When Life Gives You Lemons

April 5, 2017

Learn why this citrus should never be a throwaway garnish.

Whether it’s the finishing touch on a beautifully designed dish at your favorite restaurant or sitting on the rim of your favorite celebratory sip, garnishes are often cast aside. If you’ve been filing lemons in this category, stop right there. This delightful citrus should actually be regarded as a staple. You’re about to appreciate lemons as much more than a finishing touch.

A Citrus Powerhouse

Lemons are high in vitamin C, supplying four times more than oranges. As the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, vitamin C travels through your system, preventing cellular damage and cholesterol buildup by zapping any free radicals it meets. Recently, researchers discovered a substance in lemons called limonene. This essential oil has been shown to shrink cancerous tumors, detoxify carcinogens in the body, and stimulate the healthy flow of lymph fluids.

Lemons assist in the digestive process by producing necessary enzymes, invigorating the gallbladder and liver, and promoting the absorption of protein and minerals from foods. Lemon juice also helps liquefy fat so that it can be flushed out of your system faster. And as if that weren’t enough, drinking lemon juice in hot water acts as a mild diuretic, ridding the body of retained water and toxins. It may also help to reduce cellulite by cleansing the lymphatic system and stimulating blood flow to the skin.

To top it off, lemons also provide small amounts of vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and folate. So run, don’t walk, to pick up this Fat Flush superfood today!

Easy Ways to Enjoy

I recommend enjoy the juice from one lemon daily. It’s fantastic for cooking (I adore it drizzled on asparagus) and, of course, a delightful (and easy) option is to squeeze lemon juice into one of your 8 glasses of water. But, do keep away from those sugar packets. Consuming lemons with sugar negates many of the health benefits. The sugar lowers immunity, interferes with digestion, and leeches vitamins and minerals from the body.

To enhance digestion, enjoy a cup of hot water with lemon immediately after your meal. I find that enjoying my hot lemon water also allows for a brief time of calm to reflect on my day so far.

During a hot summer afternoon when you’d like a crisp refresher between meals, try making lemon “juice cubes.” Simply fill an ice cube tray with lemon juice, freeze, and pop a cube or two into your glass of filtered water.

Looking for Lemons

When choosing and storing your lemons, keep the following in mind.

• Look for firm, fine-textured lemons that are heavy for their size—they will be the juiciest.
• Choose one with a bright-yellow color as the lemons with a green tinge are not fully ripe and more acidic.
• Lemons will stay fresh for a week at room temperature, so long as they are protected from the sunlight.
• If you’d like to keep them longer, store them in the crisper in your fridge.
• Since they produce more juice when warm, if you do refrigerate them, bring them to room temperate before using by placing them in a bowl of warm water for several minutes.
• Rolling a lemon on your palms also helps produce more juice.
• Use them up as quickly as possible after cutting.

Sprucing Up for Spring

Finally, for a zesty twist for internal spring cleaning, add a touch of mustard, turmeric and ginger to your lemon water.

For even more info on the foods and spices your body needs the most, preorder your copy of The NEW Fat Flush Foods.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. eve

    What ifI do not have gallbladder ? Will it be digested ?

  2. Ann Louise

    Thank you for posting, Eve. You should be able to tolerate this drink without any issues. I would suggest you look into the Bile Builder formula at unikeyhealth.com to replace missing bile salts!!

  3. Mike Tenbroeck

    Hey Anne: Do you remember a guy named Dave Johnson who used to be affiliated with The Multiway vitamin company,(now named Lifeplus)? He used to be a distributor for their products,and now I cannot find him. He and I also had a conference call with you one night to ask you some questions about nutrition I believe sometime back in 1989. If you hear from him is it possible that could you possibly contact me to let me know how I can reach him? Thank You…….Mike TenBroeck…….1919 hrs on 05 April 2017……my email address is [email protected]

  4. Zee

    In regards to drinking hot lemon after directly after a meal, I thought the rule in the Fat Flush Plan was not to drink after eating as it dilutes the stomach acid? Just as a side note, I’m on my 4th week, Phase 2 of the plan and have not only lost weight, but my entire behavior, attitude and outlook have changed–wish I could list all the benefits I’ve seen in only 3 weeks! This after 15+ years of not doing this plan because I though it was too difficult 🙂

  5. Team ALG

    Zee, sipping lemon water during or after a meal does help with digestion. You don’t need to drink an entire glass. Great to hear about your results on Fat Flush! We’d love to hear more if you would like to contact us at 800 888-4353 and ask for Liz.

  6. Laura

    I drink lemon water on a regular basis for all the reasons above, however, I hesitate to drink it in hot water because I keep hearing about acid erosion on the teeth. I’ll drink it room temp through a straw. The other thing I read in an article by Andrea Beaman was that drinking it every day over a years can cause erosion of the gut lining, or something to that negative effect. What are your thoughts on these two issues?

    • Ann Louise Gittleman

      Laura, either room temperature or warm, lemon juice can affect your teeth over the years. Drinking through a straw, like you are doing, is the answer. Lemon juice will not cause a problem in your gut lining. Your stomach acid is much stronger than lemon juice.


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