juiced collard greens more palatable, and, in fact, makes all juice taste delightful. The ginger is a good source of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. The lemon, of course, also supplies Vitamin C, as well as Folate and Potassium. Granted, it has more sugar than I normally like to eat, but its other nutritional values justify that. Sometimes, I use half the lemon and toss in a handful of raw cranberries. Cranberries are an excellent source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) and Vitamin K, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Manganese. The apple also packs in the Vitamin C, as well as fiber, but again…a lot of sugar.

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I make a cranberry drink in my blender, also, because I enjoy it rather chunky rather than liquid-y. It is sour, but is a great energy drink, consisting of cranberries, water and a scoop of green powder (alfalfa, barley grass and other greens). This drink is an acquired taste. I don’t think the majority of you would probably like it, but I do.

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When I juice, I do not get sick. When I stop juicing, I do. While I understand that correlation does not necessarily imply causation, my body feels that this is the cause, so I’ll (foolishly, perhaps) believe that it keeps me healthy. I am currently recovering from a 3-month illness, and I did not juice during that time. I started juicing again last week and have almost fully recovered. Go figure. (or, as Lisa Vanderpump says, “Go figga!”)

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The best thing about juicing is that the fresh juice tastes good. I can get picky eater, 3 yr. old Ingrid, to eat lots of leafy greens by giving them to her in juice form. She loves my juice. She hates the noise the juicer makes, but she does love the juice. I freeze it, sometimes, and make green juice popsicles for her. She loves those as well.

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Once or twice a year, I go on the ‘Reboot Your Life’ juice diet where I consume nothing but juice for at least 5 days. The longest I have ever done it was 30 days, and I lost 1 pound per day, so had to stop so I wouldn’t dry up and blow away….but I have to say, I felt great, was in a great mood. My hair and skin looked healthier than ever. The rapid weight loss, however, wasn’t wise, so I stopped. Otherwise, I would have stayed on it indefinitely, I think. It was wholly satisfying.

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All of my juices contain leafy greens….a LOT of leafy greens…..whatever is in season at the moment….kale, chard, spinach, collards, mustard greens….and I try to put in cruciferous veggies each time I juice as well…..cabbage, brussels sprouts, et al. As a general rule, I try to ‘eat a rainbow’ when I juice, and I find this wholly satisfying.   My juices tend to be about 1/3 fruits and 2/3 green veggies.  I do use carrots, though…but when I do, I cut back on the amount of fruit that I use because carrots are high in sugar. I make enough juice to last from 2-3 days each time, and must say, it does completely trash my kitchen, but after I drink the juice that I make, I have enough energy to make my kitchen sparkle again in no time!                          

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Cheers!