#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Lemons Again!

Q: Good morning Dr. Ketch. Please I want to find out about lemon in water or tea. Kindly assist me with the appropriate information. Is lemon good for a woman trying to conceive? Is lemon good for a woman who is slim but wants to burn belly fat? Is lemon good for pregnant woman? And does lemon in water or tea stop a woman’s period? Thank you as I await your response.

A: Hallos! Thanks for writing in. This lemon water question! I’ve heard it asked in so many different ways. For full disclosure, I love lemon tea (a few drops of lemon in hot water and honey) and lemon slices in my water. I don’t drink these to lose weight, cleanse my system or any of those reasons why people do this. I just love the taste of lemon, plain and simple!

I have unpacked this question into four key questions with answers below.

Q1: Is lemon good for a woman trying to conceive?

A: To prepare for pregnancy, some lifestyle habits can help:

  • Healthy choices in terms of diet (practice portion control, eat lots of fruits and veggies etc), keeping a healthy weight (try and stay within your BMI)
  • Exercise most days a week for at least 30 minutes,
  • Manage your stress etc
  • Folic acid supplements are also great as they help protect baby from defects in their neural tubes (spinal cord)
  • Having sexual intercourse closer to the time of ovulation may be helpful in increasing chances of pregnancy. Does this also increase the chances of having a baby boy or girl? Despite ‘claims’ that male chromosomes swim faster, there’s no guarantee that having sexual intercourse on any particular day, ovulation or otherwise, increases the chance of pregnancy with either sex. This matter is solely in God’s domain except sex selection is done as can happen for some IVF patients.
  • Stay off alcohol and smoking

You would observe that I have not asked you to stay off lemons 😀 This is because it does not affect your chances of pregnancy.

Q2: Is lemon good for a woman who is slim but want to burn belly fat?

A: I’ve been getting a lot of questions on pot bellies, big tummies after child birth or just big tummies…after nothing, full stop:D So, I’ll reproduce part of a post I’d written on this subject (the trio of diet, exercise and stress). Remember that you can always visit my bloghttp://www.chatwithdrketch.com and type in any subject you want to know about in the search box. You will be presented with all my posts on that subject. There’s a lot I’ve written on weight loss et al 

Alcohol is not the only thing that gives you a pot belly!:D Pot belly is caused by consuming way too many calories and these can be from your chilled bottle of beer or from your huge bowl/basin of rice (especially polished white rice) or yam. It is important to know what to eat, how to eat it and how much of it to eat.

The bad thing about tummy fat, is that it is not on the outside. It is actually on the inside, around the organs. So, no amount of sit-ups can touch this fat…exercise can help tighten abdominal muscles (especially for those who just put to bed) but it won’t get to the fat around organs (visceral fat). This fat is associated with some disease conditions like Diabetes Mellitus etc.

A diet full of junk food (meat pies, doughnuts) is unhealthy on a lot of fronts. It contains empty calories which give you calories you don’t need and make you demand even more calories in a short while. They also cause your blood sugar to yo-yo (jumping up) jumping up and down in a way that doesn’t help blood sugar control. A diet that is also full of white carbs like white bread, polished rice etc is also not ideal for the same reason. So what should we eat? A balanced diet…a diet that contains all food groups in sufficient amounts for the body to use them efficiently.

I have had cause to describe the ideal plate of food several times: Half the plate should be filled with vegetables, a quarter with complex carbohydrates like beans, local rice (like Ofada/Abakaliki/brown/wild rice), sweet potatoes, oatmeal etc and the last quarter with protein (fish, chicken etc). Remember that carbs are necessary to provide the energy needed for our daily activities. So, do not ‘demonise’ (:D) them….however, not all carbs are created equal. Complex carbs are superior because they supply energy and fibre and some also supply minerals and vitamins.

Then remember portion control. Reduce the plate size you usually use, if you need to lose weight. This automatically reduces the quantity of food you can eat.

Remember also to make a conscious effort to chew your food properly and take your time. Don’t wolf it down…or inhale it 😀 Chew intentionally so as to give your brain sufficient time to process the signal from your brain which says that you are full. Have you observed that when you rush your food, you move from being very hungry to being completely stuffed! There’s no in-between, where you realize that you’re full before you get to the stuffed part. That’s because your brain didn’t have enough time to process that info before you became ‘over-full’.

Note that, even if a food is considered healthy, it doesn’t mean you should eat as much of it as you want. For instance, beans is healthy on so many levels but it also high in calories and so you still need to stick to the portion described. Moderation in everything!!

Exercise is critical because it makes your heart strong, improves your body’s ability to break down food, resist diseases and generally provides a feel-good attitude. It also helps you lose weight. Mathematically, exercise helps to burn what you have eaten such that, if you do enough and watch your portions, at the end of the day, there will be a food balance between what you have burnt and what you have taken in. If you have not been engaged in any exercise for a long time, please see your doctor before you start any vigorous regimen. A minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week is essential for good health. Try to get this exercise anyway you can: walking, dancing, skipping, arm wrestling, pillow fights etc. All the activities count and help you keep you fit, trim and healthy. If you use the gym, that’s great. You can get the instructor to put you on a regimen that involves aerobics, strength training (training with weights) and then focus on troublesome spots like your tummy etc. (in that order) or suggest useful regimens that are helpful.

Finally, I will talk about stress because quite a number of us are stressed out. Stress causes the release of a hormone called Cortisol which, amongst other things, causes fat to be deposited around our tummy. So, reduce your stress consciously by figuring out how to better cope with your sources of stress or even eliminating the stresses that you have control over. It’s your life after all.

I suggest you also click on this link to read my post on low glycemic eatinghttps://chatwithdrketch.com/2014/02/16/daily-health-tips-low-glycemic-eating-whats-that/

Q3: Is lemon good for pregnant woman?

A: I loved lemons during my pregnancies. They were the one thing guaranteed to ‘wake up’ my mouth and chase nausea far away. I also had a particular brand of very tart bubble gum, I indulged in 😀 These were key for me because, though I didn’t have the real bad case of morning sickness that sent you to the hospital, brushing my teeth in the morning always sent me into a bout of retching/vomitting. So, I always had a ready supply of the gum or lemon/lime to pop into my mouth once I was done brushing/retching! Not a very pleasant memory ;D

So, if lemons work for you to prevent nausea, go for it. Remember that moderation is key. A few drops (one or two) in a glass of water are enough to provide that tart kick that sends nausea far away. There is a catch here though…remember the heart burn associated with pregnancy. The acid content of lemon might make the heart burn and any pre-existing gastro-esophageal (stomach and esophagus/gullet) problems worse. So, this is all the more reason to be very moderate or stop if it exacerbates an already bad case of heart burn. Wherever and whenever in doubt, please be sure to see your doctor.

So, pregnant or not (including those trying to conceive) lemon water is fine in moderation as described above.

Q4: Does lemon in water or tea stops a woman’s period?

A:The simple answer is no!

Have a good night, y’all 😀

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