Good Morning Gut-Brain Tonic!
Updated: May 16, 2022
Wake up your brain and gut with this easy and nourishing morning elixir. This simple habit provides you with a daily gentle detox to keep nutrients moving in and toxins moving out. All you need is some filtered water, lemons and ginger!
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Most of Us Wake Up Dehydrated
Did you know that we lose water while we sleep? This happens mostly through breathing and sweating. If you ever wake up with a dry mouth or find you need a sip of water to moisten your tongue in the middle of the night or in the morning, then you can be sure you've been losing fluid.
This is called insensible fluid loss. It happens all day long via breathing, sweating and pooping (stuff we can't easily measure the fluids in) where as sensible fluid loss happens just through urination (which can be easily measured).
So why does this nighttime fluid loss matter?
Signs of Mild Dehydration
Water makes up about 60% of our total body weight. When we lose even a little of that total-- as little as 1-3%-- this can effect our brain's ability to think clearly and the way our cells and organs function.
Here are some signs of mild dehydration:
Lack of focus
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?
If so, you are not alone. Most people are mildly dehydrated. Thankfully, it's an easy problem to resolve. It just takes starting some new habits and sticking to them.
Being chronically dehydrated is like being in a drought. The land doesn't come back to life in a day, it takes time and consistent watering.
How Much Water Do I Really Need to Drink?
I usually advise my clients to aim to drink at least half of their body weight (in pounds) in ounces per day. This means that if you weigh 160 pounds you should drink at least 80 ounces of water and healthy fluids (such as broths, mineral-rich teas like dandelion root tea or nettle tea, or homemade electrolyte drinks) per day. You may want to drink more if you: live in a drier climate, exercise regularly, are pregnant or nursing, drink a lot of caffeinated beverages, sodas or energy drinks (the latter drinks can be dehydrating by drawing on minerals and increasing urination).
Drinking beverages that are rich in minerals and electrolytes helps your body stay hydrated. In fact, drinking pure water WITHOUT some minerals and electrolytes (in the form of sea salt, herbs found in teas, or in fresh or frozen fruit like in my Easy Homemade Electrolyte Drinks) can dilute your minerals and stress your body. This tonic is a good opener to the day.
Water is needed for every cell, tissue and organ in our body to function. Water has many superpowers. Among other things, it:
Improves oxygen delivery to cells
Transports nutrients around body
Moistens oxygen for easier breathing
Cushions and lubricates our bones and joints
Regulates our body temperature
Removes wastes and flushes toxins
Improves cell-to-cell communications (hello, brain cells!)
Prevents our tissues from sticking
Empowers the body's natural healing process
Maintains normal electrical properties of cells
So before you pour that cup of joe (which can be dehydrating due to diuretic properties of caffeine), consider first replenishing your body with some pure water or a brain and gut boosting beverage like this morning tonic. It includes:
Ginger: shown to offer brain cell protection and memory enhancement along with improved circulation, better digestion and reduced inflammation
Lemon: loaded with vitamins, minerals and disease fighting phytonutrients; aids in stimulating bile flow and liver health-- thus moving toxins out and nutrients in; also high in citric acid which has been shown to bind toxins such as aluminum
Sea Salt: a good quality sea salt like Jacobsen's or Saltverk (both test low in heavy metals and microplastics) are loaded with electrolytes and trace minerals which help hold the water in your cells. I like to rotate these brands to expose myself different mineral profiles and sea sources. Jacoben's salt is hand-harvested in Oregon, USA and is delicious! Saltverk is hand-harvested in Iceland and is totally amazing and clean tasting! Whatever you chose, check purity testing (preferably 3rd party labs) on any salt to be sure there are no heavy metals, microplastics or additives (like the lead, preservatives and sugar in Morton's table salt). Or just try one of these good ones listed above!
When you hydrate regularly in the mornings you may be surprised at how much more alert you feel, how things start to get "regular" and how your moods shift.
Let me know in the comments below if you try it out!
Good Morning Gut-Brain Tonic!
Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 1 minute Total: 6 minutes Serves: 1
The recipe links below are affiliate links chosen for product quality and purity.
1/4 to 1/2 lemon (depending on the size and how sour you can take it)
1 inch of peeled fresh organic ginger, grated or chopped
16 ounces of filtered water
1 teaspoon of raw honey
1/2 teaspoon of fresh or organic ground turmeric (to boost circulation and aid in inflammation)
Squeeze lemon into 16 ounces of room temperature or ideally, warm filtered water.
Add ginger and a pinch good quality sea salt like Jacobsen's or Saltverk. This mixture can be prepared the night before which does help increase the potency of the ginger, but be sure to warm it up or bring to room temperature before sipping. See note below.
Sip and enjoy daily! If you have sensitive tooth enamel be sure to rinse with or drink pure water immediately afterwards. Enjoy your coffee at least 15-20 minutes (or more) after this with a balanced, high-protein breakfast (to help manage blood sugar and inflammation).
Note: In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is not advised to use cold water first thing in the morning as it is believed to be harder on the lungs, blood vessels, spleen and digestive organs and also to cause excess mucous production (who wants that!?). Drinking warm water is believed to aid in digestion and circulation-- a primary goal for hydrating first thing in the morning.
Bhavsar, S. K. (n.d.). Investigation into Hepatoprotective Activity of Citrus limon. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13880200701214995
Domingo, J. L., Gómez, M., Llobet, J. M., & Corbella, J. (1988, May). Comparative effects of several chelating agents on the toxicity, distribution and excretion of aluminium. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3391623
Ganio, M. S., Armstrong, L. E., Casa, D. J., McDermott, B. P., Lee, E. C., Yamamoto, L. M., … Lieberman, H. R. (2011, November). Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21736786
McNeil-Masuka, J. (2019, July 10). Insensible Fluid Loss. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544219/
Shaheen, N. A., Alqahtani, A. A., Assiri, H., Alkhodair, R., & Hussein, M. A. (2018, December 5). Public knowledge of dehydration and fluid intake practices: variation by participants' characteristics. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6282244/
Saenghong, N., Wattanathorn, J., Muchimapura, S., Tongun, T., Piyavhatkul, N., Banchonglikitkul, C., & Kajsongkram, T. (2012). Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM, 2012, 383062. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/383062
About the Author
Roxie Daggett is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) with a virtual holistic nutrition practice in Sedona, Arizona. Her passions include studying nutritional research pertaining to brain health, gut health, genetics and longevity. When she is not geeking out on nutrition she enjoys cooking, hiking, organic gardening and hanging out with her wonderful husband, and her adorable, energetic son who happens to have Down syndrome. Learn more on her About page and stay in touch by grabbing your FREE BRAIN HEALTH BREAKFAST GUIDE above or below!