In the realm of detoxing and beauty foods, lemons hold the number one place in my heart. I picked lemons as the first food because their effects can literally be life-changing. I know that's a big claim, but I believe this happy, sour little citrus stands up to the challenge.
This beauty food aligns perfectly with the first Beautycounter regimen I chose - No. 1 Brightening + Vitamin C, not only because it is notoriously rich in Vitamin C, but also because it's effects are literally brightening for the skin!
Let me explain why. Your liver works all night to gather and purge toxins from your system. When you wake up, it's ready to be hydrated and flushed. When you consume lemon, specifically lemon water, and preferably first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, it activates the water, and has an alkaline effect on the digestive tract. The lemon water supports your liver in continuing it's process of cleansing; meaning environmental, food and beauty toxins, and even excess weight that may be clinging to your body, blocking your optimal beauty, can all be released from your cells and exit your body. Warm lemon water purifies and stimulates the liver, liquifying bile, while inhibiting excess bile flow (1). Over time, as your cells regenerate, this will lead to a brighter, more radiant complexion.
If this sounds like a tall order, I can tell you from personal experience, it's not an exaggeration. This single habit is so easy to stick with and has had huge results for me. I used to have melasma - several small splotches of darker skin on my face - most notably on the bridge of my nose, my forehead, and upper lip. I thought it was irreversible and probably because of sun exposure (since it looked similar to freckles). They were easy to cover with makeup, so I didn't think much of it. But within the the first few months of adding lemon water to my morning, the discoloration began to fade and eventually went away altogether. Now, I don't mind leaving the house without makeup! And here's some food for thought - if the skin on our face can become more even, radiant, and detoxed, imagine the positive cleansing effects happening on the inside of our bodies that we can't even see!
And, while lemon water is safe to be consumed throughout the day, I want to stress the importance of drinking it in the morning on an empty stomach and, if possible, waiting for about 30 minutes before you consume anything else. You'd think you would be hungry, but the vitamin and mineral-rich lemon gives your body just what it needs and completely quenches any hunger you might be feeling. For those who aren't normally hungry in the morning, it's the perfect drink to sip on first thing and activate cleansing as opposed to not consuming anything for hours or forcing yourself to have a meal when you're not hungry.
Not only are lemons rich in vitamin C, (and far better than synthetic versions of Vitamin C that our bodies may not recognize - I'm looking at you, Emergen-C!), they also contain vitamins A, B1, and P, as well as potassium, magnesium, and folic acid, and the phytochemical limonene, which has been shown to dissolve gallstones and has anti-cancer properties (2). Gallstones are made up of protein, bile, and cholesterol, which means lemons can aid in the process of dissolving the stones. The phytonutrient limonene is found in the white spongy inner parts of the lemon, which is why I recommend dropping the whole lemon into your water after squeezing the juice out.
Side note: it's important to buy organic lemons (so that you aren't consuming harmful pesticides).
Bonus: lemons are one of the lowest in sugar compared to other fruits.
DAILY DETOX LEMON WATER
(Directions for one 16-oz. serving)
- 1 lemon, washed and juiced
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled
- pinch cayenne
- 16 oz. filtered water
Heat water to desired temperature - cold to fairly warm is okay, but not scalding or boiling as too much heat will kill some of the beneficial nutrients of the lemon. Meanwhile, peel ginger and press through a garlic press into a large glass, making sure to capture the liquid and ginger chunks as they will infuse into the water. Squeeze lemon using your hands or a lemon squeezer, dropping in half of the squeezed lemon in your water so that the oils from the skin and white part release into the water. Add pinch cayenne. Pour water over and give it a stir! Sip slowly and think happy thoughts.
Suggested use: drink upon rising in the morning. Wait 30 minutes for lemon water to work its magic before consuming any other food or beverages (coffee included!).
Bonus: Cayenne is a metabolic booster that improves digestion and circulation and regulates blood sugar. Cayenne acts as a cofactor with other nutrients, making them more bio-available to your system. This fire-y spice has been shown to successfully treat headaches and migraines, and also prevents blood clots by acting as an anticoagulant, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks.
Healthy Girl Hack - Freeze Ginger Ahead
I've been squeezing my ginger daily for all these years. Sometimes I even skip it altogether out of laziness for not wanting to go through the trouble of getting out the press and washing it. But last week my friend Lea (who recently started adding lemon water to her morning routine and is loving it, btw) gave me the idea of freezing a big batch of ginger...genius!
I wish I had thought of this sooner. So I tried and it worked like a charm! To do this, you simply use your garlic press to squeeze a big batch of ginger onto a Silpat or similar nonstick baking mat (ginger juice and all). Pop it in the freezer until frozen, then peel off the mat and into a mason jar or sealable container and put back into the freezer. This way, you can just pull it out and use however much you'd like anytime.
We're doing a Beautycounter Giveaway!
For every purchase during the Inside Out Beauty Foods 12-day challenge, you'll be entered to win the brand new Lip Intense Lipstick.
Did you know that 60% of lipsticks still test positive for lead?! Yuck! Since lipstick sits on our lips, not only do we absorb it through our skin, we also literally eat it off our lips (albeit in small amounts).
I had the pleasure of wearing this lipstick recently and it was seriously amazing.
Make sure to use the links in this post to get entered into the giveaway.
Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for tomorrow's beauty-boosting food.
1. Radical Beauty, 2016. By Deepak Chopra, M.D., and Kimberly Snyder, C.N.
2. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, 2005. By Michael Murray, N.D.