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Q: "I've heard that drinking warm lemon water is good for you, but why does the water have to be warm? I've started squeezing half a lemon into a glass of cold water at least twice a day, but warm water doesn't sound very good." — Teresa B., Odenton, Md.

A: Lemon water is a natural energy booster. Not only does it quench your thirst, it also nourishes and hydrates your body with vitamins, minerals and electrolytes such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.

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In addition, lemon water eliminates toxins, rejuvenates the cells, regulates kidney and digestive functions, reduces joint and muscle pain, strengthens the immune system, fights inflammation, alkalizes the body, relieves heartburn, clears the skin, and lowers blood pressure. In fact, according to http://www.complete-health-and-happiness.com, "A daily intake of one lemon can reduce high blood pressure by 10 percent."

Because lemons contain pectin fiber, which helps suppress hunger cravings, water with lemon also helps with weight loss. For maximum results, http://www.complete-health-and-happiness.com recommends squeezing at least half of a lemon into a cup of warm water and drinking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach one hour before meals.

Drinking lemon water at any temperature is better than not drinking it at all; however, according to http://www.waterbenefitshealth.com, "water that is warm or room temperature will provide the most health benefits and allow for the full enzymatic and energetic properties of the lemon." Boiling water will destroy some of the enzymatic properties of the fresh lemon juice, and ice cold water might hinder the digestive benefits of the lemon.

"Even though your body will heat up the ice cold lemon water, it requires more energy and more work for the body," http://www.waterbenefitshealth.com notes.

One drawback of regularly drinking lemon water is that the acid from the lemon can degrade tooth enamel. Drinking with a straw helps, but it's best to brush your teeth after drinking lemon water or rinse your mouth with a pinch of baking soda dissolved in water to neutralize the lemon acid on your teeth.

Lemon water also should be added to your diet gradually as "increasing the amount of lemon water you drink too quickly can cause uncomfortable detoxification symptoms such as headache, tiredness or bowel changes," waterbenefitshealth.com warns.

People with ulcers or lemon allergies should not drink lemon water, and children younger than 12 years old should not consume lemon water daily. As always, please consult your health practitioner before making any dietary changes to determine what is best for your specific needs.

Please email your fitness and health questions to me at leimlite@gmail.com or mail to:

As I See Fit

c/o The Advocate

115 Airport Drive, Suite 170

Westminster, Md. 21157

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