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A cup of delicious lemonade is perfect on a hot summer day, but have you ever thought of making it gut friendly?
Yes! Lemonade can be fermented to create its probiotic cousin by cultivating a colony of useful bacteria and yeasts that not only improve the nutritional quality of your drink but also assist in improving the diversity and functioning of gut bacteria. (1)
Gut bacteria are involved in many functions of the human body including digestion, metabolism, transport of nutrients, maintenance of the intestinal barrier function, and prevention of diseases and weight gain. Naturally, not taking in sufficient probiotics or consuming processed foods or medications that destroy the diversity of gut microorganisms can lead to health imbalances. (1)
If you are still on the fence about this, think about kombucha, a popular Japanese beverage that is made by fermenting tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). It is then flavored with spices, fruits, or fruit juices to produce a healthy, low-sugar, nonalcoholic fizzy drink that is great for health. (2)
DIY Probiotic Lemonade
You can make your own probiotic lemonade by mixing 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of sugar, ½ cup of liquid whey, and 2–3 cups of water in a large glass jar.
Cover the jar with a loose lid and place it in a warm dry place. Keep checking for small bubbles to appear. After the initial fermentation process is complete, place the jar in a fridge for up to a week.
Liquid whey is the liquid part of yogurt after the curdling process has been completed. Place a cup full of yogurt in a cheesecloth over a fine sieve for a day. The water that drains out can be used to make your lemonade.
This lemonade tastes tangy and fizzy. You can add sweeteners as desired and serve it chilled.
Health Benefits of Probiotic Lemonade
Probiotic lemonade offers the following health advantages.
1. Maintains good gut health
Probiotic intake boosts the diversity of gut microorganisms, reduces inflammation, and reduces the risk of many diseases including heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. It improves immunity and destroys some disease-causing bacteria that are ingested with food. (1)
2. Fights aging
The nutrients and polyphenols in lemon have a variety of health benefits. A study has identified that lifelong consumption of lemon juice has antiaging benefits. It delays the degeneration of muscles, improves brain function, and improves the appearance of the skin. (3)
It is important to remember that overall diet and lifestyle factors also play an important role in health and age-related degeneration, so consumption of lemon or its juice cannot solely be relied upon for improving the factors of aging.
3. Reduces allergies
The bacteria involved in producing fermentation in probiotic lemonade (Lactobacillus) has been known to improve allergic symptoms (such as sneezing and nose rubbing) by increasing the activity of anti-inflammatory substances. (4)
In animal studies, probiotic lemonade reduced nose rubbing and provided relief from allergy symptoms. (4)
4. Improves liver health
Fermented lemon juice has antioxidant activity that can have a protective effect on the liver by reducing inflammation and the damage caused by carbon tetrachloride, a toxin found commonly in minute amounts in the air. (5)
In animal studies, fermented lemon juice showed protective effects on the liver against fibrosis and oxidative damage due to free radicals. (5) However, unsweetened fermented lemon juice was studied, and it is unclear whether slightly sweetened lemon juice will have the same effect.
5. Improves mental health
Recent studies have shown the impact of probiotic consumption on mood and anxiety. In a study that included college students, daily consumption of probiotics for 8 weeks improved the participants’ overall mood and helped in alleviating depression. (6)
Use other citrus fruits in the same recipe or mix them up to make a citrus medley. Remember to consume the prepared beverage within a week; otherwise; it may spoil.
Most-Asked Questions About DIY Probiotic Lemonade
How long does fermentation take?
The initial fermentation at room temperature occurs within 2 days depending on the ambient temperature. After that, it may take between 6 and 7 days for the probiotic lemonade to be ready for consumption.
Can I drink this every day?
Yes, most probiotic foods can be consumed daily. Do not consume more than a glass, though.
Who should avoid probiotic lemonade?
People with allergies to lemon or dairy need to avoid this drink.
Does this drink aid weight loss?
Probiotic-rich foods don’t directly cause weight loss, but they can improve digestion, which can be useful in preventing obesity. (7) Thus, probiotic consumption should not solely be relied upon to lose weight. Calorie restriction and exercise are needed.
Probiotic-rich foods and drinks improve the diversity of gut microorganisms, which then improve health by increasing immunity, reducing inflammation, protecting intestinal integrity, and aiding the digestive process.
Probiotic lemonade can benefit health due to its rich polyphenolic content and can be a healthier alternative to soft drinks and sodas.