Would you like to know a simple step you can take to boost your health? Start your day with a glass of lemon water. This is one of my go-to wellness tips.

» Stimulates digestion — Lemon juice contains beneficial digestive qualities that mimic digestive enzymes found in the stomach which stimulates the liver to produce bile, helping to keep food moving through your GI tract. Starting your day with lemon water helps to get digestive juices flowing.

» Provides ample amount of vitamin C — With cold-and-flu season here, it is important to increase vitamin C intake to boost the immune system to ward off sickness. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help you bounce back faster if you get sick. If you catch a cold, sip on lemon water throughout the day to overcome illness quicker. One lemon contains over 50 percent of the daily recommended vitamin C.

» Increases iron absorption — Eating a vitamin C-rich food with an iron-rich food helps the body to absorb iron better. Drinking lemon water at meals that contain iron can help boost the iron absorption by more than 50 percent. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that taking 100 milligrams of vitamin C with a meal increased iron absorption by 67 percent.

» Glowing skin — Lemons are considered an anti-aging food. Their antioxidant content helps to prevent free-radical damage. Accumulation of free radicals speeds up the aging process, and research shows that antioxidants are an effective way to slow aging and improve skin health. Also, vitamin C helps to boost collagen production, which is crucial for maintaining skin’s elasticity.

» Helps prevent kidney stones — A study conducted at Duke University Medical Center treated patients with lemonade therapy for four years and showed that participants had a decrease in kidney stones while on the lemonade therapy. Lemon water contains high amounts of citrate, which has been shown to help prevent and treat kidney stones.

» Promotes healthy liver function — Fresh lemon juice can help protect your liver from alcohol-induced damage. A study in BioMed Research International showed that “lemon juice might be a potential dietary supplement for the prevention and treatment of liver injury related to chronic alcohol consumption.”

Daily lemon water consumption is easy. Upon waking, squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a glass of water. To make drinking it easier, make a week’s worth of lemon water in a pitcher and store it in a refrigerator. Use fresh lemon, never bottled lemon juice.

Mandy Nix is a registered dietitian who writes a bi-weekly column for The News Herald.

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